What Do Writers Gain By Refereeing

Commentators suggest that writers gain three things by refereeing:

1 they feel accepted as part of the scholarly community;

2 they have to take a stand and decide what is and what is not acceptable in publications in their discipline; and

3 they see the level of quality demanded of other authors and learn to apply it to their own work.

Refereeing a paper conscientiously is time-consuming but worthwhile. It may take several hours to do it properly. Many authors acknowledge the contribution of referees to their publications, and some studies have shown that papers revised after refereeing are judged to be of higher quality than were their original versions (Godlee and Jefferson, 2003; Weller, 2001). Refereeing is thus part of quality control in the publication process. As Weller (2001) says, 'editorial peer review is messy and does not always work as it should' (p. 322). Nonetheless, it is probably better to read a refereed paper than the original submission. Making the original submission better is where referees come in.

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