The Open University's Martin Weller looks at the Peer Review Survey 2009's numbers on free participation by UK academics in the peer review process for commercial science journals and concludes that 10.4m hours spent on this amounts to a £209,976,000 subsidy from publicly funded universities to private, for-profit journals, who then charge small fortunes to the same institutions for access to the journals. And so:
Now that efficiency and return on investment are the new drivers for research, the question should be asked whether this is the best way to 'spend' this money? I'd suggest that if we are continuing with peer review (and its efficacy is a separate argument), then the least we should expect is that the outputs of this tax-payer funded activity should be freely available to all.
And so, my small step in this was to reply to the requests for reviews stating that I have a policy of only reviewing for open access journals. I'm sure a lot of people do this as a matter of course, but it's worth logging every blow in the revolution
The return on peer review
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