An Incentive Solution to the Peer Review Problem

  • Marc Hauser mail,

    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

  • Ernst Fehr
  • Published: April 17, 2007
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050107

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Posted by plosbiology on 07 May 2009 at 22:16 GMT

Author: Hanna Kokko
Position: prof.
Institution: University of Helsinki
Submitted Date: April 24, 2007
Published Date: April 24, 2007
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

So... what about those people who get asked to review a lot. I work in a field where mathematically skilled reviewers are in a short supply. As a result, I am typically asked 4-5 times a week if I could review a paper for this or that journal. If I did one per week, and all of them on time, this would still give me a penalty for refusing to do hundreds of manuscripts/year. Hundreds of weeks of accumulating penalty delay per year, even if divided over many journals... I think I could just quit science and start looking for another job right away.

Even if not all reviewers were this busy, the system would form a disincentive to become a good reviewer who provides thorough and thoughtful comments, because editors love good reviewers, and being loved like that is definitely not what one wants in a system where every review request is a potential penalty.

No competing interests declared.