IJSSH 2011 Vol.1(3): 205-215 ISSN: 2010-3646
DOI: 10.7763/IJSSH.2011.V1.36

An Analysis of the Ethics of Peer Review and Other Traditional Academic Publishing Practices

Valentine Cawley
Abstract—Peer review is not what the casual observer thinks it is. In fact, peer review is a deeply troubled process fraught with ethical challenges. This has significant implications for the progress of science. This paper asks the question, of whether peer review is unethical. The matter is analyzed logically and explained with examples. Peer review is found to be intrinsically and structurally unethical, as presently implemented. All the major ethical failings of peer review are identified. Furthermore, other ethical concerns are examined, including the transfer of copyright to publishers, pricing policies and the question of permanence, of a journal. A set of principles is proposed, on how to construct an ethical peer review system, for journals. An ideal, ethical journal is outlined, as an exemplar, that addresses all issues raised. It is hoped that this ethical peer review and journal structure will be implemented, for it promises to speed the advance of science and ensure ready access to human knowledge, for all.

Index Terms—Academic publishers, copyright transfer, ethics, peer review.

Valentine Cawley is with Department of Psychology, HELP University, Level 8, Wisma HELP, Jalan Dunggun, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur, 50490. (Email: the.cawleys@gmail.com)

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Cite: Valentine Cawley, "An Analysis of the Ethics of Peer Review and Other Traditional Academic Publishing Practices.," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 205-215, 2011.
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