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Paying it forward with Peer Review

As part of the Peer Review Week 2017 we speak to Senior Editor Annett Buettner about the Filter of Hope initiative, which donates a water filter for each peer review completed in the Springer journal Environmental Earth Sciences.

Q) How did you come up with this idea?
It was over a beer, sometime in 2014, where some colleagues quite informally talked about peer reviewers and the fact that we needed to reward them in some way for the work that they do. We wanted an easy-to-implement, ethical and financially feasible solution and got thinking after that evening. Finally it was decided that we would spend on charity for every peer review completed. For our pilot project, on the suggestion of the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Environmental Earth Sciences, we teamed up with the charity Filter of Hope and decided to give away a water filter for each peer review completed in the journal.

Q) Tell us more about the filter and how it helps
Water is an important topic in the journal and of course in general. These filters are designed to actively filter harmful bacteria in water making it drinkable again. They are easy to install and clean and can be re-used effectively. The need for clean drinking-water is quite high in disaster-struck areas and these filters are proving to be extremely helpful in such areas.

Q) Why the focus on Peer Review and how was the initial response from peer reviewers?
Peer Review is so important to maintain accuracy in published scientific research. A peer reviewer puts in so much time and effort in reviewing an article but does not receive much in return for their work. Through this initiative peer reviewers not only get recognized by us for their work but also pay it forward through donating these water filters. Right from the onset peer reviewers were on-board with this idea and were happy and eager to contribute. In fact, some reviewers are happy to review more articles to support the initiative.

Q) How was this set up internally?
We received a lot of support from our internal Journal Editorial Office for setting this up in Editorial Manager, our article submission system. Each completed peer review uploaded on to the manuscript submission system triggers an author notification that a water filter will be donated through Filter of Hope. Authors also have the option of having their name mentioned in a special Editorial published at the end of the year.

Q) What does the future look like for this project?
Springer Nature is the first publishing house to get involved in such an initiative for peer reviewers honouring the process of peer review. We hope that other journals within Springer Nature take cue from this project and implement similar strategies for their journals and certainly do hope that more peer reviewers can promote this cause. Ideally, every topic covered by our journals corresponds to a good cause, so it shouldn’t be very hard to achieve.

To find out more about this project and the journal click here. To access a free tutorial on ‘How to Peer Review’ please click here.