Plenary Session Presentations

Speed Requires Reward for Reviewers

stephen dunnett

    Floyd Bloom makes the clear case that the bottleneck in obtaining a speedy review process in scientific journal publishing is the review process. A list of possible incentives "in kind" for referees to undertake a rapid review are suggested, but the obvious one - that referees are paid for their professional expertise - is notably ignored.
    There are two neuroscience journals from different publishers that I know of - NeuroReport and Alzheimer's Reports - that do pay referees in order to obtain fast reviews. It is noteworthy that these two can each routinely maintain a submission-to-editorial reply with referees reports in 10-14 working days, a dramatic improvement on the 1-2 months that any other neuroscience journal I know can achieve.
    Like it or not (and most publishers certainly fall into the latter camp), busy referees do appear to be willing to give individual manuscripts priority treatment in response to financial recognition of their expert services. Of course, this would presumably no longer work if all journals adopted similar policies, but clearly market issues apply here as elsewhere.
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