Should journals offer a “no revisions” option to authors?

This is novel: the journal Economic Inquiry offers submitting authors a “no revisions” option. If an author chooses this option (and it is merely an option), the paper will be sent to referees, who are asked only whether it would be better for the journal to accept or reject the paper, and why. The editor’s decision is to either accept as is, or reject; no inviting a revision. See The Monkey Cage for discussion.

Would you want to see ecology journals offer this option? I find it intriguing. It would surely offer authors an incentive to really polish the ms before submitting it. And it might be a bit easier to find reviewers for such papers, as the reviewers wouldn’t have to write detailed comments or suggest revisions. And any authors who didn’t like it could simply choose to do things the usual way. Is there any downside to offering a “no revisions” option? And if this option was available, would many authors take it up?

5 thoughts on “Should journals offer a “no revisions” option to authors?

  1. Well its a thought. From the authors perspective, its a plus, since it might do well to have it sent to referees who might already know you or your work, thus saving the time that’s required for revisions and improvements. From the reviewers point of view, it might save time (another plus). But I think there’s a downside to it. As far as I see it, there is a greater scope for mistakes that get overlooked. Besides the whole idea of having a ms peer-reviewed is to get independent perspectives on an idea, have the whole article viewed with a fresh eye and check for any apparent flaws. When you have a single author or a group of people working on a certain idea constantly, some very obvious mistakes can get overlooked. A reviewers fresh eye usually smoothens out the creases.
    As I see it, the “no review” option is likely to create space for constant rebuttals and comments, taking up just as much time saved by choosing “no reviews” (although I also suspect, authors might use the option quite often. The onus of publishing good content will, ultimately, be on the authors)

    • Good point. Presumably the onus would be on the reviewers to be careful and to recommend rejection if they found any errors. An author choosing “no revisions” can’t be an excuse for referees to be less careful.

  2. There seems to be a lot of discussion lately about how the review process is slowing down science, but from my perspective, the thoughtful comments that I get during the traditional peer-review process always strengthen a manuscript. Perhaps it’s a bit arrogant to assume that your manuscript wouldn’t benefit from careful reading by an expert in the field.

    • Yes, as frustrated as I sometimes get with peer review, I usually find the feedback makes the paper much better. And I don’t care about speed as much as some other folks. So I couldn’t see myself ever choosing a “no revision” option except in unusual circumstances (e.g., the paper’s already been rejected and revised multiple times, so I feel like it’s already benefited as much from the review process as it ever will).

  3. Pingback: The Paper That Ecology Rejected That Later Won the Mercer Award | Dynamic Ecology

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