'Cosy' publishers come under academic fire

November 28, 1997

Academics want big changes to the way their articles are handled by the publishing industry, according to a survey on journal writing, refereeing and editing.

Suggestions include shortening the time it takes to review and publish articles and better training and monitoring of referees.

The findings are based on a survey of 130 members of the British Educational Research Association, the British Psychological Society and the British Sociological Association.

Study authors Margaret Scanlon, Angela Packwood and Gaby Weiner of South Bank and Warwick universities said respondents complained about "insensitive, ill-informed or contradictory referees' comments and lack of objectivity in the review process".

They called for constructive feedback to authors and a bigger pool of full-time referees to encourage new thinking. Some respondents called for greater objectivity and transparency "by getting rid of 'cosy networks' and editors who publish their or their friends' work".

Letters, page 15

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