Not all reviews are equal. Some reviews are so good, they help the author(s) to advance their work and the editor to make an informed and timely publishing decision. These kinds of reviews help deliver breakthrough, verified research to the world faster.

There are two ways for a review to be rated "excellent":

  • Ratings by Publons editors
  • Ratings by journal editors

Excellence ratings by Publons editors

Publons editors may rate a review as "excellent" if they believe it passes a certain threshold of quality.  The reason for these ratings is twofold: to recognise the efforts of a reviewer and to highlight content of a high quality on the Publons platform.  Due to this second reason, all Publons-rated excellent reviews are published and a majority are post-publication.  Unlike journal editor excellence ratings there is no score associated with Publons-rated excellent reviews.

Excellence ratings by journal editors

Journal editors are able to rate reviews if they are adding a record of the manuscript they handled or through the peer-review submission systems of integrated journals. If you would like to ensure your editors have access to the review scoring rating and feedback system, get in touch.

The quality of reviews are rated on a four-point scale, across four dimensions, as shown in the form below:

excellent reviews

  • Timeliness:
    The review assignment was completed within the time limits established by the editor.

  • Clarity:
    The review was easily read and interpreted by the editor and authors.

  • Helpfulness:
    Comments were constructive, relevant, and realistic.

  • Thoroughness:
    The review gave adequate consideration to all aspects of the paper including methodology, figures, interpretation and presentation of results, ethics, relevance, etc.

A review is deemed 'Excellent' if it receives a score of 9 or more out of a possible 12.

Poor = 0 point Below Average = 1 points Average = 2 points Exceptional = 3 points

NOTE: Scored reviews which do not meet the requirements for excellence will not be indicated on your profile or any other public part of the site.

Exact scores are completely confidential. Written feedback is privileged between the editor and reviewer.

Impact of excellent reviews

Reviewers who have a review rated excellent will have a badge indicating this displayed on their profile.  If their excellent review is signed and published that badge will also be displayed in their profile's peer review list, the review's detail page, and alongside the review on the publication detail page.

For more information about the "Excellent Reviews" feature, see our blog post.