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  1. I will jump right in here this week, the post “Changing the model of academic publication” from Francois Massol et al. (https://rapidecology.com/2018/03/20/changing-the-model-of-academic-publication/) was really interesting and sparked a lot of conversation in many circles. I think the idea of the peer community is interesting, though I am hesitant about the aspect of “recommendations” and those recommenders serving as “gatekeepers”.

    I also think the problem expressed about editors and reviewers being overloaded is in part due to the outside force to publish as much and as often as possible, leading to a race towards “least publishable units” that clog up the system, or people rushing out incomplete papers to review. The question of reviewer compensation came up. Via the @majorrevisions Twitter we ran a poll (https://twitter.com/Major_Revisions/status/976174427372244993) and with 100 votes in, 67% think that reviewers should be paid.

    I am really on the fence about this one. I get the whole argument about “big publishing” and “follow the money” but actually trading cash to review scares me. I just feel like it’s part of our service obligation and I can foresee multiple pitfalls of trading cash for this. That said, compensating reviewers by other means should be encouraged–waivers of fees, coffee mugs, calendars, reduced meeting rates. I just think the issues are higher-order and systemic.

    Very thought-provoking piece though.

    • Regarding paying reviewers: I have to say that in the last year or two, I’ve been paid to do a few reviews (for textbook companies, and by foreign government granting agencies). Honestly, they pay much more than I would have asked for ($100-150) per review…I would have been thrilled with twenty bucks! I can’t say that those reviews were any better or worse than a review I’d normally give for a journal or NSF. I put the same amount of time and thought into them. However, where I really make an effort is in terms of timeliness. They’re paying me and asking for a fairly quick turnaround (a couple weeks), so I’ve never turned one in late. I can’t say that I have the same attitude when working for “free”.

      • Yeah, same here. There should be a clear line between peer-review, scholarly journal based stuff and other. All the other stuff, should be paid. I just feel like there is a whole mess of unintended consequences that will come from paid reviews.

    • Jeff, which aspect of “recommending” are you hesitant about? The way I understood it, the “recommenders” are pretty much editors in the classical peer-review system, but with less of a technical burden, and very simple outcome (recommend / don’t recommend).
      The word “gatekeeper” is strong, but that’s the basic idea of peer-review, right? in a world of alt- everything and fake news, it is necessary to have scientists assessing a bottom-line quality for publications. One thing is sure, many of us would love to see this develop into a publication system where silly journal-specific formatting disappears, and research&teaching institutions are not hostages of big publishing companies anymore.

  2. Further to the important issue raised in a recent post here, this old post at Dynamic Ecology compares the gender balance of recently-hired N. American tenure-track ecology faculty to the gender balance of ecology postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates: https://dynamicecology.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/newly-hired-tenure-track-n-american-asst-professors-of-ecology-are-59-women/.

    Shaw & Stanton 2012 is an excellent analysis looking at the same topic in a broad range of fields over a long period of time: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/279/1743/3736

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