Is there a referee crisis in ecology?

Submitted by drupaladmin on 5 January 2012.

Dear Oikos and Nordic folks,

Thank you so much for your feedback on the editorial 'Money for nothing and referees for free' published in Ideas in Ecology and Evolution in December. The most compelling and common question I was asked was is there a referee crisis in ecology (or tragedy of the 'reviewers common' as Hochberg et al. proposed). This is an excellent question. I propose that whilst there are more perfect ways to test this (total up # of submissions and then estimate total pool of referees, tricky), an interesting indicator would instead to be calculate the decline to review rate (d2rr) in ecology. I envision the following two primary data streams to calculate this rate: a per capita estimate derived from each of us personally and a mean estimate of rate from the publishing portals (journals). Hence, let's do it. Only you know your decline to (accept doing a) review rate across all requests whilst journals track their own net rates and your specific rate with them too.

So, please take 30 seconds and fill in this short survey, and we can then assess to an extent whether there is a referee crisis in ecology.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VD3K36W

I have also compiled a long list of emails for every editor I could find for all ecology journals and have contacted them to see if they would share the rate at which individuals decline for each of them, i.e. do they have to ask 5 or 6 people to even secure two reviews? I will not share the journal names etc. and protect their rates as I recognize the implications. I would just like to know what our overall mean is from a journal perspective too.

Thanks so much for your time and help with these discussions. I hope you think they are important too, but I also want to assure you that this is my penultimate post on the subject.

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