JCAP to pay referees

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Sarah Bridle
Posts: 144
Joined: September 24 2004
Affiliation: University College London (UCL)

JCAP to pay referees

Post by Sarah Bridle » December 10 2007

JCAP has sent an email out saying that it is going to start paying its referees.
I am fascinated to see how this works out. Does anyone know any more about this?
e.g. does the payment decrease with time?
Is paying referees a good idea?
Are you more likely to submit articles to JCAP now?

Richard Massey
Posts: 3
Joined: June 22 2005
Affiliation: CalTech

JCAP to pay referees

Post by Richard Massey » December 11 2007

This sounds a great idea to me! If the payment does decrease with time, it'd certainly hurry me along - however, it doesn't sound like it will (see sull announcement below). And I disagree with the obvious potential problems. For example, it will be easy to spot very short reports from referees who have not thoroughly read a paper - and journals aren't (shouldn't) go back to those referees for return business.

Here's the original email announcement from JCAP:
Dear Colleague,

The real value of scientific journals today is the peer-review
processing. Indeed, the development of the electronic archives has
diminished the importance of the scientific journals as conveyors of
information, as they are no longer the main sources of scientific
information. Keeping in mind these facts, SISSA started several years
ago new electronic journals: JHEP, JCAP, JSTAT and JINST, which are
now among the journals with the highest impact factor in their
fields. We believe that the main reason for this success of our
journals is the high quality of the peer-review process.

Given that peer review is the most valuable asset of journals, we
would like to urge again our referees, in an even stronger manner, to
be as rigorous as possible when reviewing our submissions. We
understand that this task will require an even greater effort by
reviewers and we therefore feel that this should be rewarded in some
way. Hence, in the spirit that scientific work should be remunerated,
we have decided to allocate funds for this purpose and to pay a token
fee for every referee report beginning in 2008. We strongly feel that
this new practice in the policy of scientific journals is the right
step on the way to further improve the quality of our peer review

We would appreciate it very much if you could inform your colleagues
about our new policy.

SISSA Medialab Executive Editorial Committee

Amos Breskin
Marc Henneaux
Viatcheslav Mukhanov
Hector Rubinstein

Simon DeDeo
Posts: 44
Joined: October 26 2004
Affiliation: Santa Fe Institute

JCAP to pay referees

Post by Simon DeDeo » December 11 2007

The one time I was forced to put in a great deal of effort in the review process (three back-and-forths on a paper that, were I older and more confident in my judgements, I would have suggested be rejected as insufficiently original) -- I feel like no sum would have been enough. I remember the first time I was sent a paper to review in graduate school, it was a real rite of passage and an important part of feeling part of the community.

That said, it is nice to this important part of the process taken seriously. I wonder if perhaps the mercenary aspect might be avoided by allowing one to check a box and send the money as a donation to some worthy charity. I know getting a \$10 cheque in the mail would be sort of odd and I'd prefer the warm feeling of sending it off to Greenpeace to save the whales.

Of course, if "token" means \$100, bring it on! We can always evolve new whales.

Alessandro Melchiorri
Posts: 123
Joined: September 24 2004
Affiliation: University of Rome

JCAP to pay referees

Post by Alessandro Melchiorri » April 07 2008

JCAP token is 30 euros.
Not bad (especially if you live in US :-))
way better than the pin, anyway.

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