Monday, October 02, 2006

Peer Review in the Internet Age

From a story by AP science writer Alicia Chang, via ABC News:
Scientists frustrated by the iron grip that academic journals hold over their research can now pursue another path to fame by taking their research straight to the public online.

Instead of having a group of hand-picked scholars review research in secret before publication, a growing number of Internet-based journals are publishing studies with little or no scrutiny by the authors' peers. It's then up to rank-and-file researchers to debate the value of the work in cyberspace.

The Web journals are threatening to turn on its head the traditional peer-review system that for decades has been the established way to pick apart research before it's made public.

Next month, the San Francisco-based nonprofit Public Library of Science will launch its first open peer-reviewed journal called PLoS ONE, focusing on science and medicine. Like its sister publications, it will make research articles available for free online by charging authors to publish.

But unlike articles in other PLoS journals that undergo rigorous peer review, manuscripts in PLoS ONE are posted for the world to dissect after an editor gives them just a cursory look.
A PLoS ONE web page is already up.

A similar venture is also underway at


caj writes ...

Something similar to this has been going on at for quite some time, where scientific professionals can post drafts of articles before publishing them in a journal -- or choosing not to. The most famous instance is Grigori Perelman's posting of his mathematical proof of the Poincare conjecture, which he then never published in a peer-reviewed journal. This has posed a special problem for the Clay Institute, which has pledged to pay a million dollars to the person who proved the conjecture, but only if published in a peer-reviewed journal. Mr. Perelman doesn't seem to care though:

10:09 AM  

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