August 2016

Plant Biologists Look to the Sky to Reward Reviewers

A scientific society has landed on a quirky way to reward its reviewers, and the idea has really taken off. Here are a few reviewers’ comments after they learned they would be receiving “Journal JournalMilesMiles” for completing their reviews on time:

  • “Thanks…This is kind of funny!”
  • “That’s a nice idea, thank you!”
  • “I really appreciate it!”

The American Society of Plant Biologists began awarding ASPB Journal Miles™ in 2014, as a way to thank reviewers for their service. The token gesture has been well received, said Patti Lockhart, managing editor of The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. It was Plant Physiology Editor-in-Chief Michael R. Blatt who came up with the idea, she said. The journals had about 5,000 active reviewers in 2015.

Reviewers receive 10 Journal Miles for each review completed on time. The miles accumulate over a 2-year period and can be redeemed for society merchandise such as luggage tags, T-shirts, and notecards or for membership benefits for the reviewers themselves or their students. The program has its own tagline—Recognizing the Value of True Peer Review—and a website. 

Lockhart spoke about Journal Miles and other ways the ASPB rewards reviewers in a session called “Managing and Rewarding Editorial Boards and Reviewers” at last week’s meeting of the International Society of Managing and Technical Editors in Philadelphia.

—Kerry O’Rourke