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Recently, I submitted a review to a major journal in my field. They asked me during the submission process, "Do you want to get recognition for this review on Web of Science?"

How does this work? Specifically, how does anonymity work and what are the benefits of getting this recognition?

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    I don't see how anonymity would be preserved in such a case. It seems unusual to me.
    – Buffy
    Aug 11, 2023 at 14:39
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    If you create a profile on Web of Science, they maintain a profile, where you can let add your reviews. This service has been provided previously by Publons, so the following questions are linked: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/94541/… academia.stackexchange.com/questions/94309/…
    – Heinrich
    Aug 11, 2023 at 15:21
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    Might as well get some small amount of credit for it if you are going to do a review. It will just say on your Publons profile (or whatever it's called) that you have carried out X number of reviews for journal Y. It might also say if those reviews are recent. It doesn't provide any information apart from that so I don't see how anonymity is breached. If you state on your CV that a reviewer for journal Y, I guess this is a way of verifying this.
    – Tom
    Aug 12, 2023 at 15:15

5 Answers 5

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The system I am familiar with links reviews to ORCID and display it on ORCID and/or WoS/Clarivate (formerly Publons). You can choose the settings, but generally only the name of the journal and the number of reviews are displayed publicly (after the reviews have been completed), so confidentiality is kept.

As for benefits: for me, it counts for my performance review and hence for tenure. (I think I could also allocate a certain number of working hours to it.) If you are an early career researcher, you could ask your department of the value of keeping track of your reviewing activities via ORCID.

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Typically, this works by the publisher submitting information to the reviewer recognition platform (ORCID provides another one) that can be displayed in your profile on the platform. What information is provided depends on the journal, so you may want to pay attention to what you agree to. In general, the default seems to be just the year of the review and the name of the journal, which would preserve anonymity unless they handle exceptionally few papers each year. It's unclear to me whether there is any real career benefit, but if your CV lists journals you've reviewed for, these services can provide an easy way to verify a subset of that information.

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You can use it as evidence that you are active in reviewing for journals. This may lead to being invited to join the editorial board of a journal.

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    It may even help being cited if people in your field know you do a lot of reviewing, if they believe you are more likely to be positive if you cite them. Aug 12, 2023 at 11:53
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As a statistical reviewer, I get paid for my reviews. Making those reviews visible may lead to more work. For a volunteer reviewer, it could lead to more work as well, which might help the person get tenure, or a job at the journal, or whatever.

Anonymity only seems to have any benefit for a very negative review. You likely review things in your specialty. The authors may also be reviewers. One day, they might review something of yours. Even if they aren't consciously out to get you, there could be unconscious biases.

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The "recognition" is offered because the journal thinks you will do more volunteer peer reviews if they give you internet points. It's the same thing as how Stack Exchange thinks you will post more useful answers if they give you internet points.

The "recognition" is completely useless for performance reviews and promotion processes. Just tell your employer how many reviews you did for each journal. There is no need to involve Web of Science.

Web of Science offers this web platform because they want to have more control over academia's prestige system.

This answer does not apply to paid reviews (which are rare and described in https://academia.stackexchange.com/a/200562/13240).

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