For many busy working scientists, receiving yet another invitation from an academic journal to peer review yet another manuscript can trigger groans. The work is time-consuming, and rewards can seem intangible. What’s more, the reviewers work for free, even as the large commercial publishers that operate many journals earn hefty profits.
We have written before about the potential value to a career of a thoughtful approach to peer review. That notwithstanding, Gary answers this question with a loud and enthusiastic, “Yes”! – But he happily admits to being a progressive with socialist leanings.
But last week, researchers at a scholarly publishing conference debated a provocative question: Should peer reviewers be paid?
The issue has drawn greater attention as peer reviewers have become harder to recruit. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, producing a blizzard of submissions, journals were reporting “reviewer fatigue”: In 2013, journal editors had to invite an average of 1.9 reviewers to get one completed review; by 2017, the number had risen to 2.4, according to a report by Publons, a company that tracks peer reviewers’ work.