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Reviewers immortalized in sculpture

Igor Chirikov /Facebook Russian sociologist Igor Chirikov and the monument he proposed to honor reviewersIgor Chirikov /Facebook

In the mold of the sculpture honoring an anonymous writer at Vajdahunyad Castle in Budapest, Hungary, a newly inaugurated Russian monument pays homage to an unlikely figure: peer reviewers—researchers who evaluate articles submitted for publication. Unveiled on May 26, 2017 during a ceremony attended by over 100 people on the premises of the Higher School of Economics at Moscow’s National Research University, the 1.5-metric-ton monument is the result of a collective funding campaign that drew support from several researchers. The stone block is shaped like a die whose sides display the possible results of a peer review: accept, minor changes, major changes, revise and resubmit, and reject. The idea for the monument arose in 2016 when the director of the institution asked for suggestions on what to do with a block of stone near the entrance to the school. The proposal to turn it into a monument honoring reviewers came from Igor Chirikov, a sociologist at that institution. In addition to displaying the possible results of the peer review process, the sides of the stone block are also carved with the titles of papers by researchers who contributed to the campaign. “Peer review in academia is a story of love and hate, but reviewers are invisible heroes in science,” Chirikov told the journal Nature.