Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 471, Issue 10, pp 3093–3097 | Cite as

Free for Service: The Inadequate Incentives for Quality Peer Review

  • Joseph BernsteinEmail author
Not the Last Word

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money,” Samuel Johnson said. On the other hand, according to the Thomson Reuters’ Journal Citation Reports®, journals published a total of 11,291 orthopaedic articles in 2010, and most of the authors, we can safely assume, were neither blockheads nor paid for the piece.

Was Johnson wrong? Not necessarily. One could make the argument that authors were paid indirectly. Publication can lead to grant support or prompt a bonus from an academic department. Beyond that, there are nonpecuniary rewards, such as recognition in the media or, more valuably, earning the esteem of one’s colleagues.

Even with those examples in mind, Johnson’s larger point — that writing requires incentives — still holds true. Therefore, it is reasonable to ask whether the incentives for academic writing are calibrated correctly. If the rewards are too meager, we face a deficit. If the rewards are too great, excesses abound.

There are data to suggest a surplus of academic...


Continue Medical Education Journal Citation Report Peer Review Process Open Access Journal Academic Writing 
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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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