Simon Springer et al (2017). Say ‘Yes!’ to peer review: Open Access publishing and the
need for mutual aid in academia. Fennia 195: 2, pp. xx–xx. ISSN 1798-5617 [pdf, or scroll down list of forthcoming papers]
Scholars are increasingly declining to offer their services in the peer review process. There are myriad reasons for this refusal, most notably the ever-increasing pressure placed on academics to publish within the neoliberal university. Yet if you are publishing yourself then you necessarily expect someone else to review your work, which begs the question as to why this service is not being reciprocated. There is something to be said about withholding one’s labour when journals are under corporate control, but when it comes to Open Access journals such denial is effectively unacceptable. Make time for it, as others have made time for you. As editors of the independent, Open Access, non-corporate journal ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, we reflect on the struggles facing our daily operations, where scholars declining to participate in peer review is the biggest obstacle we face. We argue that peer review should be considered as a form of mutual aid, which is rooted in an ethics of cooperation. The system only works if you say ‘Yes’!
I made similar arguments – though for a (then) not-for-much-profit journal, rather than an open access one – a decade ago: The Exchange Economy of Peer Review, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 2008, 26.6, 911-3.