I find myself reviewing a lot. And as I do, I keep thinking, “this must mean that lots of other people aren’t reviewing, because I review far more than 3 times the number of papers I submit.” And so, last night, when hanging out with Jenn Lena and Usher (or at least, being near him), I thought more about a solution: reviewer credits. Here’s the idea:
1.) Massively increase the cost of submitting papers (but not for grad students). So, increase the amount to something like $500.
2.) But… allow people to “pay” for submissions — or at least vast parts of them — with credits that they get for reviewing papers.
Now, this system is obviously going to have to be a little complicated. Because some people (say, those who teach a 4-4) are already over-burdened and underpaid. So some kind of accounting would have to be done to mediate this. And, there would of course be the worry that some reviews are low in quality. So you might give flexibility to an editor in how many credits are awarded to reviews — thus an incentive for quality. And you’ll need a lot of journals to buy in. But it doesn’t strike me as impossible. It’s a way of paying people to review, without really paying them.