Supplementary written evidence submitted
by the Joint Information Systems Committee (PR 77a)|
At the request of the Committee, this supplementary
evidence addresses the following question:
"In the 2010 JISC report it was estimated
that HEIs spend (in terms of staff time) £110-165 million
per year on peer review. How was this estimate calculated? Was
the cost of the expert feedback and advice that researchers currently
get on their work factored in?"
The answer to the second question is "yes".
The estimate of the costs (in terms of staff time) was calculated
by a review
of the following three studies, each of which in turn draws substantially
from the wider literature.
1. Peer review in scholarly journals (PRC).
This report surveyed the attitudes and behaviour of 3,040 academics
around the world in relation to peer review in journals. Around
10% of those worked in UK HEIs. The report does not attempt to
calculate the cost of peer review, but gives enough information
to make an extrapolation using data from other studies. Using
data from this study combined with baseline information from others
suggests a possible range from £158,251,968 to £204,906,155.
However, the figure of 5.6 hours to review each paper (derived
from the survey) covers countries other than the UK (USA, Canada,
Australia and New Zealand). A revised UK-only figure of 3.9 hours
was derived from the same raw dataset by Cambridge Economic Policy
Associates in their study for RIN (see (2) below). Recalculation
using this figure would suggest a range of £142,702,501 to
2. Activities, costs and funding flows in
the scholarly communications system in the UK (RIN)
estimated the costs of peer review at £165 million. The following
factors and assumptions were used in the calculations:
(a) Global peer review costs are £1.9 billion.
(b) The UK accounts for 8.7% of global peer review
(c) Each article takes each reviewer four hours
(d) 2.5 reviewers per article average.
(e) Average global hourly rate £40.40.
(f) 7.1% of all published articles are published
in the UK.
(g) Peer review accounts for 23% of global publishing
and distribution costs.
(h) This figure does not distinguish between
reviewers in HEIs and other organisations, so may overstate the
3. Economic implications of alternative scholarly
publishing models: Exploring the costs and benefits (JISC)
estimates the cost of peer review for journals carried out in
UK universities in 2007 at £140 million; review of other
types of content (books, chapters and conference proceedings)
cost a further £40 million. The following factors and assumptions
were used in the calculations:
(a) The number of papers reviewed in UK HEIs
will be proportionate to the number published in UK HEIs, taking
into account rejection and resubmission rates.
(b) 50% of submitted papers are rejected (20%
of total are rejected without review and 30% after review).
(c) 75% of the rejected are re-submitted and/or
(d) Each paper will be reviewed by an average
of 2.5 reviewers.
(e) Each reviewer takes 4.5 hours over each paper.
(f) The total cost of each hour to the HEI was
£56.00 in 2007.
(g) This would lead to a figure of around 216,000
papers being reviewed in UK HEIs, taking 2.5 million person-hours.
In addition to the cost of peer review, the cost
of editorial work was also assessed, based on figures from the
JISC (Houghton) report. The JISC report estimated these costs
to be £61.075 million per year, based on the assumption of
participation by 24% of UK academic researchers in editorial boards,
with 8% performing roles as editors, with editors spending between
10 and 30 days per year (average 20) carrying out these tasks,
and editorial board members spending between half and one day
(average three-quarters). The JISC Collections review discounted
the total cost by 50% to account for payments made to editors.
This is seen as a very conservative position; the discount should
probably be less, and thus the total cost to HE nearer the £61
Dr Malcolm Read OBE
Joint Information Systems Committee
37 The value of UK HEIs contribution to the publishing
process: Summary report. Hugh Look, Sue Sparks, Rightscom Ltd
for JISC Collections (2010): http://www.jisc-collections.ac.uk/Reports/valueofukhe/ Back
Peer review in scholarly journals: Perspective of the scholarly
community: an international study. Mark Ware Consulting &
Mark MonkmanMedia for the Publishing Research Consortium (2007):
Activities, costs and funding flows in the scholarly communications
system in the UK. Cambridge Economic Policy Associates for the
Research Information Network (2008):
Economic implications of alternative scholarly publishing models:
Exploring the costs and benefits:
John Houghton, et al for JISC (2009):