Monica Aniela Zaharie (Babeş-Bolyai Universit) and Marco Seeber (Ghent University) have published a new article entitled “Are non-monetary rewards effective in attracting peer reviewers? A natural experiment” in Scientometrics. This article is the result of their collaboration in PEERE.
Abstract. Editors of scientific journals meet increasing challenges to find peer reviewers. Rewarding reviewers has been proposed as a solution to incentives peer review, and journals have already started to offer different kinds of rewards, particularly non-monetary ones. However, research so far has mainly explored the efficacy of monetary rewards, while research on non-monetary rewards is barely absent. The goal of this article is to fill this gap by exploring whether and under what conditions a rather common non-monetary reward employed by journals, i.e., to recognize reviewers work by publishing their names on a yearly issue, is effective in increasing the willingness of scientists to become peer reviewers. We test the efficacy of three different reward settings identified in the literature: (1) engagement contingent, (2) task-completion contingent, and (3) performance contingent, through a natural experiment involving 1865 scientists in faculties of business and economics of Romanian universities. We explore whether reward efficacy varies across scientists depending on their gender, academic rank, research productivity, and type of institution to which they are affiliated. The results show that the performance contingency strongly reduces the number of respondents willing to become reviewers (− 60 % compared to a no-reward setting), particularly males and research productive scientists. Scientists affiliated with private universities are strongly discouraged by the reward. In sum, the results suggest that non-monetary rewards are not necessarily effective, as in some cases they may actually discourage the most intrinsically motivated and competent reviewers. Here is the article.