Wolfgang Thomas recently pointed out to me a new Elsevier journal by the name of Computer Science Review. The aim of this journal is to publish research surveys and expository overviews in computer science and related fields. The reviews are aimed at a general computer science audience.
I was not aware of this new Elsevier journal, and my feeling is that its aim overlaps somewhat with that of the columns in the Bulletin of the EATCS. As one of the column editors, so far I have been extremely impressed by the willingness of the members of the concurrency theory community to contribute to the Bulletin. However, when I read at http://www.elsevier.com/wps
"Submissions are free of charge and recognizing the work involved in preparing a review article, Elsevier will pay authors for their contributions to Computer Science Review. This amount will be Euro 400 per accepted article for the authors; provided the article meets minimum length requirements (at least 20 typeset pages, preferably more). Book reviewers will be paid for comprehensive book review contributions - EUR 15 per typeset page, to a maximum of EUR 100." (The emphasis is mine.)
I cannot help but being worried about the future of the columns. Paying authors for their contributions to a journal is a remarkable development, and can even be seen as unfair competition :-) Sure, we are not talking about large sums of money, but I am not aware myself of any other journal in computer science that pays its contributors. Do you know of any journal that does so?
I wonder whether this move by Elsevier heralds a new era in which commercial publishers will reward authors, editors and referees financially. I am not sure that this would be a positive development myself. (Only once so far I have been "paid" for a journal review, and was very surprised when the cognizant editor offered to pay me. I received a 50-euro book voucher for reviewing a paper that had been awaiting a referee report for about three years and that, for some reason that I cannot understand yet, nobody wanted to evaluate.)
As Moshe Vardi often says, our currency is reputation, not money. Call me an idealist, but I'd like to keep things this way.
Comments on the issue of payment for journal papers, review articles and book reviews are most welcome. I'd really love to hear what you think about this new development.