Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Find: Do we need an alternative to peer-reviewed journals?

Interesting ideas. Problematic as it is, I don't think the problem is peer review: it doesn't cost, and it does ensure at least minimal quality. The problem is access, and that is a function of the publishing model. It will be hard to change the model until we can change the crowd effect of where researchers read and 

Do we need an alternative to peer-reviewed journals?

The past week has seen rather lively discussion about the scientific publishing industry and peer review. Peter Murray-Rust has produced a series of posts about his issues with the process (start here then work your way forward), Joe Pickrell described his problems with peer-reviewed journals at Genomes Unzipped, and Stuart Lyman has a letter to the editor in Nature Biotechnology (subscription required). (It's also a topic that we've considered in the past.) As Wired's Dan MacArthur put it, "it is a source of constant wonder to me that so many scientists have come to regard a system [the existing publication process] that actively inhibits the rapid, free exchange of scientific information as an indispensable component of the scientific process." So what's the problem, and what should (or can) we do about it?

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