Q&A with PLOS: Implementing ORCID Reviewer Recognition

ORCID Reviewer Recognition integrated in Editorial Manager offers a visible and verifiable way for Reviewers to be publicly acknowledged for their volunteered contributions without compromising the confidentiality of the peer review process.

The Public Library of Science (PLOS) has recently implemented and enabled ORCID Review Deposit across all their journals. Read our interview with Kat McGowan, Editorial Operations Manager at PLOS on their experience deploying ORCID Review Recognition within their Editorial Manager sites.

When did you first hear about the ORCID Peer Review Deposit integration, and what was your initial response?

We first heard about it at an Editorial Manager user group meeting (EMUG 2018) during the ‘Overview of EM versions 15.0 and 15.1’ presentation. We were very excited about the update as a potential avenue for reviewer credit and were eager to bring the idea back to our journal teams.

How did you decide to implement ORCID Peer Review Deposit?

Providing robust credit for the work that every participant contributes to the research and publication process is crucial to empowering researchers at all levels, and we’re always looking for new ways to improve how we do this at PLOS. Integrating ORCID with Editorial Manager has already proved to be a simple, and efficient way to provide authors with credit for their submissions, extending the same benefits to reviewers was an easy decision.

The next series of questions refer to your current configuration of the functionality:
A) How do you phrase/use your instructional text for Reviewers?

We provide instructions for signing up and using ORCID with Editorial Manager on our site at plos.org/orcid. We’re also looking into more options to prompt reviewers within the submission system itself.

B) How do you decide which reviews qualify for deposit? 

If a reviewer has opted-in to receive ORCID credit, we deposit their reviews for our Research and Front-matter article types when the manuscript reaches final decision.

C) How often do you batch deposit to ORCID?

We do this on the last day of the month for all articles that have reached final decision. We decided to go with a longer delay so that more reviews are eligible for deposit at the same time which helps keep reviewers’ identities anonymous.

Was this feature difficult or time-consuming to setup? Was there a steep learning curve for journal staff?

The actual set up of the feature was relatively quick and easy. We did need to adjust some parts of our workflows around transfers and final decisions so that the process would be uniform across all of our journals, but we were able to implement this fairly quickly.

Do you use other ORCID integrations?

We began offering authors the option to add their ORCID credentials when they submitted a manuscript into EM in 2013. Starting in 2016, we began requiring all corresponding authors to register for ORCID upon submission to any PLOS journal. We’ve also encouraged our Editorial Boards to use ORCID and have added incentive to do so by enabling ORCID as a Single Sign-On (SSO) option for our EM submission system and other platforms where it’s available.

How have Reviewers responded? Have many Reviewers opted-in?

Because of the monthly delay in deposit, it’s early still for us to see the full picture but we’ve already seen an average uptake from 35% of reviewers across all of our journals. We’re excited to see this number grow!

What do you find to be most useful about the ORCID Review Deposit integration?

Choice and ease of use for our reviewers. We want to ensure all participants in the research review process can demonstrate their contributions. That said, we realize the issue is particularly nuanced for reviewers. In addition to signed or published review comments, the ORCID integration is a good way to give them the option of publicly taking credit for their review while remaining anonymous, if that’s what they prefer. The ability to integrate this tool automatically with the PLOS review process gives our reviewers more choice on how they get credit.

What would you like to see improved in the ORCID Review Deposit integration?

It’s pretty straightforward! However, we’d love to see both ORCID and this integration with Editorial Manager expanded to different types of audiences to demonstrate the full range of contributions to the evaluation and publication process. For example, ORCID could be used to extend credit to individuals who contributed to a review but were not the signing reviewer, or to groups or facilities. We’d also like to see ORCID’s membership or service fields integrated with Editorial Manager to help handling editors get automatic credit for the work they’re doing to advance research.