If you're tired of waiting months to get your latest research manuscript peer reviewed, a small medical research journal has a deal for you: send in $125 with your paper, and you'll get your review in just 14 days, guaranteed, or your money back.

The Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research started making the offer in 1997 out of frustration. “I just got fed up with people taking too long to review,” said Larry Lachman, a professor at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and one of the journal's two founding editors in chief. He got the idea from a former fraternity brother who had used it when he started an accounting journal.

The key to the offer's success is that both peer reviewers receive $50 if they meet the 2-week deadline. The other $25 goes to pay for extra overnight shipping charges. “After the $50, very rarely...

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