Saturday, February 12, 2011

Will reputation and crowd sourcing facilitate alternative forms of peer review?

That's the question raised in a (gated) article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about a proposal to publish papers online, and then have them subject to comment: 'Facebook of Science' Seeks to Reshape Peer Review

"Mr. Tracz plans to turn his latest Internet experiment, a large network of leading scientists called the Faculty of 1000, into what some call "the Facebook of science" and a force that will change the nature of peer review. His vision is to transform papers from one-shot events owned by publishers into evolving discussions among those researchers, authors, and readers.
"The core function of F1000 is to allow members to highlight any newly published paper that they consider interesting and give it a points rating of six (recommended), eight (must read), or 10 (exceptional). Many members give network access to a junior colleague who helps them rate publications.

"Members say in a sentence or two why they find the paper interesting. Readers then are able to attach their own comments to the F1000 site. (Authors can appeal comments they consider unreasonable.)
"For Mr. Tracz, this objective leads inevitably back to the more grandiose goal of upending the existing publishing system. "There are two big issues, for science and for publishing," he says. "One is peer review, and one is the publishing of data." While many researchers and publishers consider prepublication peer review to be, at worst, a necessary evil, Mr. Tracz is scathing about its weaknesses. "Except for a tiny little part at the top, where it is done seriously, peer review has become a joke. It is not done properly, it delays publication unnecessarily, it is open to abuse, and is being abused. It is seriously sick, and it has been for a while."

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