I wanted to get a feel for how burdensome peer-review is in my field, biology. In a thoroughly non-scientific study, I asked a dozen biology professors about their peer-review burden, trying to get a good cross section of people at different stages of their careers and at different types of institutions. The vast majority told me they review around 1-3 papers each month.
That’s a wide range, but I was still a little surprised. I checked the amount of reviewing I had done since starting my current gig, and included both journal articles and federal grant proposals that I had reviewed. I didn’t include textbook chapters I’ve reviewed, since I am asked to do those by publishers rather than fellow scientists.
That little line underneath the “average” is the number I’ve reviewed. I can’t remember refusing to do a review, so it’s not as though I’m being selective. I did decline to reviewing a revision, but just once.
I suppose many would consider me lucky that I have such a light reviewing load. But I am am having a bit of Rudolph syndrome, wondering why I’m not getting asked to join in the reindeer games.
I wonder if the amount that people are asked to review varies systematically. Do faculty at some institutions get asked more than others? Does the average load vary across disciplines? Is anyone trying to compile a dataset on this?