The mentor's main role in Publons Academy is to assess the reviews done by the student and provide feedback on how they can improve their reviews. You can also help suggest published papers (can be pre-prints) in your field that they write their Academy reviews of. It's recommended that you suggest short and easy to read papers that you think are very good, bad, or are familiar with. Keep in mind that these papers have already been published and have gone through peer review already, so there might not be as many things to point out. Also, they are learning how to write reviews for journals (pre-publication reviews) but on published papers, so they are actually post-publication reviews, and they should not include the recommendation to the editor of publish/reject. The review comments they are writing should be what is usually sent to the authors only. 


When you get your "request for feedback" emails and click on to read the reviews of your student you can approve the review as is and provide some positive feedback on what you though was very good, or you can decline the review as is and suggest revisions to the review. You'll then get the opportunity to approve the review once it's been revised.  


Tips on providing feedback in Publons Academy

  • You can comment on the structure of the review. Everyone has their own way of doing this but it should be clear and easy to read. The review template that we provide suggests that they start with an overall statement or summary, then major strengths and weaknesses followed by a numbered list of specific comments.

  • The tone and language of the review, it should always be professional and polite.

  • It should be specific enough for the authors to know what it is they need to correct or improve e.g “the first paragraph in the results section” or “table 2 column 3“.

  • Specific comments on the background, methodology, results, discussion and conclusions you think they could have commented on.  

  • Remember to be specific in your feedback, if you think something could be improved then please provide an example of how it could be improved.

  • Please be constructive and supportive, remember they signed up for the course in order to learn, but also don’t be afraid to point out weaknesses in their review. 

  • Please be timely with your feedback. The students will learn best if they get their feedback right away and revise their review straight away as well. 



Your student may have other questions about reviewing for journals in your field, reviewing different types of manuscripts or how collaborating on reviews or shadow reviewing work. Please answer their questions as best you can if they come up. On Publons we give both reviewers recognition for a collaborative review, read more about how here. After they have done Publons Academy, you may also consider whether you’d like to pass on some of your review invitations from journals, given that the editor is notified and agrees to the arrangement.