academic paper reviews

I often get invitation to review for papers, and although I have some misgivings about the academic publication process in my field, I feel some obligation to help out with the system anyway (since I haven't managed to create something better).

However, now I'm thinking I may want to stop reviewing papers for a different reason, which is that when I read papers to review them, I read interesting ideas that I'm not allowed to tell anyone about, or presumably incorporate into my own problem solving repertoire.

Usually I'm pretty good about not telling people about these ideas until they are published (assuming they get published), but just today, I had the experience of one of these ideas finding its way into my research, i.e., I have a problem, and the solution that I'm thinking about is influenced by a paper that I reviewed for a conference, and now I'm not sure what to do. Should I not implement the solution? This seems ridiculous. I feel like I would come up with some solution on my own, but it's impossible now to know what that solution would have been.

The process of trying to assign credit for ideas is a hinderance. Ideas should be absolutely free in every sense. Ugg.. I hate this so much.

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