Peer review? Priceless

November 18, 2010

Nobody, especially not a journal editor, would want to denigrate the contribution made by academics to the process of peer review. But to place a cost on it seems to miss the point ("Pay out then priced out: bid to rein in high journal costs", 4 November).

Reviewing is part of academic work, and the Joint Information Systems Committee appears to assume that scholars do their reviewing on company time when they should be doing something else. However, experience suggests that reviewers put their work first - many decline to do reviews with heartfelt apologies about their workload. They take part on a voluntary basis when they can, because they know it is important. The cost of reviewing is not paid by universities, but by academics. It is a system of goodwill that cannot be owned. It is not worth £165 million: it is priceless.

Stephen J. Childe, Editor, Production Planning & Control.

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