A news article in the upcoming edition of Nature highlights a new kid on the block in the battle for the publishing system of the future – it’s called Rubriq, a company that wants to “outsource” the review process from the normal publication process. Very similar to what Peerage of Science provides, but as a
commercial author-pays model. The article reports that
Charging authors an estimated US$500–700 for its service, the firm plans to offer a standard-format anonymized review, and is currently testing its concept with publishers including Public Library of Science (PLoS), Karger, F1000Research and Wiley, as well as more than 500 reviewers.
Of that money, $100 each will go to the reviewers, the rest is used for administration (and profits, I suppose).
I don’t really know how I feel about “commercializing” the review process (Peerage of Science might ADD: or might not, see comments be a better model in that respect), but I do think it makes a lot of sense to dissect the review process from the journals themselves. Multiple review rounds have become the norm rather than the exception, leading to an immense waste of time in the current system. Plus, paying for the review might even have the positive side effect that reviewers and the review editors feel more strongly obliged to deliver quality, I would imagine that authors won’t be happy to pay $500 to receive sloppy or factually wrong reviews. I wonder if you can submit a new version if you don’t like your review …
Still, it remains to be see whether editors and publishers accept the new service – the article cites a source as saying that
journal editors who were wedded to their own peer-review standards “seemed more likely to use one another’s toothbrushes than their review formats”