Re: Alternative publishing models - was: Scholar's Forum: A New Model...

From: Arthur Smith <apsmith_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Fri, 7 May 1999 12:56:43 -0400

On Fri, 7 May 1999 13:27:27 +0100, Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_COGLIT.ECS.SOTON.AC.UK> wrote:
> [... discussion of multiple evaluation ...]
>So the only way to implement page charges that does not tamper in any
>way with classical peer review is to assess them only for accepted
>papers (factoring in the costs of processing the rejected papers with
>the overall cost per accepted article).

I think this is a good argument - but if it is so critical to
maintaining current peer review not to have submission charges,
isn't it likely that introducing or significantly increasing
publication charges might also have deleterious effects? In fact
some of the arguments you presented against a submission charge
work just as well against a new or increased page charges (for example
discouraging the submission of important work based on ability to pay).
Remember that the majority of journals currently do not assess any charges on
their authors, and even for us the charge is voluntary (and we've recently
waived it anyway for properly constructed electronic submissions).

I do agree with your points on not overburdening referees. If
we are to reform the peer review system (and John Smith's proposal definitely
involves some major changes to it, more logical I think than other suggestions
I have seen) it should be in the direction of reducing the burden of referees.
Right now the more a given paper is rejected, the more work for referees,
so the worst papers get the most work done on them. If I read John's system
correctly, most authors would try to avoid wasting their money that way.

But empirical experience is definitely worth more than a thousand theories.
Maybe it's time for somebody to test submission charges :-)

Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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