Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Dimensions in Peer Review

I noticed that Peer Review is now a paid process if you want it expedited. The Scientist reports:

Private peer review is now a multimillion dollar industry, with many journals now offering a service through which authors can fast-track their manuscripts through the process—for a price. Last week (March 24), Scientific Reports announced that, for a cost of $750, it had begun offering such expedited service, through the peer-review service Rubriq, which pays its editors $100 each per review. (Rubriq also offers pre-review services for researchers looking for feedback before submitting to a journal.)

It is not clear that such a process is good or bad. The purpose of Peer Review was to filter out bad papers, bad because they may have been incorrect, duplicated, unreadable, or just outright wrong. However as one having done it for years, Peer Review was a process of sending out proposed publications to individuals who would without prejudice examine and critique a work so that it became better if published.

Over the years the Editorship became more club like and if the right senior author appeared on a paper then it was published. This often led to publications not properly reviewed by the senior author and then retractions having been made. Internal reviews were often left to the external reviewer and then external reviewer assumed the internal reviewer did the work. The result is an explosion of retractions.

How will paying someone help. Not at all clear. It appears that the readers have become the reviewers, namely the marketplace.