Peer reviewed journals constitute one of the most important forms of publication outlets for academic research. One of the reasons why peer reviewed journals are prestigious is that articles are published only after having gone through peer review. Journals depend on the contributions by the scholars who review manuscripts submitted to journals. These scholars provide recommendations concerning whether manuscripts should be rejected, accepted or resubmitted after having been revised. However, the academics—that is the peers—who review manuscripts submitted to journals are not paid by the journals or publishers for such work.

In the last few years, several initiatives seeking to recognize the work conducted by academics as reviewers for journals have been launched. Some journals, for example, have introduced ‘best reviewer awards’, which are handed out to reviewers who have provide exceptionally helpful feedback to authors as part of the review process. Another initiative of this kind is the Global Peer Review Awards, which were established in 2016 by Publons. Publons provides a database that allows academics to register and keep track of the peer reviews that they perform for academic journals. It is on the basis of reviews registered in this database that Publons honors the Top Peer Reviewers in the annual Global Peer Review Awards. The top peer reviewers are those who belong to the top one per cent of reviewers in their discipline, based on the number of peer reviews they have written in a particular academic year.