Open Review – A New Model For Scholarly Communication?

Today’s Hot Type column in the Chronicle of Higher Education features discussion of PLoS ONE and an open review experiment at Nature.

PLoS ONE calls itself “a new way of communicating peer-reviewed science and medicine.” The idea is that any study based on valid methods that passes muster with a single member of the editorial board will be posted. The barrier to get a paper into PLOS ONE is purposely set low. Then, through open review, registered readers can make annotations, comments, and eventually rate articles on merit. Community participation so far has been slow, but the project has only just begun.

Nature conducted a similar experiment in which they offered some authors of papers under consideration by the journal the choice to have their paper open reviewed. At the end of the trial, Nature concluded that the advice received under open review was not substantial enough. Still, executive editor Linda Miller is quoted in the Chronicle as saying

“As people who are used to using the Web for all kinds of communication, people who are now using MySpace and Facebook begin to infiltrate the ranks of the serious scientists, they’ll be more comfortable doing this kind of thing…What didn’t work now may work better later on.”

These are interesting experiments by PLoS ONE and Nature that seem to be pointing to a new way for scholars to communicate with each other.

Posted by Marc Meola

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