Thoughts from readers? Signed comments strongly preferred.
The other day I had to decline another refereeing request from a journal where I earlier published, citing "being too busy." Then I felt some pangs of conscience. But I wonder if I should feel that way. Some of us referee a lot of papers, others very few, others not at all. Is there a minimal number N of submissions one should feel obligated to referee for a journal (i) where one published, and (ii) where one's own submission was rejected? I think in the second case the answer is clearly N=2 (assuming the journal sends all submissions to two referees). What about (i)? Suppose this is a top journal that rejects 19 submissions out of 20. Its editors may be disinclined to approach many or most authors of rejected submissions for refereeing. Of course the editors could approach any number of other people who have never published in or submitted to their journal. But it seems fair that the authors of published papers could be morally expected to do more work than others. How much? I would say that refereeing five submissions would probably fulfill one's moral obligations in such a case, and refereeing ten would be supererogation. But I'd be curious to know what others think.