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Mary Golden
David M. Schultz

A survey of 310 reviewers for Monthly Weather Review addresses how much time and effort goes into the peer-review process and provides insight into how reviewers function. Using these data, the individual and collective contributions of volunteer peer reviewers to the peer-review process can be determined. Individually, respondents to the survey review an average of 2 manuscripts a year for Monthly Weather Review, 4 manuscripts a year for AMS journals, and 8 manuscripts a year in total, although some review more than 20 manuscripts a year. Each review takes an average of 9.6 h. Summing the individual contributions of the reviewers, respondents averaged 18 h yr−1 performing reviews for Monthly Weather Review, 36 h yr−1 for AMS journals, and 63 h yr−1 for all journals. The collective time that all of the reviewers put into the peer-review process for all manuscripts submitted to Monthly Weather Review for each year amounts to 362,179 h, or more than 4 years of voluntary labor valued at over $2.34 million. Nearly all respondents (95%) are comfortable with their current load, but only 30% said that they would be willing to perform more reviews. Because the number of submissions to journals has been increasing over time and is unlikely to decrease in the near future, this burden is anticipated to grow. Options for reducing the burden include using fewer reviewers per manuscript, increasing the number of unilateral decisions made by editors, and increasing the size of the reviewer pool (particularly from active retired and early-career scientists).

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