Paying Referees?

From: Andrew Odlyzko <>
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 13:47:33 +0100

  [Moderator's Note: This thread has branched from:
  Re: The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review) ]

On the subject of referee payments, they are not frequent, but
they do occur occasionally even in disciplines other than
economics. I don't have any references to add to those that
Stevan assembled, but as another tidbit, let me mention that
the IBM Systems Journal, which publishes articles by IBM
authors, does use a conventional peer review system, relying
extensively (possibly even exclusively) on outside referees.
The outside referees are paid, but I am not sure what the
rationale or incentives of this are. In the two cases where
I refereed papers for them, the letter asking me to review a
submission did not state that a payment would be coming,
that was only mentioned after I submitted my report. (The
second instance occurred so long after the first one that
I did not assume that a payment would be forthcoming, since
more than enough time had passed for a policy change. The
fee in the second instance was $200, and I don't recall if
that was the same as in the first case.)

Another piece of anectodal evidence, supporting what Hal said:
One editor, in a biomedical area, told me of a practice at one
of her journals of sending a small trinket as a token appreciation
to referees who sent in reviews on time. She noted that some
referees would spend $20 (but usually of their employers' money!)
for a FedEx delivery of the report, in order to meet the deadline,
to get something that cost around $10 to provide.


  -----Please note new address-----

  Andrew Odlyzko
  University of Minnesota
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Received on Wed Aug 14 2002 - 13:47:33 BST

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