Journals and Reviewers

Tom Schneider toms at fcs260c2.ncifcrf.gov
Tue Jun 1 20:35:51 EST 1993


In article <9305311844.AA03145 at net.bio.net> SJJ at ICBR.IFAS.UFL.EDU
("JONG, SONG-MUH J") writes:

| I realize that most of the people try to avoid facing the question
| of whether journals can monopolize science, so I will not say
| anything on that now.

But please do later.  I think that they do.

| First, it doesn't seem to be a good idea to review papers for free.
| That kind of volunteer work was fun and noble in good old days, but
| may not serve the evergrowing scientific community nowadays.
| Scientists should start to charge their reviewing efforts just as
| medical doctors charge for any consultation. That might increase
| the cost of publishing papers in journals, but I would argue that,
| even with free reviewing, the cost will rise for other reasons put
| out by publishers anyway. Besides, good journals would have to open
| their revenues for covering the publication cost, just like other
| publications are doing now.

VERY VERY intersting propo$al!  You have changed from saying that
the reviewers should be paid more to that they should be paid.
How would such a system work?  Let's see ... using the evolutionary
concept by (sorry, missed the name) if I say to a journal - "please
send me $50 for this review" - what do you think they will do?
Next time they may not ask me!  I wonder if they would send me $5?

This also raises the possibility of professional reviewers.  Is that good?
Would they lose touch with the science?  I suspect so.

| Secondly, we should not have double standard in science. If we
| agree that proper reviews of papers prior to publication is
| essential for keeping the quality of science from falling, we must
| declare any publications without adequate reviews as invalid. In
| other words, any paper published in PNAS or other journals without
| going through peer review system should not be counted as
| publication for any academic purpose, such as tenure promotion.

Nice point.

Just what is the exact situation with PNAS?  How easily can somebody
in the academy get a paper published without review?

  Tom Schneider
  National Cancer Institute
  Laboratory of Mathematical Biology
  Frederick, Maryland  21702-1201
  toms at ncifcrf.gov



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