Should Journals Pay Referees?

Like most scientists, I have had a few bad experiences during the peer review of my manuscripts. My most painful experiences have been with the delays in publication brought on by apparent referee apathy to meeting the three- to four-week deadline of most journals. May I offer a suggestion for abolishing delays due to referee apathy? As others have suggested, paying referees may improve the quality of their reviews. However, I believe that payment should be restricted to those referees who provi

Leon Spicer
Mar 8, 1987
Like most scientists, I have had a few bad experiences during the peer review of my manuscripts. My most painful experiences have been with the delays in publication brought on by apparent referee apathy to meeting the three- to four-week deadline of most journals. May I offer a suggestion for abolishing delays due to referee apathy?

As others have suggested, paying referees may improve the quality of their reviews. However, I believe that payment should be restricted to those referees who provide reviews within a defined period; say, two to three weeks or less.

Each journal could develop a process whereby authors who want a manuscript reviewed expeditiously would pay a nonrefundable fee at the time of submission. The fee would be based on length; a fair price might be $5 per typed page. To set the fee, each journal could conduct a survey to determine the average actual length...