Build a better peer-review icon for the blogosphere

Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting has announced a contest to design an icon to identify serious blog posts discussing peer-reviewed research.

Anyone will be able to use the icon on their blog posts whenever the post is a serious commentary about a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal, and not just a link to a press release or media commentary. Then will track these posts in a centralized listing of the most authoritative writing in the blogosphere.

Although the organization has only existed for 10 days, there's already a great discussion going on there, on everything from what the icon represents to how to aggregate posts to the nature of peer review.

Even if you're not planning on participating in the contest, make sure to visit the site to help guide discussion about the future of thoughtful science and academic writing on blogs.

You can also check out this post for some of the preliminary designs that have already been created. More details on the contest below:

Here is the text of the BPR3 announcement:

Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting is pleased to announce its contest for designing the icon that will represent the organization and its mission on academic blogs world-wide.

Contest participants will design a universal icon that everyone can use on their blog posts whenever the post is a serious commentary about a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal, and not just a link to a press release or media commentary.

Eventually these posts will be collected on, so anyone can find the most thoughtful blog posts on the internet, discussing serious research, not just media hype.

The contest will run from Friday, August 24 to Monday, September 10. The top three submissions will be selected by BPR3, then the final icon will be chosen by readers' vote.

Contest Guidelines

  • Icon must be a standard .GIF or .JPG image
  • Entries must be submitted in three sizes: 120(w) X 90(h), 80 X 50, and 16 X 16
  • All entries must be exactly the height specified, but the two largest-sized icons may be narrower, but no wider than specified (e.g. a 110 X 90 icon would be acceptable for the largest size, but a 120 X 85 icon would not). The smallest icon must be exactly 16 X 16.

In addition, successful entries will be

  • Easy to use
  • Recognizable
  • Representative of the aims of the BPR3 organization (see "What the icon will signify" below)
  • Low-bandwidth
  • Compatible with many different site designs
  • Attractive
  • Copyright-free [e.g. use no copyrighted images]

What the icon will signify

  • The BPR3 icon will represent, most importantly, a blog post that thoughtfully discusses peer-reviewed research.
  • All research should be formally cited according to the requirements of the discipline within which it falls, and linked when possible.
  • The post should make it clear when it is discussing research or ideas that are not peer reviewed.
  • The poster should have carefully read all research cited.
  • The icon should link back to the site in the manner we specify (this will depend on the method we choose for aggregating posts).

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit entries by posting links to the icons (or a blog post containing the icons) on the Contest Thread at
  • Only entries with valid email addresses will be considered (email addresses will not be published)
  • You may also email your submission to
  • Winning entrants must be willing to turn over all copyright to and / or place the copyright in the public domain as specified by
  • Note: preserve all files / layers / fonts you used to make the submission. You'll need to provide those materials if your submission is chosen.

In addition to the admiration and respect of the entire academic blogosphere, the winning entrant will earn a free subscription to Seed Magazine, a ScienceBlogs coffee mug, and a copy of Natalie Angier's The Canon (courtesy of the Seed Media Group). BPR3 is currently working with other publishers about the possibility of additional prizes, so stay tuned!

About BPR3
Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting strives to identify serious academic blog posts about peer-reviewed research by developing an icon and an aggregation site where others can look to find the best academic blogging on the Net.

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16 x 16... That seriously limits how creative you can get.

That's for the favicon -- like the Sb icon in the menubar at this site. Some people might also use it for inline links to peer-reviewed articles.

I'm hopeless when it comes to designing anything, but all the best to all who will be entering the contest! :) Can't wait to see all the designs :)