This guest post was co-authored by Kat McGowan, Editorial Operations Manager for PLOS ONE and Madison Crystal, Brand Communications Manager and Writer, PLOS
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of ORCID and we were very excited to integrate ORCID’s reviewer credit service. We already require corresponding authors to sign up for ORCID and offer it as a single sign-on option for all of our users on our submission site. The new reviewer program is an opportunity for us to extend the benefits even further.
Providing an easy, efficient credit system for reviewers aligns strongly with our goals to further transparency and recognition for the diverse contributions individuals make at every step of the research process. Besides raising awareness for the work of reviewers, we also hope that more ways to get credit will offer more incentive to review and add more nuance to the record of a reviewer’s scholarly contributions.
Because of the benefits for our community, we decided that we wanted to roll this feature out as soon as possible to all seven PLOS journals.
This part was a little tricky, as all our journals do things a little differently. Our teams had to spend some time revising workflows to make sure we could offer a consistent process across our whole portfolio—from PLOS ONE to PLOS Computational Biology. There was also the daunting task of testing the feature within Editorial Manager (our manuscript submission system) without a sandbox site, which meant not having a clear vision of the experience for our earliest adopters.
However, Editorial Manager offers a lot of control over when credit is awarded and when it’s pushed to our reviewers’ ORCID records. The configuration options were very clear, which made it easy to figure out exactly how things would work even without being able to test ahead of time. We ended up choosing to implement a delay so that reviews would be posted in batches at the end of each month. This functionality has been hugely important in ensuring reviewers can remain anonymous and still get credit for their work, if that’s what they prefer.
If you’re looking to integrate this feature at your journal, here’s our advice:
- Test! You’ll be happy to hear that the most recent update to Editorial Manager will allow you to test this feature within ORCID’s sandbox. It’s certainly easy enough to set up without, but it’s a great option to take advantage of.
- Keep in mind your review audience and their habits when you configure the setup options and timing for uploading reviews. If you have fewer reviews you may want to have a longer delay before uploading to make it more difficult to identify specific reviewers. If you your peer review process is already open, you can upload and provide credit as soon as possible.
- Communication is key. We let all of our reviewers know about this new feature through email campaigns, website, and our blog. We tailored our messages with instructions for registering based on whether they were new to ORCID or already had an account in our system so that they each knew how to get reviewer credit with PLOS.
A lot of work went into making sure this were consistent and correct before launch, but it was worth the effort to provide a consistent experience to all our contributors. Already we’ve seen average uptake from about 35% of our reviewers across all of our journals and we’re excited to see how it develops.