Mark Patterson writes in Bringing Peer Review Out of the Shadows:
Hauser and Fehr propose a system for holding late reviewers to account by penalizing them when it’s their turn to be an author. A slow reviewer’s paper would be “held in editorial limbo” for a length of time that reflects their own tardiness as a reviewer. The short article was intended to provoke a discussion about how to improve peer review – an opening card as Hauser and Fehr put it.
So far, 16 responses have been added from readers, and the general view seems to be that incentives would be more effective than the punishment that Hauser and Fehr propose. As for an incentive, quite a number of respondents favour a system whereby reviewers are paid for their efforts – although not to a level that would fully reimburse the time spent.
As an editor, I’ve been privileged to be party to some incredibly thoughtful and constructive discussions between authors and reviewers. It’s not always that way of course, but when it works, it’s fantastic. I’ve often felt that it’s a pity that these exchanges haven’t been shared more broadly, and as pointed out by others in the discussion, there are many who feel that greater transparency in peer review is the way to go – pre- and post-publication.
The formula for more transparent peer review might not be perfect yet, but there is great potential and further experimentation is a must. Ultimately, improving the peer review process will take the same kind of thoughtful and constructive discussions that help researchers identify the extra step that will maximize the significance of their results. We invite you to join in that discussion.
Please go there and add your thoughts!