Why do we do peer-review for free?

A young and talented colleague of mine was recently very happy to receive his first review assignment.

We all felt that nice palpitation when our 'expertise in the field' miraculously got recognized... This sudden power of anonymously judging if a paper is suitable for publication certainly was enjoyable...

Until the date the review needs to be sent. Inevitably, the review task generates some stress at work, and gets on top of the pile of tasks to do.

We end up spending a significant amount of time and effort for making an exhaustive list of criticisms ... rather than simply judging if the paper is suitable as it is for this journal. I'm very much in favor of making the review process public... But this is not the point I want to make here.

Most of the time, we are taking working or free hours to give a service 'to the community'.

The main beneficiaries of this service are the publishers or societies behind the journals since they employ hundreds of people without paying them any salary.

Besides, most of the publishers/societies are organizing conferences where our employers and funding agencies pay huge registration fees.

If I am not asking to get a salary for my review tasks, I believe this work would deserve some advantages.

Why not offering to the reviewers a free subscription to the journal for one year? Six months? The time to write the review?

Why not offering reduced registration fees to the conferences organized by the same organization?

I don't mind doing things voluntarily ... But not for people who converted access to knowledge into a profitable business for themselves only, without remunerating authors and reviewers properly.