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What sets Phenom apart from other peer review systems?

What sets Phenom apart from other peer review systems?

We are committed to making our new peer review system, Phenom, intuitive and user friendly for our authors, editors and reviewers. Operations Manager at Hindawi Catherine Farrell, talks about the key system features that meet everyone’s needs, reducing duplication of tasks and increasing flexibility and ease.

An intuitive dashboard

Our dashboard is designed to be practical and straightforward. For authors, this starts with our simple submission process, but we also think it should be simple to check the status of a submission, and that submitting a revised manuscript should be fuss-free. On a single page, authors can filter submissions by status, title, manuscript ID or journal name as required, to find out the exact stage of their manuscript, with no guesswork involved and no need for the often protracted process of emailing a journal for a status update. What’s more, manuscript revisions are as easy as replacing old files with updated ones, along with a response to reviewers, and there’s no need to complete a whole submission form again. 

We’ve also given Editors more control, with seamless peer review and manageable workloads. Actionable papers are clearly indicated, with simple tools for both Triage and Academic Editors: our Editor Suggestion tool sorts Editors by relevance and displays their current workload, and our reviewer suggestions tab collates the most relevant researchers in the field. This has positive effects on Editor acceptance and engagement, and our authors can also be assured that only the most appropriate and capable Editors and reviewers are invited. 

And for reviewers, we believe that submitting a review report shouldn’t require any admin. Through our new systems, a link in an email invitation takes reviewers straight to the paper they’re working on, where they’ll have full access to the manuscript and any supplementary information or files. There, they can type their review directly into a free text box, or upload a file if they’d prefer, and there’s a separate text box for any confidential comments to the Editor. Without a form to fill in or endless boxes to tick, reviewers can get straight to the task at hand. 

Publons reviewer suggestions

Our reviewer suggestions lists come from the Reviewer Connect service offered by Publons. This takes data from Web of Science to generate a list of appropriate reviewers for each manuscript, significantly reducing the administrative burden for the Editor, and improving author experience by reducing overall reviewer turnaround times. We provide Editors with the most important information (full name, affiliation and number of reviews), but for a comprehensive view, Editors can click on the reviewer’s name to be taken to their full Publons profile, including publication, editorial and review history, as well as their area of expertise and contact information. 

While this is a great help to our Editors, it’s also beneficial to our reviewers, ensuring they are only invited on papers which are highly relevant to them. This keeps reviewers engaged, helps prevent reviewer fraud and gets papers published faster, benefitting the entire greater research community. 


Phenom is entirely open source, which means there’s a great deal of flexibility to it, and we can adapt it to suit our needs. One way we’ve utilized this is by creating three new editorial models which all make use of a Triage Editor, who does an initial assessment of a manuscript before sending it to an Academic Editor for further review. We’ve seen many positive benefits of this since the migration to our new system, including strengthening of relationships within editorial boards (leading to a more robust peer review process), improved communication with both internal staff and our authors, and a shift towards increasing the impact of our journals – we have also received a lot of positive feedback from our Triage Editors themselves on these models. Ultimately, this speaks to our main company goal of championing Open Science, and we’re excited to see more of our journals move to the Triage Editor model in 2021. 

Phenom has also been built with our publishing partners in mind, with the ability to tailor a range of options to meet their needs, and journal owners can choose the level of support they want. 2020 saw the continued success of several partnerships, as well as brand new partnerships with GeoScienceWorld, Cambridge University Press and Sage, and we look forward to using our platform for more exciting collaborations in 2021.

This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Illustration adapted from Adobe Stock by David Jury.

Article of the Year Award: Outstanding research contributions of 2020, as selected by our Chief Editors. Read the winning articles.