Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Academic peer-review moves online

"Get Wiki With It; Peer review – the unsung hero and convenient villain of science – gets an online makeover."

This interesting article in the current issue of Wired discusses a few recent examples of online peer-review for academic articles (article gets posted online and opened to comments from anyone) that differ from the traditional peer-review model (article gets sent out to review by a handful of peers).

The article points to a few examples of online peer review:
  1. Nature is currently experimenting with online review.
  2. arXiv (x = chi, thus archive) hosted by Cornell University Library, allows "Open access to 383,063 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Quantitative Biology" and includes a nice statement of rationale.
  3. Biology Direct, which according to Wired, "publishes any article for which the author can find three members of its editorial board to write reviews." [Biology Direct's self-description.]
  4. PLoS ONE which describes itself as an "inclusive, peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the Public Library of Science"
As an example, the article states that in the Nature experiment, "While the work goes through the usual peer review drill, a preprint version gets posted on the Web. Anyone – even you – can comment, as long as you attach your name, affiliation, and email address."

The Wired article does a decent job glossing a few of the pros and cons of each model, including some interesting related issues ("Nature is an elite journal that accepts few submissions, a kind of exclusivity that lets universities use publication as a proxy for worth in hiring and promotion decisions"). But Nature's examination of the issues is more thorough.

No comments: