Re: The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review)

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 17:20:04 +0000

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 11:30:22 -0500
From: Peter Suber <>
To: jkirk <>,
Subject: costs of peer review

At 01:05 PM 2/25/2002 -0700, Joanna Kirk wrote:
>I don't understand why peer review costs money. I have peer reviewed
>articles for academic sources and never got paid for it--what's the secret?
>[Quoting the 2/25/02 issue of the FOS Newsletter:]
>[Jon Gordon] leaves the false impression that BOAI doesn't endorse peer
>review, doesn't know it costs money, or doesn't have a way to cover the
>costs. To see how I would have replied, see the BOAI FAQ on these points,

Joanna: Good question. Peer review consists of editorial judgment and
paper shuffling (or digital file shuffling). In most journals and most
fields, the editors and reviewers exercising judgment are donating their
time. So the costs arise only from the clerical work of moving files
around, monitoring who's doing what, nagging dawdlers, and so on. The cost
of this varies, of course, depending on how many submissions must be vetted
per published article and how punctual all the players are. But the fact
that the important players donate their time doesn't eliminate all the
costs. The best estimate I've seen for the average is $200-500 per
article. This estimate probably does not take into account the
increasingly sophisticated software (at a wide range of prices) to automate
these clerical jobs.

Peter Suber, Professor of Philosophy
Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, 47374

Editor, The Free Online Scholarship Newsletter
Received on Tue Feb 26 2002 - 17:21:22 GMT

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