The recent literature about peer review of scholarly articles is reviewed, with particular emphasis on the cost of the peer-review process. Possible impacts of electronic scholarly publishing upon peer reviewing are discussed. Opinion amongst academics in their roles as authors, editors and referees seems likely to insist upon preservation of a prepublicationrefereeing system in most disciplines. As the administration of any such system seems to have a cost of about $400 per published article, any scholarly publishing system will need to locate financial support to at least that extent, and a system of lump-sum payment by the authors’ funders is best placed to cover this cost while providing universal free access to scholarly material.