Last week @TrevonDLogan proposed that editors commit to up-or-down decisions after one round of reviews. This would definitely speed up the publishing process by curtailing the time involved in multiple rounds of review.
A new idea that could save us in publishing in Econ (and social science in general):
Journals could adopt a strict “no additional referee reports” policy.
— Trevon D Logan (@TrevonDLogan) March 9, 2018
My proposal piggyback’s this idea, but it attacks a different cause of the publication delay.
Because reviewers are unpaid, the task almost always goes to the bottom of their to-do list. I am the worst. Generally, an article review doesn’t even get on my to-do list until the editor has nudged me twice. I know, I’m a terrible person.
Get incentives aligned and grease the wheels with money.
- Charge a submission fee of $900 for each manuscript
- Pay three reviewers $300 each for submitting a well considered review within 14 days
- If the review is late, no $300
- Perhaps refund the $300 to the author since the premise of the submission fee is a quick review
Problem solved. Aggregate costs are zero, since everyone who submits a paper need only review three articles to make up the submission fee, which they are currently expected to do for free anyway.
I think this is enough money to get an article review onto most professor’s to-do list.
The biggest hurdle is what to do about brand new assistant professors who don’t usually have a lot of money but will have 3 papers to submit within the first year. In this case, departments have a couple of options. If the new professor has a start-up package, they could use these funds. If they don’t, the department could pay the submission fee, to be paid back by the professor after they do three reviews