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Peer review innovator wins APE Award for Innovation in Scholarly Communication

By David Ellis January 10, 2024

Wednesday 10 January 2024Berlin, Germany and London, UK

Laura Feetham-Walker, Reviewer Engagement Manager at Institute of Physics Publishing, has won the 2024 APE Award for Innovation in Scholarly Communication at the 19th Academic Publishing in Europe (APE) Conference in Berlin, Germany.

The award – supported by Digital Science, a technology company serving stakeholders across the research ecosystem – was given to Laura for her work to improve academic peer review training and certification as well as enfranchising early career researchers to participate in peer review.

Peer review is undergoing something of a crisis as the number of manuscripts written and submitted to journals increases every year, but the pool of reviewers stays the same, with the workload on existing peer reviewers simply increasing as a result. Laura’s innovations address not only the size of the pool by extending offers to early career researchers to participate in peer review but also by training and certifying them so that they have the confidence to undertake peer reviews in a responsible manner.

Supported by Digital Science, the APE Award for Innovation in Scholarly Communication is presented to an individual who has brought innovation in scholarly communication to the community. Nominees can be part of organizations, or they can be independent.

This is the second year the prize has been awarded at the APE Conference.

Laura Feetham-Walker, winner of the 2024 APE Award for Innovation in Scholarly Communication, is presented her award by Digital Science CEO Daniel Hook
Laura Feetham-Walker, winner of the 2024 APE Award for Innovation in Scholarly Communication, is presented her award by Digital Science CEO Daniel Hook.

Digital Science CEO Dr Daniel Hook, who presented the award in Berlin last night, says: “Digital Science is honored to support Academic Publishing in Europe and this award, which champions the role of innovation in scholarly publishing not just within Europe but globally. We are proud to recognize those who help push the boundaries and are making an impact for the benefit of others.

“The judges were impressed by the inclusive nature of Laura’s approach. If we are to make progress in the peer review crisis then we must be able to look to the future, and training and enfranchising the next generation of peer reviews is a clear way to increase capacity and quality for the long term.”

As the winner, Laura will receive prize money of €1,000.

On receiving the award from Daniel Hook at the event in Berlin, Laura said: “It is a huge honor to receive this award – thank you to Daniel, the panel, APE and Digital Science.

“I’d like to thank and recognize all of my colleagues at IOPP… (the work) took a huge team of people to implement and make a reality.

“Innovation in peer review is not just about novelty… we’ve tried to listen to our community and address the issues they are facing,” she added.

In addition to the winner, one other participant was highly commended: Hong Zhou of Wiley Publishing for his long-term commitment to the development and deployment of the auto-tagging technologies used on the Atypon platform.

About Digital Science

Digital Science is an AI-focused technology company providing innovative solutions to complex challenges faced by researchers, universities, funders, industry and publishers. We work in partnership to advance global research for the benefit of society. Through our brands – Altmetric, Dimensions, Figshare, ReadCube, Symplectic, IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, Overleaf, Writefull, OntoChem, Scismic and metaphacts – we believe when we solve problems together, we drive progress for all. Visit www.digital-science.com and follow @digitalsci on X or on LinkedIn.

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David Ellis, Press, PR & Social Manager, Digital Science: Mobile +61 447 783 02, d.ellis@digital-science.com

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