Clarivate Analytics has bought Publons, the global platform for researchers to share recognition for peer review, for an undisclosed sum.
The "significant" deal was facilitated by new Clarivate board director and advisor Annette Thomas who said the bringing together of the two "has the potential to truly transform the peer review process".
Clarivate, headquartered in Philadelphia but with a significant office in London and a global presence, was formed as an independent business when Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property & Science was sold to private equity funds last year. It has 4,000 employees, and operates in 100 countries, offering analytics via subscription-based businesses focused on science and academic research as well as pharmaceutical and biotech intelligence, intellectual property management, and other areas.
Publons co-founders Andrew Preston and Daniel Johnston, together with all Publons employees, have joined Clarivate Analytics as part of the acquisition. Publons will grow its existing base in Wellington, New Zealand along with its London presence, and it is said it will continue to sustain its entrepreneurial culture, while integrating its technology with Clarivate Analytics systems.
Clarivate c.e.o. Jay Nadler commented: “Clarivate Analytics is investing aggressively to enhance existing analytics, insights and workflow optimization solutions, and to identify new ways to help our customers accelerate innovation. In just five years Publons has built the largest and most trustworthy reviewer discovery tool in the world, with eight of the top 10 publishers and more than 150,000 reviewers using the platform. Acquiring Publons reflects our commitment to create the definitive set of objective, publisher-independent tools for researchers, publishers, research funders and institutions, giving the experts involved in peer review the recognition they deserve.”
Publons will increase the value of many of Clarivate's products and support researchers as they manage their work across the ecosystem of funders, publishers and institutions, the company said.
Publons co-founder Andrew Preston commented: “The Clarivate Analytics citation network and researcher tools, including flagship products like Web of Science, EndNote and ScholarOne, are some of the most widely used tools in research. Daniel [Johnston] and I founded Publons with the core belief that peer review is at the heart of research. As the pressures on scientific publishing continue to grow, we see an opportunity for Publons to have an even greater positive impact on peer review. The global scale and impartial position of Clarivate Analytics, combined with Publons, will allow us to further develop the platform, creating the tools and services that the research community needs."
Problems such as fraudulent scientific research and inefficiencies in peer review are among those that can be addressed using the combined strength of the two companies, Clarivate said.
Annette Thomas, former Springer Nature chief scientific officer, and previously c.e.o. of Macmillan Science and Education, joined the Clarivate Analytics board as director and advisor earlier this year and worked closely with Publons and Clarivate to facilitate the acquisition. She commented: "Peer review is at the heart of the scholarly communication process, and for so long it has been difficult to motivate, track and appreciate the true impact that scholars make as peer reviewers. I have experienced this first hand as a researcher, editor and publisher. In my view, Publons is the first platform to convincingly address these issues through a clever use of network, data and analytics. Bringing Publons together with Clarivate Analytics' deep citation data in the Web of Science, the reach of publisher tools like Scholar One, and their global position as the impartial arbiter of prestige within the research ecosystem, has the potential to truly transform the peer review process, ensuring that peer review remains a vital part of the system of reference and authority needed to maintain scholarly communication in a digital, networked age."