Wednesday, December 05, 2007

This and That

  • The Journal of High Energy Physics (JHEP) announces that they will pay referees for their reports from 2008 on:

    "Given that peer review is the most valuable asset of journals, we would like to urge again our referees, in an even stronger manner, to be as rigorous as possible when reviewing our submissions. We understand that this task will require an even greater effort by reviewers and we therefore feel that this should be rewarded in some way. Hence, in the spirit that scientific work should be remunerated, we have decided to allocate funds for this purpose and to pay a token fee for every referee report beginning in 2008. We strongly feel that this new practice in the policy of scientific journals is the right step on the way to further improve the quality of our peer review process."

  • The 2007 update of review articles from the Review of Particle Physics is now available online. The Particle Data Group has updated their websites and installed a new search function, but to my annoyance the back button still doesn't work.

  • Garrett Lisi has started a thread at PhysicsForums to discuss technical questions about his paper.


  1. I wonder how much JHEP pays its reviewer?

    I once got $50 reviewing a proposal for a non-profit organization, but it's perhaps the first time a science journal is paying its referees.

  2. I don't know. I don't think it would be too much. I am not sure though what to think of it. I mean, I can understand the idea that if one wants people to spend time on writing a report, they should have an incentive for it. But I am not exactly sure whether money is the right way. Yes, it might result in fast and efficiently provided reports, which would certainly be an improvement over many experiences I've had. But I don't know whether it would increase the quality of the reports. I keep thinking it would be better if one could somehow quantify the 'community service' one does with writing reports. I mean, I keep telling myself the authors appreciate the effort. But then I receive exactly the same paper two months later from another journal, the authors have apparently ignored every reason for the previous rejection, and I wonder why I waste my time with that. So occasionally I think why not just have a statistic saying: X has written N referee reports for papers that got cited M times. Should be doable to provide that in a way confidentiality is okay. I'm not much a fan of the cite or other indices, but if people like handy numbers that rate their efforts, why not do it that way? Best,



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