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New partnerships for stronger research outcomes


Two Victoria University of Wellington alumni have taken a childhood friendship to new heights, with the business they founded in 2012 joining one of the world’s top providers of researcher data analytics and tools.

Daniel Johnston and Dr Andrew Preston are the founders of Publons, a platform that tracks, verifies and showcases researchers’ peer reviews and editorial activity across global journals. Publons has announced it is joining Clarivate Analytics, a spin out company of global media and information company Thomson Reuters, in a move that Dr Preston says will deliver novel solutions to problems in research.

Dr Preston says working with Clarivate Analytics, the world’s leading objective, data driven research solutions provider, will further speed up the peer review process, ensure researchers gain recognition for the full range of their research activities and provide universities with tools to identify and recognise top research.

“Peer review is at the heart of our ability to trust research but is often accused of being slow, inefficient, biased and open to abuse. By recognising reviewers and bringing transparency to the review process, Publons has built a platform to conform these issues head on. And now, with the worldwide reach, citation network and research tools offered by Clarivate Analytics, we can tackle these global issues on a global scale,” says Dr Preston.

In the same week that Publons announced it is joining Clarivate Analytics, Victoria University signed a partnership agreement with the company, a move that Vice-Provost (Research) Professor Kate McGrath says will enhance research outcomes, develop academic staff, and help strengthen the international research community.

Professor McGrath says the University supports Publons’ endeavour to professionalise the peer review process.

“Researchers all over the world have struggled with the traditional peer review processes. Publons goes a long way in professionalising the process, making it robust and transparent.

“This partnership provides an incentive for our academics to engage in more reviews and improve their reviewing skills. That itself is a powerful feedback mechanism through which they can learn from and apply when developing their own research ideas.

“It’s also an avenue for Victoria to be a good citizen to the research community. By supporting Publons we’re investing in the infrastructure around the dissemination of research outcomes.”

The founders of Publons, who met at primary school in Whakatane and then studied together at Victoria, came up with the concept for their business while Dr Preston was doing postdoctoral research at Boston University. In its four years of existence, the company has expanded to include several other Victoria alumni across its Wellington and London offices.

Since its creation, more than 150,000 researchers have added nearly 800,000 reviews to Publons. It is now the largest peer review platform in the world, having partnerships with four of the top five publishers in the world and formal integrations with more than 1,300 journals.

Professor McGrath congratulated Publons on its success in taking a smart idea to a partnership with a global leader in its field in just a few years.

“We look forward to seeing how this partnership, and Victoria’s, helps grow Publons’ already impressive outreach.”

For more information contact Professor Kate McGrath on 04-463 5963 or

New partnerships for stronger research outcomes

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