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RE: Costs of peer-review (Was: May issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter)

The relevant cost is the cost per paper of each round of peer 
review (whether the result is acceptance, revision or rejection). 
The rest is just down to submission rate.

I do not for one moment believe that a system of peer review 
alone need cost more than about $200 per round of refereeing per 
paper. That is an affordable cost for authors' institutions, out 
of their windfall subscription cancellation savings (on which all 
this speculation is conditional!).

Stevan Harnad

PS I have a forthcoming paper on no-fault peer review.

On Thu, 6 May 2010, Rich Dodenhoff wrote:

> The notion that peer review is free or low cost is based on 
> misinformation.  In STM publishing, at least, editors are 
> normally paid a stipend or honorarium that can range from 
> thousands to tens of thousands of dollars (it can be even 
> higher for clinical journals).  In some cases, the editor's 
> institution gets the money, but it still has to be paid by the 
> publisher.
> Online manuscript submission and peer-review systems are not 
> cheap.  Editors, editorial boards, and reviewers expect more 
> than just getting a PDF via email.  They want to track 
> turnaround times, reviewer performance, and other statistics 
> related to the process.  Authors expect the ability to track 
> submissions from anywhere.  Online systems may be less 
> expensive to run than sending paper manuscripts back and forth 
> and tracking them with manual data entry, but the systems are 
> far from low cost.
> It takes paid staff to run the process, so you have to add 
> their salaries, rent, and overhead. Even if the work is done by 
> the editor's administrative assistant, the journal normally 
> pays for that person's time.
> We publish four journals that have "volunteer" editors and 
> editorial boards.  It's a rather bare-bones operation with 
> minimal staff who handled 2,508 submissions in 2009.  Peer 
> review for those journals for 2009 cost about $700,000.
> Richard Dodenhoff
> Journals Director
> American Society for Pharmacology
>  & Experimental Therapeutics
> 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814
> www.aspet.org