Re: Paying Referees?

From: Manfredi M.A. La Manna <>
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2002 08:26:47 +0100

In my view, paying referees for the prompt return of full reports is an
essential part of a successful entry strategy in a market with enormous
barriers to entry. Especially in economics where the publishing process
is extremely protracted (for an excellent paper on this topic, see
Glenn Ellison's " The slowdown of the economics publishing process",

On the more general issue of refereeing standards, see
Ellison's "Evolving standards for academic publishing",, which also
covers disciplines other than economics).

It is not a coincidence that two academic-driven recent attempts to enter
the economics journal market namely, bepress ( and elsss
( both envisage non-trivial payments to referees.

Dr Manfredi M.A. La Manna
Reader in Economics
ELSSS, Dept of Economics
University of St Andrews
St Andrews KY16 9AL
Scotland, UK
Tel: 44 + (0)1334 462434
Fax: 44+ (0)1334 462444
Mobile: 077526 19784


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

>At 13:47 14/08/2002 +0100, Andrew Odlyzko wrote:
>>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.
>> Andrew Odlyzko
>> University of Minnesota
>> Digital Technology Center
>> 499 Walter Library
>> 117 Pleasant St. SE
>> Minneapolis, MN 55455
>> email
>> 612-624-9510 voice phone
>> 612-625-2002 fax
Received on Mon Aug 19 2002 - 08:26:47 BST

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