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The Peer-Review Crisis


workflow concept

A 2018 survey of academics found that cash payment is not a significant incentive to review.

Academic publishing has long relied on a peer-review system that operates on goodwill, in the form of comprehensive, unpaid article analyses from expert volunteers. The pandemic has pushed this system to breaking, or close to it. Journal editors across fields say scholars are significantly less likely to accept article-review requests, and are more likely to return reviews that are late or even rushed.

Using very rough estimates, Gale Sinatra, a professor at the University of Southern California who is stepping down as associate editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, says an article that may have taken three months to get reviewed before the pandemic could take six months now. And in some cases, Sinatra hasn't been able to find a third reviewer at all.

"I just don't know what we're going to do. The model has to change," Sinatra says.

An old idea that's gotten a lot more attention of late is paying reviewers for their work.

From Inside Higher Ed
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