The Crossref Curriculum

Peer reviews

Our members asked for the flexibility to register content for the reviews and discussions of scholarly content which they publish, so we extended our infrastructure to support members who post them. We support a whole host of outputs made publicly available from the peer review history, as they vary greatly based on journal. This may include referee reports, decision letter, and author response. The overall set may include outputs from the initial submission only or those from all subsequent rounds of revisions. We also allow members to register content made up of discussions surrounding a journal article after it was published (such as post-publication reviews).

The following organizations consulted with us on the design and/or development of the peer review service:

  • Publons
  • PeerJ
  • F1000 Research
  • eLife
  • BioMedCentral
  • BMJ
  • Copernicus
  • EMBO
  • Nature Communications

Benefits of our custom support for peer reviews

  • It ensures that links to these documents persist over time
  • The metadata provides relevant information about the reviews whether they were part of peer review or post-publication
  • These discussions are connected to the full history of the shared research results
  • Contributors are given credit for their work
  • The citation record is clear and up-to-date.

This metadata may also support enrichment of scholarly discussion, reviewer accountability, publishing transparency, and analysis or research on peer reviews.

Specifically, registering peer reviews with us enables features such as:

  • Persistent identifiers for peer review to ensure successful links to the scholarly record over the course of time via the DOI resolver
  • Content registration for peer reviews with custom metadata that capture the process surrounding the review
  • Links to the journal articles which were reviewed
  • Reference linking for peer review, connecting up the scholarly record to associated literature
  • Auto-update of ORCID records to ensure that peer review contributors get credit for their work
  • Discoverability: we make the metadata available for machine and human access, across multiple interfaces (including our REST API, OAI-PMH, and Metadata Search).

Obligations and limitations for peer review registration

  1. Members depositing peer review content need to register content using the peer review metadata schema section
  2. All reviews must include relationship metadata linking the review with the item being reviewed (relation type: isReviewOf). Learn more about connecting a review to the reviewed item through relations.

Other considerations:

  • References will be flagged as belonging to a peer review in our Cited-by service
  • The peer review is treated as one item only without components for its constituent parts
  • Peer review content items are not currently able to participate in Crossmark.

Membership and fees for peer review registration

Peer review posters who would like to use our registration service should apply to join as a member. We have a dedicated fee structure for peer reviews which allows for an unlimited number of reviews per associated article, combined in a single fee. Learn more about our fees.

Are you an existing Crossref member who wants to start linking up reviews? Let’s talk about getting started or migrating any existing mis-labelled content over to the dedicated peer review deposit schema section. If you’re not yet a member but want to register your reviews so they are included within Crossref infrastructure service, please contact us so we can answer any questions and get you set up.

Getting started with registering peer reviews

Registration of peer reviews is supported as of schema version 4.4.1. Peer reviews include referee reports, decision letters, and author responses. You may also register post-publication reviews using our peer review content type.

Peer review metadata includes a number of review-specific elements. Many are optional to accommodate differences in review practices, but please include all elements relevant to your reviews when submitting your metadata records.

Our schema includes support for the following fields:

  • contributor, to capture reviewer name and role, choose from:
    • reviewer
    • review-assistant
    • stats-reviewer
    • reviewer-external
    • reader
    • translator
    • anonymous
  • title
  • review_date
  • institution
  • competing_interest_statement
  • running_number
  • license data
  • relations
  • stage
  • type
  • recommendation
  • revision-round
  • language

Note that all reviews must include relationship metadata linking the review with the item being reviewed. Learn more about structural metadata.

Element Description Limits
contributor, includes person_name or anonymous Captures reviewer name and role. If anonymous, must capture as .
Peer review roles are: reviewer, review-assistant, stats-reviewer, reviewer-external, reader, translator, author, editor
title Title of review. If you don’t have a review-specific title convention, we recommend that you include Review (or member’s own term for review) in your peer review registration, as well as a revision and review number.
For example, a review pattern of Review: title of article (Revision number/Review number) will be:
Review: Analysis of the effects of bad metadata on discoverability (R2/RC3)
review_date Date of review, including month, day, year year is required
institution Organization (member or other) submitting the peer review, strongly advised if submitter differs from publisher of item being reviewed optional, may include up to 5
competing_interest_statement Competing interest statement provided by review author during review process optional
running_number Internal number/identifier used to identify specific review optional
license data Text or data mining license info optional
relations Relate review to item being reviewed through relationships - must supply the DOI of item being reviewed as an inter-work relation with review type isReviewOf required

Some metadata is captured as attributes with specific enumerated values:

Attributes Description Limits
stage Options are pre-publication and post-publication optional
type Types of report include: referee-report, editor-report, author-comment, community-comment, aggregate, recommendation optional
recommendation Values are: major-revision, minor-revision, reject, reject-with-resubmit, accept optional
revision-round Revision round number, first submission is defined as revision round 0 optional
language Language of review optional

Example of connecting a review to the reviewed item through relations

<program xmlns="">
      <description>Referee report of Treatment of plaque psoriasis with an ointment
formulation of the Janus kinase inhibitor, tofacitinib: a Phase 2b randomized
clinical trial</description>
      <inter_work_relation relationship-type="isReviewOf" identifier-type="doi"

Example of a complete review

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
   <doi_batch xmlns:xsi=""
xmlns="" version="4.4.2">
     	<peer_review stage="pre-publication" revision-round="1" recommendation="accept">
           	<person_name contributor_role="reviewer" sequence="first">
            	<title>Review: Treatment of plaque psoriasis with an ointment formulation of the Januskinase inhibitor, tofacitinib: a Phase 2b randomized clinical trial. V1</title>
         	<competing_interest_statement> There were no competing interests</competing_interest_statement>
         	<running_number>RC1 </running_number>
         	<program xmlns="">
              	<description>Referee report of Treatment of plaque psoriasis with an ointment formulation of the Janus kinase inhibitor, tofacitinib: a Phase 2b randomized clinical trial</description>
              	<inter_work_relation relationship-type="isReviewOf" identifier-type="doi"
>10.1186/s12895-016-0051-4 </inter_work_relation>

Last Updated: 2020 April 8 by Amanda Bartell