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22/05/2018

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David Bourget

I've been thinking a lot about this problem. It seems to me that some kind of credit system is needed---you referee papers promptly, this gives you credits that entitle you to prompt referring of your papers. Such a system obviously faces many challenges and could potentially disadvantage some people (people that don't get to make credits because they are not invited to referee). But I think there might be ways to make it work so that it's at least better for everyone than the current system. Journal editors who are potentially interested should contact me--I'd be interested in trying to work out the details with input from editors. Maybe one day this can be taken on as part of the PhilPapers ecosystem.

Marcel Weber

A serious problem indeed. I would worry that a penalty/credit system would exclude some really creative scholars (as well as some major figures). I think involving junior scholars is a good idea, although many journals already do that.
Perhaps it would help if the task of the referees would somewhat re-defined. In philosophy it is kind of expected from referees to give detailed comments, lest their commebts be considered "unhelpful". Many articles are extensively re-written with the help of referee inputs. There is a case to made for this not being the referee's job. Contrary to the received vew, peer review is about scientific/philosophical significance, not quality control or assistance how to write a paper. The latter tasks should be carried out by a scholar's immediate colleagues or supervisors. So journals should ask authors only to send articles that have been extensively read and discussed by colleagues and supervisor. The referees' task is then simply to give thumbs up or down, perhaps with a short one-liner as justification. Referees might be more likely to respond if they know that they don't have to write extensive critique of a paper

Hans van Leunen

Peer review is no longer of this time. It is slow, expensive, done by biased reviewers that are not omniscient. It cannot handle a revision service. It is a closed session. It is in conflict with fast and open accessible e-print archives. It often puts high costs for authors that are not connected to institutions.
Personally, I publish on vixra.org because it does not require registration and endorsement. I write controversial and unconventional documents that contain new science and will not easily pass a peer review process. I also publish in the form of a Wikiversity project. Vixra.org offers like arxiv.org an efficient revision service. Both are free, but arxiv.org requires registration, which includes an endorsement. I do not want to bother others with an endorsement request. Instead of the peer review process, I have started a ResearchGate project in which the documents and the Wikiversity project are discussed. The problem with this solution is to get sufficient followers on the ResearchGate project. See: https://www.researchgate.net/project/The-Hilbert-Book-Model-Project

Steven French

Thanks Marcel! Although we’re sympathetic to the idea that journals shouldn’t be seen as ‘finishing schools’ I’m not sure a thumbs up or down is sufficient. Very few papers are so good they can just be published as is, so some comments, no matter how brief, can be useful both to the author and the editors. And split decisions among referees are not uncommon - in those cases some justification for the recommendation,is obviously crucial!

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