Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business


stack of papers in front of a person looking tired in the background

PeerJ Introduces an Innovative Program to Reward Peer Reviewers

Contributors now earn PeerJ Tokens for reviewing and editing submissions to PeerJ journals


PeerJ, the award-winning Open Access publisher, has announced an innovative new reward program for peer review contributions. Based on contributors earning PeerJ Tokens for each submission they peer review or edit, the publisher aims to address two of the major issues facing peer review and scientific communication: lack of reward for the time and effort put in by editors and reviewers; and the general congestion of peer review. Tokens can be exchanged for discounts on the Article Processing Charge. “By fairly incentivising engagement and contribution we hope that more academics and researchers will sign up to review submissions made to our seven journals” says Pete Binfield, PeerJ’s publisher and co-founder. “We know that our contributors’ time is valuable, and we think they deserve to be rewarded for their contributions.”

The Tokens program is flexible and fair. Tokens can be accumulated over time, as they have no expiry date, and they can be combined (or “stacked”) to maximize a contributor’s Article Processing Charge (APC) discount. Coauthors can pool their Tokens and allocate them to a single submission, and contributors can even transfer their Tokens to another PeerJ user to help them towards their publication fees. Tokens—and the equivalent discount they are entitled to—are commensurate with the contribution made by users, rewarding those who do more.

“We’re listening to the communities that we work with. They are frustrated by spiralling and frankly scandalous prices of Open Access publishing, especially because, without their contribution, the scholarly publishing system would fall apart. We are aiming to make peer review rewarding for every party involved and do more to make open accessible to all,” says Nathaniel Gore, PeerJ’s director of communities.

Users earn Tokens for reviewing and editing. Prospective reviewers can sign up to the new PeerJ Reviewer Match. Upon receiving their first invitation to review, they will receive five Tokens—equivalent to a $50 discount—whether they accept the invitation or not. From them on, for each submission they peer review, they will earn another 10 Tokens—a $100 discount. Academic Editors can also earn Tokens for handling submissions. There is no limit on the APC discount that can be earned, meaning that active reviewers and editors can claim a 100 percent discount. 

“In 2022 we are celebrating a decade of PeerJ and we have no intention of standing still,” says Jason Hoyt, PeerJ’s co-founder and CEO, “Journals today mostly act as if the only person on the field contributing is the quarterback or forward. Even worse, publishers like to think that they’re the star of the show. It’s about time we started to do more to recognize and reward the researchers who are responsible for the bulk of scholarly knowledge by making peer review work for them.” 

- This press release was provided by PeerJ