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This question already has an answer here:

Following up with this question Has there ever been a strike of peer reviewers? and this Why don't researchers request payment for refereeing?

I understand that peer reviewing probably started when there were relatively fewer article submissions than today and when the academic system was going at a slower pace and was less cluttered with people.

But given how the system has evolved, I am wondering why do employers let their employee work for free for the monetary benefit of a third party? As far I as know no employer pays its employees to make someone else rich. It seems against any economics principle. Wouldn't it be more efficient to pay reviewers so they would be more motivated, quicker to review, and universities/grants/governments would not pay someone to work for free for the economic benefit of someone else? This might also offset the cost of salary of professors. Any economic return to the employer seems very low considering the working hours devoted to reviewing.

marked as duplicate by Ander Biguri, gerrit, iayork, Florian D'Souza, David Ketcheson Feb 6 '18 at 19:55

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    @Mark The publishers are poor — citation needed – Orion Feb 6 '18 at 10:44
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    This is a very legit and interesting question: one reason why many journals have poor papers is exactly because they don't pay reviewers (namely, most reviewers in those case are PhD/PostDocs who have little to no understanding of what they're doing). Science would benefit a lot by introducing a more professional way of quality measures. – gented Feb 6 '18 at 13:55
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    This is the answer. Academics are generally OK with doing it for free, its a peer process, and you expect others to do it too. Its a quid pro quo. The bad part is that someone else is gaining a lot of money from this, not that researchers are not getting paid. – Ander Biguri Feb 6 '18 at 13:59
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    @AnderBiguri I have changed the question and I think it's not a duplicate anymore. – Herman Toothrot Feb 7 '18 at 9:15
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    @AnderBiguri: "The answer doesn't change though." - I disagree, because "Its a peer process that is fundamental to the way science works, and you do it for the other person" is in direct contradiction to the (basically true, although it does IMHO not necessarily apply to universities in particular) OP's statement: "As far I as know no employer pays its employees to make someone else rich." – O. R. Mapper Feb 7 '18 at 15:32