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08/04/2015

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recent grad

Journals run by the same company--e.g. Spring or Wiley--could share their ratings. So being a bad reviewer for Journal A could not only bar one from submitting to A, but also to an associated journal B.

A few additions:

1) Give bans--or whatever the stick--an expiration date. This not only seems just, but it allows a journal to implement another policy which would help start the system of carrots and sticks:

2) Apply the bans and benefits retroactively, where possible. For example, pay some grad student a few bucks to find all the late reviews over the past two years. Then apply the relevant policy.

Aaron Thomas-Bolduc

There is one glaring problem with your "carrot" suggestion, it seems to me. The problem is that your suggestion has the potential to delay reviews for those who need to publish most. Graduate students need to publish to have a good chance on the job market, but are less likely to be asked to review papers, especially for top journals, and thus won't be `good reviewers'. It then looks as if grad students and early career philosophers without much reviewing experience are more likely to get reviewers who take too long. Long review times are arguably more harmful to such philosophers than those with tenure, as review times may impact their career prospects. This will be especially problematic for those (like me) in graduate programs with quick turnaround times---waiting a year for a review of a paper submitted in year 3 of your program will be less of an issue if you have 4 years left as opposed to one.

That said, I agree with the general carrot and stick framework, just not you're particular suggestions.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Aaron: That's a fair point, and something I thought of, too. My initial thought in reply is that the combination of carrots and sticks I'm suggesting might likely to improve reviewing on the whole so that--compared to the status quo--*everyone* benefits, including grad students. Yes, it might benefit some more than others (namely, those who are good reviewers)--but, for all that, if it incentivizes good reviewing, then everyone might be more likely to enjoy better turnaround times, more constructive comments, etc.

Indeed, I think it's important not to merely evaluate proposals in the abstract, but rather always do so comparatively--comparing alternatives to the actual baseline one starts with. After all, the fact that my proposal may not be perfect is, in itself, no reason to think it would be worse than the status quo. The status quo, after all, is pretty horrible: long turnaround times, bad reviewers, etc!

In any case, since you like the carrot/stick idea but disagree with my suggestions, do you have any thoughts on potentially better alternatives?

Aaron Thomas-Bolduc

Hi Marcus, You're right that it would probably be better than the status quo. I don't have any ideas as far as incentives go, though one simple fix might be to start off new submitters/reviewers in the `good' colomn. This might require a more fine-grained rating system in the long run, but that would probably be a good thing.

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