Peer Review: Work or Hobby?

Andrew N. Wilner, MD


November 09, 2017


But I wonder whether such effort, important as it is, should remain without material compensation. Payment to peer reviewers would increase the cost of publication, but such payment represents a legitimate business expense. Because the journal's staff are compensated, and the publisher is presumably making money, why should this integral part of the publication process rely on volunteers? An increasing number of peer reviewers feel that their unpaid status is unfair.[2]

Every physician I know is busier than ever, swamped by expanding administrative, clinical, research, and teaching responsibilities. Given these adverse conditions, it is difficult for an optional activity, such as peer review—no matter how highly valued—to climb to the top of anyone's "to do" list.

Perhaps, in days of yore, physicians had dedicated time in their schedules for peer review. These days, if anyone's daily calendar includes "peer review," I'd love to hear from them. Perhaps there's an opening at their institution?


Owing to their busy schedules, many potential reviewers may eschew the opportunity to critique manuscripts submitted for scholarly publication. Transformation from "hobby" to "work" might give peer review a fighting chance for a place on the day's calendar. If peer review really is essential to the editing process, shouldn't it be compensated appropriately?

What are your thoughts?


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