Reviewers of major Royal Society journals receive a £100 voucher for each paper they evaluate. This can be used to reduce future publishing costs.
Under a new pilot scheme to reward peer review, open biology Upon publication in a Gold Open Access Journal, you will be awarded tokens that can be redeemed for an Article Processing Fee (APC).
From this month, the vouchers can be used alone or stacked against the publication cost of £1,400, and co-authors can combine peer review credits to offset the amount charged to scholars and their institutions. increase.
The scheme is a modern way to recognize and reward the hours of work put in by scholars in peer review, which is usually done for free, although it is often carried out on behalf of commercial journals. represents an effort.
The move also hopes to address concerns about the lack of suitable reviewers. A survey conducted by the Royal Society found that 41% of those reviewers who declined review opportunities in recent months said they were more likely to do so if open access discounts were available.
It follows a similar scheme by the PeerJ group of open access journals, which since February began offering discount tokens worth $100 (£74) for each peer-reviewed submission.
Phil Hurst, publisher of the Royal Society, which operates two fully open access titles and nine hybrid journals, said: Times Higher Education This discount can translate into significant savings for scholars not covered by the institution’s reading and publishing arrangements, eliminating the need for corresponding authors to pay open access publishing fees.
“Recently, publishers have found it increasingly difficult to find reviewers, and this has been identified as a potential way to recruit more reviewers. , if co-authors are also involved, it could help lower the APC significantly,” said Hurst.
“It would be even better if research institutions started recognizing the work of peer reviewers. That is why we have created resumes for researchers so that they can highlight these contributions.”
Hurst recalls that the reviewer voucher scheme reflects an initiative in the pre-digital age where reviewers could claim additional copies of books and articles by rating the paper.
“Gone are the days when offprints were shared, but this is probably a return to this kind of perception,” he said.
The initiative is part of the Royal Society’s efforts to become a free-to-read publisher, with more than half of its articles published in open access by 2021. percent threshold.