There are many benefits to being a peer reviewer, some researchers feel that peer review has helped improve the quality of their work by informing them of flaws and helping them correct problems. Overall, it seems that most just want to contribute something back to science, noting that peer review is simply part of their role as a researcher.
The question is, what can publishers do to recognize the work that people do? This doesn’t just mean that those who review the most must be commended the highest.
The words ‘quality over quantity’ ring true and publishers understand that researchers cannot spend the bulk of their time reviewing other papers. Learning how to measure the quality of peer review is an issue publishers hope to address, thus, making the process of peer review a more efficient process.
Elizabeth Moylan, Senior Editor for Research Integrity, talks about the peer review process here:
As I’ve written elsewhere, we should incentivize good peer review. Specifically, let authors rate their peer reviewers on fairness, thoughtfulness, expertise, etc. Journals compile these ratings and share them with funding agencies. Funding agencies then select the best peer reviewers possible to serve on study sections. Journals invite only the best reviewers to serve on editorial boards. In other words, set up incentives to reward and raise the profile of good peer reviewers in their respective communities.
This would incentivize everyone to peer review and to do their best at it, because the best reviewers will have more influence in shaping the field. And it would keep the bad reviewers who constantly turn in biased/uninformed/sloppy reviews from positions on study sections and editorial boards. Over time, as the quality of peer review is raised, the quality of funded and publish science will improve, and the entire ecosystem of science will benefit.