Journals: A more social means of publishing?

Journals: A more social means of publishing?

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/913588Should the peer-review process for academic journals be by-passed for a more online/social means of publishing?

Pickrell went on to describe, in general detail, the features this journal-killing app would require. It would bypass the formal peer review process, taking pre-publication papers and allowing a community of users (scholars and experts, most likely) to vote papers up or down — much like social bookmarking sites such as Reddit do for articles in the popular press. The idea would be to let readers decide which articles deserve top billing, rather than ceding that task to a tiny cloister of journal editors and their hand-picked reviewers. Papers with good feedback would shoot to the top of the list. And if scholars do want proxies to help them decide if an article is worthy of their trust and attention, they could turn to the recommendations of their friends and colleagues. ….

Still, skeptics wanted to know: In such a wild west of scholarly publishing, who would check facts? Pickrell’s answer is the same as Wikipedia’s: everybody. “I think the system could be totally self-regulating with a big enough community,” he said in an interview withInside Higher Ed. The most popular articles would receive the most attention, but they would also receive the most scrutiny. Errors are unlikely to escape a critical mass of studied readers. Mechanisms could be put in place to report errors and redact articles. (Think Wikipedia, but with original research and a specialized corps of volunteer editors.)…

“People read papers and they discuss them,” Pickrell told Inside Higher Ed, but “they don’t necessarily discuss them online. And I think eventually they will…. The issue is going to be getting people involved, and that’s going to be less and less of an issue as time goes on.

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