Friday, July 30, 2010

American Psychological Association claims to pay for peer review. Should we send them a bill?

According to this nextgov article, Steven Breckler, executive director for science at the American Psychological Association, says, "One of the major concerns publishers raised is federal funds do not cover the costs of peer review, which is a service the APA journal provides to readers by coordinating a panel of experts to vet a prospective author's research before publishing it".

The reality: publishers do not pay for peer review; this is provided on a voluntary basis by the academic community itself.

This is an argument that keeps coming up over and over again, and I am wondering how to get the point across that it is foolish to claim to pay for valuable services that you are getting for free?

In today's fiscal environment, universities everywhere and certainly universities in the U.S., are dealing with some very tough budget situations. If publishers are claiming to pay for peer review, hey, why not send them a bill?

Update August 1: this should be considered as a (fully justified) educational exercise for the publishing community; for the university sector, it would be folly to pay for peer review. The Research Information Network conducted a scenario exercise which illustrates the considerable economic benefits to the university sector of the current gift economy for peer review: Research Information Network (RIN). (2008). Activities, costs and funding flows in the
scholarly communications system in the UK. Retrieved July 27, 2010 from