Predictably, it’s more popular among scientists than among publishers. In any event,
Despite the calls for change from Gusterson and others, it’s not clear that many academics support payments for peer reviewers either. In 2018, Publons, a site that enables researchers to track their publications and other activities in online profiles, conducted a survey of more than 15,000 researchers in the social and natural sciences and engineering, and found that a little more than 17 percent selected “cash or in-kind payments from journals” as a factor that would make them more likely to accept review requests. “Discounts on publisher’s products or services” was a factor for even fewer of the respondents, just 4.5 percent, while 11.6 percent selected “personal access to journal content.” (Each respondent could choose up to two factors.) In a separate question about respondents’ reasons for serving as peer reviewers, the most popular answer was: “It is part of my job as a researcher,” followed by “I want to do my fair share/reciprocate for reviews of my work,” then “To keep up to date on the latest research trends in my field,” and “To ensure the quality and integrity of research published in my field.”Shawna Williams, “Scientists, Publishers Debate Paychecks for Peer Reviewers” at The Scientist
Payment would change the landscape in a number of ways. Reviewing would become less of an imposition and more of a job. Whether it would become fairer is unclear but it might become a lot faster. Many might be glad for that.