PKP 2019 Silver Sponsor: ReviewerCredits
Our 7th International Scholarly Publishing Conference, PKP 2019, is a great time for us to showcase and thank our community. This year, we have a few extra big thanks – including a round of applause to ReviewerCredits, one of our Silver sponsors. To learn more about what they do and their role in the PKP community, we chatted with co-founder Giacomo Bellani.
PKP: Thank you again to you and your team for sponsoring PKP 2019. To start, what led you to support this conference? Why was it important for you to sponsor?
GB: We are very familiar with Open Journal Systems and we are aware that is very widely used by a growing amount of journals. Like OJS helps journals, particularly those that are open access, to operate (thus giving an opportunity) we share the same view of giving something back to the community. When we decided to expand our system one of our first ideas was to provide interoperability by API and plugin: the first one is here, customized for OJS!
PKP: For those who haven’t yet heard of ReviewerCredits – who are you, and what do you do?
GB: ReviewerCredits was founded by myself (I am Associate Professor of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine) and my friend and colleague Robert Fruscio (who is Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology). We are both at the University of Milano Bicocca, who believe in this project and supported it as a spin off. It was only the two of us when we started, but now I am very proud of our competent growing team! We can say that ReviewerCredits has been created by scientists with scientists in mind, it is completely free and totally independent from publishers. We certify peer-reviews and conference talks, assign virtual credits and return benefits to scientists.
PKP: What led you to develop the ReviewerCredits platform? Why certify and reward the activities of peer reviewers and conference speakers?
GB: While the peer review process helps publishers and journals in the complex and delicate task of deciding on a submission, thus benefiting greatly from scientists’ time and competence, little benefit is provided to reviewers. Several metrics exist to quantify the activity of scientists as authors, but no metrics quantifies their activity as peer-reviewers. We decided to fill this huge gap. And we acknowledge not only peer reviews, but also conference talks, which represent another fundamental, academic activity, which currently lacks of any indexing.
PKP: I’m sure many of our community members can relate. How does one get involved?
GB: It is actually very simple. Scientists and Journals can all participate, at different levels of course.
A scientist can register on the site, record her/his completed peer review and conference talks; we verify each one directly with the journal or the conference website; if confirmed the record is added to the personal profile and virtual credits are assigned. Virtual credits can be redeemed towards discounted services specific for the academic community. In addition, all confirmed records can be exported in a neat pdf document, which works as a certificate.
Journals and publishers can join in by registering their publications: this grants higher credits to their reviewers (for completed reviews) and – most important – they can showcase the strength of their peer review process. This is extremely important at times when predatory publishers are still causing disruptions.
PKP: Earlier this year, you launched a new plugin for OJS developed by 4Science, a PKP strategic partner. Can you tell us about the development of this plugin?
GB: We put our IT to work on the PKP specifications. We wanted the plugin to be just right… We enrolled partner publishers in the testing phase, first on a sandbox site and then live, and then we deployed it through our website. From the very beginning we aimed at respecting the “confidentiality” of the process: our plugin does not transfer any data pertaining the title or the authors of the original paper, or the content of the review. This has to remain between the journal and the reviewer. We only collect a minimal dataset, which allows to track the peer review process. We are looking forward to having our plugin available in the OJS plugin area for all to see and use. As you know, there is no cost to join ReviewerCredits.
PKP: What’s next for ReviewerCredits?
GB: One of our goals in certainly that of growing our community, both reviewers and journals, who would definitely benefit from an effective system of reward. We are also aiming to increase the number of products offered in our “virtual store” so that the ReviewerCredits may be converted into tangible benefits. Finally, we are investigating how we could not only quantify reviews, but also assign a quality score. The aim would be to add a metric to a numerical data, but it is a delicate topic…
PKP: Thank you again for your support and contributions. Any last words?
GB: Well, the journey through our first plugin has been exciting. We absolutely love participating actively with OJS-PKP and are pleased to be part of this growingly skilled community. We hope to raise interest in our platform, which ultimately has scientists recognition as its main objective.
Attending PKP 2019? ReviewerCredit’s Lucia Steele (Operations) will be in attendance to chat and answer questions. Visit http://pkpbcn19.net to register by November 15.