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Maslin resigns over Nature Publishing “privatizing peer review”

Open access journal “will favour well-funded labs and groups”

Maslin resigns over Nature Publishing “privatizing peer review”

Professor Mark Maslin has resigned as an editor of Scientific Reports, one of Nature Publishing Group’s (NPG’s) open-access journals.

This is in protest over NPG’s recent decision to allow authors to pay money to expedite peer review of their submitted papers.

Mark explained:  “My objections are that it sets up a two-tiered system and, instead of the best science being published in a timely fashion, it will further shift the balance to well-funded labs and groups,”

He told ScienceInsider. “Academic Publishing is going through a revolution and we should expect some bumps along the way. This was just one that I felt I could not accept.”

According to ScienceInsider, “Several companies are now making millions of dollars by privatizing peer review....For a price at some journals, authors now have the option of fast-tracking their submitted papers through an accelerated peer-review process.”

NPG is trying out Rubriq, a peer review service offered by Research Square, a company based in Durham, North Carolina. For $750 to NPG, authors are guaranteed a review within 3 weeks or their money back. A small army of editors recruits reviewers, who are paid $100 per review, based on an online “scorecard” instead of the traditional comments, questions, and suggestions.

ScienceInsider reports that NPG had defended its use of Rubriq in several tweets: “It is a small pilot to understand if this is a solution that works for authors & reviewers,” with NPG’s publishing director adding: “Needless to say, an author choosing the fast-track option is only benefiting from a quicker decision. The introduction of this service has no bearing on our editorial decision process.”

Mark is unconvinced: “Deep consideration and a well thought out review is much more important than its speed. I have had brilliant reviews which have considerably improved my papers and I really appreciated all the time taken.”



Professor Mark Maslin

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