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Reviewing an article in your field is an interesting and rewarding experience. Any scientist has, of course, a moral obligation for reviewing other people's work just like he has his/her own work reviewed.

That being said, it's a very time consuming process and it would be nice if you could get some credit for it. Back in ye olde days of print journals, the editorial board and associate editors would be listed in the front pages so that was a form of credit. Nowadays however, with articles being accessed individually online, the editorial board gets much less, if any exposure.

Should the editorial board/associate editors be listed alongside the authors in an article or is that not necessary? If the editors/reviewers are listed alongside the authors then this would create the problem of revealing the reviewers to the authors, in an otherwise blind review.

  • 3
    There are some journals where each article lists the name of the handling editor. Listing the entire editorial board seems excessive, though. – Nate Eldredge Mar 3 '15 at 4:12
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Speaking as an associate editor of a journal, I'm quite happy with the credit I receive: I'm listed as part of the editorial board online, it's listed on my C.V., and I get to help make sure what's getting published in my field is up to the standards of quality I desire.

That said, some journals do list the editor and even the reviewers after publication (see, for example, the Frontiers series of journals), so at least some people definitely seem to agree with your sentiment.

  • I didn't realize that some journals don't list the handling editor; all of the journals for which I have served as an editor or deputy editor list my name with every paper I've edited. – Corvus Mar 3 '15 at 5:10
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    @Corvus I'm on the editorial board of an ACM Transactions journal: we're all listed in the masthead, but the handling editor is not listed on the paper. – jakebeal Mar 3 '15 at 5:23
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Your question asks for both editors and reviewers but goes on to focus on editors. I will thus start with editors.

As you say editors are not generally listed on electronic copies of articles. Being Editor-in-Chief of a journal, I along with the other Associate Editors, do not see any need to be visible there. The reason is that one can ask to whom the credit has meaning.

First a practical issues. For my journal, we are all listed on the journal web site. When a person chooses a journal the line-up of editors is one criteria to use, if you recognise an editor as a prominent scientist in the field, it is a good (although not fool proof) indicator that the journal is good. So from that perspective nothing is lost. I think for most this is the most important issue of seeing the editors names for most authors/readers. Finding the web site is not difficult so I am sure the names can easily be found.

As for credit, I feel I am credited enough by having the job listed in my CV. After all, apart from enjoying the work associated with the editorship, it is a good experience to show in a CV for salary discussions, science proposals etc. That is where it counts for me. I would not be much happier if my name was listed on every paper "my" journal puts out. Besides, if an author experiences I have provided a service beyond any normal editor's tasks they usually thank me in the acknowledgement but that is not something that is common (and should not be) or expected.

As for crediting reviewers is should be common courtesy to acknowledge at least very constructive reviewers, even anonymous ones (as anonymous), in the acknowledgement. Unfortunately there seems to be a tradition in some academic cultures never to do so. One possibility is also for the journal to list reviewers in a "thank you" page although that carries with it other issues.

So on the whole, for editors, I am sure most editors are quite happy the way things are (or they would find ways of changing it) and in the case of reviewers, authors could improve when it comes to acknowledging the work.

3

There are many potential ways to credit reviewers and editors. The most common way from what I've seen is acknowleding the handling editors on papers and in some cases publishing a yearly list of all reviewers that have contributed to the journal during the year.

However, note that some journals have an open review process and disclose the reviewers of papers, such as the Frontiers journal group (see e.g. this example at the bottom of the page). So to credit reviewers more directly is certainly possible, but will naturally remove the confidentiality of reviewers.

You should also look at https://www.peerageofscience.org/, which is a way of formally acknowledging good review work, as well as a way to transfer reviews and also make reviews citable and allow reviews of reviews.

2

Some journals (e.g. Neural Networks) start off each year by listing the reviewers who have reviewerd for them in the preceding year to acknowledge the work they have done. I think that is quite a nice gesture. I don't think the reviewers of a particular paper should be identifiable though as that breaks down the benefit of anonymous reviewing.

A better way for commercial publishers to thank their reviewers would be to give them one free book (of their choice) from their catalog for each year in which they review at least one paper for that publisher. ;o)

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