Being a young researcher myself I received a comment from my colleague that some of the journals are paying reviewers for the reviewing process.

When I gave it a thought, it started to make more sense. In case of high quality, respected journal, an institution may consider itself privileged to have a reviewer of such journal and allow the reviewer to dedicate small proportion of his/her daily activities just on the reviewing process.

The reviewer being paid, has more obligations to provide thorough in depth review.

Does that hold true for some journals or is it just a myth?

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    Besides traditional journal paying reviewers, there are also few open access journals, which pay reviewers if they are able to provide a review within X days. These journals offer an optional, paid "fast-track" peer review to authors. Please note that I am referring to proper open access journals here, not those considered predatory. I am almost sure there were an experience report on this website, but I cannot find the answer yet.
    – user7112
    May 14, 2014 at 7:35
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    @dgraziotin - may I ask what do you mean by traditional journal? Payment for fast-track review seems interesting - I didn't know about that. I can see, however, this being a trend going the wrong way.
    – mjp
    May 14, 2014 at 7:46
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    The open access community likes to call traditional journals the subscription-based journals, or those that are hidden behind a paywall.
    – user7112
    May 14, 2014 at 8:32
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    Once you accept a review you are obligated to provide a thorough in depth review whether or not you are being paid.
    – StrongBad
    May 14, 2014 at 11:48
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    One alternative I've heard is to pay not in money, but in a discount or waiver for publication or subscription fees.
    – gerrit
    May 14, 2014 at 15:49

3 Answers 3


It's not a myth. There are/have been some journals that pay peer reviewers. For example:

Whether the reviewer being paid, has more obligations to provide thorough in depth review is true or not is entirely uncertain, though.

  • that is quite nice list of records busting my myth. May I ask if you know of more of those journals that are related to life sciences/medicine? Also, do you know how does the paid reviewing process relate to a full time job that such a reviewer would have?
    – mjp
    May 14, 2014 at 7:54
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    Cool, +1. I am especially intrigued by the odd 2.56 EUR from zbMATH, which just happens to be exactly 5 DM at the conversion rate used during the switchover in 1999-2002... So they apparently haven't changed this in at least 12 years. Fascinating. May 14, 2014 at 7:57
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    In most cases it's either a trivial honorarium, or a slightly higher amount related to that "fast-track" option offered by some open-access journals. A company called Rubriq is trying to make a "paid external peer review" business model work, we'll see how that works out...
    – ff524
    May 14, 2014 at 8:00
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    @ff524: zbMath is slightly different. The "review" they refer to are not pre-publication peer reviews, but post-publication summary and discussions. In particular, the reviews are not anonymous and are published. There's an analogous service in the United States by the American Mathematical Society (who gives you essentially a gift card that you can spend buying AMS publications for each review; IIRC the rate is something like 4USD per review.) May 14, 2014 at 8:21
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    @ff524: Aha, they do it by bank transfer, and it costs much more than EUR 2.56 to wire money overseas. But I didn't know about the Springer book discount either, that could be useful. May 14, 2014 at 15:06

This is not quite what you asked, but book publishers often pay reviewers to evaluate a manuscript and give their opinion on whether to publish it. I recently received $125 US for just such a review. It was less work than reviewing a typical journal article (since I wasn't asked to check technical details) but had a short deadline of just a couple of weeks.


With the advent of a huge number of online journals, requests for reviewing papers is increasing. Most eminent scientists are too busy with other more important things than reviewing someone else's papers. The end result of all this is that journals seek opinions of people who may not be really competent to provide a fair and accurate review. The other problem is that reviewing manuscripts is not considered an added merit/honor/qualification. Thus reviewing a paper for a journal has absolutely no advantage for the reviewer. The simplest solution would be that journals start paying at least a 100 dollars and up to a reviewer. I am declining to review several papers every month but if I would get extra 500 dollars for reviewing 5 papers a month, it will be an added incentive to review a MS. In other words, journals should really consider the option of paying the reviewers. They are already being paid a hefty some as publication charges and open access publishing. They can share a small part of that profit with the reviewers.

  • Welcome to Academia SE. This site follows a strict question-and-answer format and answers should address the question, which in this case is about what is done and not what should be done. I am therefore flagging your answer for deletion.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Nov 17, 2018 at 19:10

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