In the past, I have lamented about the lack of politeness that characterises some conference and journal paper reviewers. I have also complained about the long periods of review processes for many journals. I also suggested that reviewers must be paid for their hard work.
Today, I would like to write about the need for remunerating paper reviewers in more detail. The process is not an easy job. It is such a rigorous work that requires the reviewer to not only understand the work that is being presented, but it also calls for the reviewer to read a lot more papers in the thematic area in order to ascertain the novel contributions in the paper that he is reviewing.
In order to ensure that the reviewers are doing quality work, they deserve to be paid. We must no longer be considering conference and journal paper review as voluntary work. When papers are accepted, authors are asked to pay registration fees, in the case of a conference, and publication fees in the case of the journal papers. My view is that part of this money should cater for the review process.
Even after the paper is published, folks who run these journals keep on making a lot of money. Access to these papers is granted only after an interested reader has paid some money. If there happens to be a very popular paper, chances for making more money increase rapidly. All this is showing that reviewers are suffering gross intellectual abuse! They definitely deserve to be paid for their hard work.
Furthermore, in academic and research circles, research output, in terms of publications, is a key criterion for promotion. Institutions attach so much value to the outcome of the work of reviewers, yet journals do not attach the same value to these very important personnel in the process of producing those publications. Reviewers must be paid.
In most cases, because there are no financial incentives, some reviewers spend most of their time doing things that will bring food to their tables. They only revert to paper review during their leisure time and they do not strongly apply their minds to it. As a result, we are seeing more and more shoddy publications. If there were some monetary value attached to this work, the outcome would be completely different.
Sometimes I also think that the long review periods are due to the fact that most reviewers do not consider this work as a priority simply because they are focussing on those works that earn them some money.
May all the people who are running journal papers, please consider the issue of paying these esteemed scholars for their strenuous work.