A letter I wrote explaining why I declined to review a manuscript for PLOS One:
Dear PLOS One,
I am sorry, but 10 days is an unreasonable turn around time to request a peer reviewer. I prefer to focus my peer review activities toward journals that outwardly promote work-life balance and value the peer reviewers’ busy schedules. I realise PLOS one is a large journal so I would ask that these comments not be taken personally, but perhaps be passed along to someone who might be able to effect change. Let PLOS One set an example by returning to the halcyon days of a 3 week turn around request time for reviews and providing reviewers with compensation for their time! I know that won’t happen, but if reviewers don’t explain their reasons for declining to review, how will journals change their practises. As a fee based journal, this is something that could potentially be structured into the publication costs.
This evoked an immediate and sympathetic response from the editor, and as a result I think it only fair that I agree to review the manuscript now. I guess I cannot really be unreasonable to the scientific editor or the authors. Now if we can only convince the journals to stop obsessing over rapid turnaround times, and recognise that volunteers are what keep their machines running.