True costs of peer-review

Mark Chillingworth, the Editor of Information Week Review, writes in the October issue that there are debates on how to improve peer review, alludes to a recent PRISM statement about the need to protect it, but that “nowhere is there anyone laying out the true costs of peer review”. He suggests that these costs need to be calculated as part of any informed way forward to maximize the benefits of the system.

Martin Blume, then Editor-in-Chief of the American Physical Society, wrote in the first of Nature’s web debates on access to the literature in 2001:

“Peer review is expensive, and although reviewing by scientists is voluntary, we need to pay our editorial staff. It is more time consuming and hence more costly to review the 10,000 rejected articles than it is to review those that are accepted. Consideration is being given to other forms of peer review, but no savings are as yet obvious if quality is to be maintained.”


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