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I was invited for an interview for a tenure-track position. Since I was highly active in peer-review service, I highlighted this in my cover letter as well as my CV.

When an interviewer mentioned it (in a positive way), I emphasized that I have already included my Publons profile where my peer-review works can be checked. He said "I've never heard of it. Do you have any certificate or recommendation from the journals."

Then, I felt it was better if I did not mention Publons at all (it would look more normal). Was it a problem of my interviewer OR it is not common to include a peer-review profile in the application?

My impression was (maybe I am wrong) that if you simply mentioned it, we would believe you. Now that you want to prove it, you should do it in an official way.

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    I have never heard of Publons before reading your question, but can't help to think that maybe you could have explained better what it is during your interview, or simply quantified it in your letter or CV, for example: "reviewed # papers in the last # years, eg. for journals A and B", and then include the link to Publons if you want. Of course this is just my opinion, but I hope it helps. – louic Nov 2 '17 at 16:58
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    This is basically like saying "I included my LinkedIn profile with all my skills on it" when the interviewer says "I've never heard of LinkedIn, do you have any reference letters endorsing your skills from former coworkers?" If you say "I have all my reviews on my Publons profile" that's treating it like a trophy which is a hard sell. Do more like @louic suggests. Use it as a record of what you did instead of proof of how well you did it. Even Review Endorsements probably won't carry weight as quality measure. Fill in the "how well" with stories and/or personal references. – TheAtomicOption Nov 3 '17 at 0:04
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Then, I felt it was better if I did not mention Publons at all (it would look more normal). Was it a problem of my interviewer OR it is not common to include a peer-review profile in the application?

I have seen a number of people (myself included) include a peer-review profile. In my case, it simply lists the journals I have reviewed for. At this point, it's actually more the list of journals I frequently review for.

I think the issue is more with Publons - in my experience, there hasn't really been a strong need for tracking credits the way they want, and I found it was more hassle than it was worth to keep it up-to-date (as if you have a Publons profile and highlight it, the implication is that it's accurate).

Essentially, I trust what you've told me. Because specific reviews, rather than the abstract concept of being an active reviewer, isn't really much of a consideration for me. It's a nice thing, and I appreciate seeing it mentioned as I do consider it a professional obligation, but Publons inherently wants there to be a quantitative impact based on volume and I...simply can't be bothered.

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    while I agree with your points, quantity is a representative of quality in peer-review. If your reviews are not high quality, the editor will not invite you frequently. – Googlebot Nov 3 '17 at 11:07
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    @Googlebot But it's not a 1:1 mapping function - for example, you could be an excellent reviewer of a topic that comes up relatively rarely. – Fomite Nov 3 '17 at 11:09

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