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Journals and Reviewers

Mon May 31 14:33:00 EST 1993


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. However, the discussion brings up some
aspects of the current reviewing system for which I would like to
raise two issues.

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.

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.

How nice if science can maintain its integrity even though other
segments of the society are doing their tricks to survive!

Song-Muh Jong
University of Florida
Internet: sjj at icbr.ifas.ufl.edu
BITNET:   sjj at ufbiot

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