I had a look at the publons webpage, a website for tracking academics such as peer review, editorial contributions etc. They claim that it could be used for promotions and funding.

Being a Ph.D. student, is it worth getting an account with publons?

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    I suspect the purpose of Publons is to create a database of people who are willing to peer review for free. Dec 22, 2020 at 12:20

5 Answers 5


This is ultimately a subjective question, but one can ask: what is the value added of publons? Or better, what is unique in publons that is not found elsewhere?

In my understanding, the answer to the latter is none. As a PhD student and early career researcher, you should at some point have your own personal website. Furthermore, you should have an account with Google Scholar. And, something that is quickly emerging and soon to become the standard in academia, you should have an ORCID account. The latter is your unique ID as a researcher, with links to all your research. ORCID is a system developed by a non-profit, academic oriented organisation, and ultimately, it is an open source, community base project. Importantly, they also allow you to add peer reviewing activities, something which was unique to Publons (but not anymore). I can testify that in my academic institution, an ORCID is required, as it is used for departmental evaluation.


I tend to disagree a bit -- though I agree this is contentious. For someone like me, at least (an early career researcher) who has a LOT of balls in the air, publons offers, if nothing else, a convenient way to keep track of the reviewing I've done. At the end of the year, at the time of Annual Reviews for my institution, it is an easy cut and paste job to let them know the level of my 'academic service' for the year.

Many of the 'extras' on publons (like rankings, and 'excellent' reviews) I have not yet found to have any value. As an ad hoc editor, I could imagine that it might provide me with ideas for reviewers... but I haven't used it in this way yet.


Publons has been around for a while now, and I think we can conclude that while it is very popular with publishers (they constantly email me about it), very few academics are using it. So no, it is not worthwhile.

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    "very few academics are using it" isn't enough to make it not worthwhile
    – Orion
    Dec 22, 2020 at 15:24

I think it is particularly useful as an early-career researcher with all your reviewing ahead of you. I've also noticed assessors really appreciating that Publons can now verify all of your reviewing and editorial work, which can set you apart from others who just say they review for some journals.

If you want to be considered for more reviewing assignments, then it's a nice way to get your name in front of journal editors as a potential reviewer too.

Can't see the harm if it's free and easy to maintain...

  • +1. I understand your point. But, I can't see any substantial reason why would you join a website, log in every time and maintain your profile. Is it not sufficient to update on your personal website. I don't think it is making things easier for the editors either. The editor will anyway contact you for review if you have done good works earlier.
    – Coder
    Aug 8, 2017 at 17:11
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    In particular, it would be nice if you could comment on the relative advantages of Publon in addition to/instead of, say, Orcid
    – Miguel
    Aug 9, 2017 at 10:39
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    My understanding is that maintaining your profile is increasingly automated as Publons partners with more publishers. So all your reviews are automatically added to your profile when you submit the review report. So eventually there won't be a need to manually maintain your profile. Re: editors, they're constantly looking for new, capable reviewers. Publons provides a new way for editors to source reviewers they haven't used before. Seems like a good ploy to me to speed up review times given how long it takes to find reviewers at the moment.
    – Doug
    Aug 9, 2017 at 11:05
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    As for ORCiD, you can sync your Publons profile and ORCiD accounts, so all your reviewing history on Publons is automatically added to your ORCiD as well. As far as I can tell, that's how ORCiD gets the vast majority of its review data.
    – Doug
    Aug 9, 2017 at 11:05

At this point, no. They have a very young, unsupervised WFH cohort in New Zealand, untenured in research, set loose amongst profiles, with editing capability. They are making a lot of mistakes. Adult supervision is needed and sorely lacking.

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