I sat on a social science editorial board for about six years, but that was long ago. I think we did a fair and good job deciding on what should NOT be published, but it was tougher when one looked at the best submissions, and the peer reviewed comments.
I think you’ve done a great job, though in explaining the issues, which are essentially the same as “in my day”.
I think two assumptions underlie the issue: 1) that academics are in the research production business, and are already compensated via their salaries and research grants, and 2) the value researchers receive from publication outweighs the cost to the researchers.
Those, themselves, could be debated.
Is all this fair? I don’t know. Neither do I know the solution, although at least now there are more options for publications online, and a move to make research articles more accessible to the general public.
My real concern is that there seems to be a horrible drop in the quality and research standards applied to what gets published in the social sciences. E Price