Feb 7, 2012

The future of peer review?

Richard Price describes the "traditional" peer review process: It is . . . 
  • expensive: $8 billion a year is spent on subscriptions to journals, which is money that could be spent on more research.
  • slow: the Two Person review process takes about 6 months to 2 years to complete, sometimes more.
  • of questionable quality: the two people who are selected as peer reviewers may be biased against the paper, or unqualified, or just in a bad mood, when reviewing it.
  • unchanging: the judgement is fixed, and doesn’t change as the impact of the paper changes
  • a lot of work for the reviewers: it takes a lot of time to review a paper, and the review is not published, so reviewer doesn’t receive credit for their work.
And he is optimistic about an instant-distribution model that the web allows:
The prospect of instant distribution of research is tremendously exciting. If you can tap the global brain of your research community in effectively close to real time, as opposed to waiting 6 months to 24 months to distribute your ideas, there could be a wonderful acceleration in the rate of idea generation. 
The web has shown that you can take out this 6 month to 24 month distribution delay, which occurs when research is undergoing the Two Person peer review process, and see high quality filtering of content done by new peer review mechanisms, Crowd Review and Social Review, which are faster, cheaper, and more personalized. 
The web is also an incredible place for new ideas to be invented and to take hold. No doubt new peer review mechanisms will emerge in the future that will advance beyond Crowd Review and Social Review.
HT: Moris Polanco. 

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