Elsevier Reviewer Badges and Rewards scheme by Simon Gosling

Idea

Reviews can take a long time to complete well. Too often, there is little incentive to academics with full schedules to complete reviews. Offers of 30-day free access to a journal are usually unhelpful because institutions provide access to staff and students anyway through license agreements. Moreover, the efforts that go into writing a review, do not usually present anything tangible that can be included on a CV, or put in a portfolio, or even on an office wall. This is especially frustrating for early career researchers, for whom the lengthy process of peer reviewing articles can go un-noticed. For instance, while one can state on their CV that they “have been a peer-reviewer  for Journal of…”, this does not reflect how many reviews they have completed. Essentially, the total amount of effort that has been employed is under-represented and does not help with career progression.     My suggestion for Elsevier is to introduce an “Elsevier Reviewer Badges and Rewards” scheme. This would provide a standardised tangible recognition system for the work invested by academics in the peer review process. This would be facilitated by the awarding of “Elsevier Badges” and subsequent “Elsevier Rewards”. Anytime someone conducts a review for an Elsevier journal, they will be awarded an “Elsevier Contributor Point”. These points can be accumulated and after accumulating a certain amount of points, a reviewer will receive an “Elsevier Badge”.     The first badge would be called an “Occasional Reviewer Badge”. As a reviewer accumulates more and more Elsevier Contributor Points, so they are awarded new badges. In the first instance, badges could be awarded for; up to 5 reviews (“Occasional Reviewer Badge”), up to 10 reviews (“Regular Reviewer Badge”), and 20 or more reviews (“Senior Reviewer Badge”). Other badges could be awarded at the journal Editor’s discretion. For instance, a badge could be awarded annually for the “Most Comprehensive Review”, another for the “Most Helpful Review”, and one for the “Most Contributions in a Year”, for instance. People at Elsevier may have ideas for other badges that could be introduced.     The badges would appear against a reviewer’s online profile. Also, a paper certificate could be posted to each reviewer every time they are awarded a new badge. This would be a tangible recognition from Elsevier of someone’s effort. These certificates would be especially helpful to early career researchers and they could be included on a CV and/or in a portfolio, and even put on your office wall, for instance. I am not aware of any scheme like this at present in academic publishing. Note, however, that Springer have started offering “posters” of papers that people publish, which they can frame or put on their office wall. There is clearly interest in such tangible products, and I think Elsevier could do well to join this trend.     A “one off” “Elsevier Reward” could be awarded to each reviewer for every badge they receive. For example, the following one-off discounts could be offered to people when they are awarded the following badges; 15% off any Elsevier product (“Occasional Reviewer Badge”), 20% off any Elsevier product (“Regular Reviewer Badge”), and 25% off any Elsevier product (“Senior Reviewer Badge”). Similar discounts could be awarded for the other badges I mentioned (e.g. the “Most Contributions in a Year” badge). The exact scale of discount will need to be decided by Elsevier. Importantly, the discount should apply to books and other products from Elsevier, since discounts against journals are not usually needed, due to institutional licenses.

Who will benefit?

The badges will be useful for Editors because they will be able to select “more experienced” reviewers for certain “high profile” papers, if necessary.     The “certificates” would be especially helpful to early career researchers and they could be included on a CV and/or in a portfolio, and even put on your office wall, for instance. I am not aware of any scheme like this at present in academic publishing. Note, however, that Springer have started offering “posters” of papers that people publish, which they can frame or put on their office wall. There is clearly interest in such tangible products, and I think Elsevier could do well to join this trend.    A “one off” “Elsevier Reward” could be awarded to each reviewer for every badge they receive. For example, the following one-off discounts could be offered to people when they are awarded the following badges; 15% off any Elsevier product (“Occasional Reviewer Badge”), 20% off any Elsevier product (“Regular Reviewer Badge”), and 25% off any Elsevier product (“Senior Reviewer Badge”). Similar discounts could be awarded for the other badges I mentioned (e.g. the “Most Contributions in a Year” badge). The exact scale of discount will need to be decided by Elsevier. Importantly, the discount should apply to books and other products from Elsevier, since discounts against journals are not usually needed, due to institutional licenses.