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Grand Unified Scientific Journal

  (+3, -6)
(+3, -6)
  [vote for,
against]

The journal system of publishing scientific research is complex and slow. A new system is long overdue.

I suggest the following: A new organization is set up, by the name of "World Organization for Scientific Communication", or something along those lines. The organization is funded and run by its members, which could be a combination of universities, research councils or businesses.

A website is set up. The rules are as follows.

1) *Anyone* can submit a scientific article. The only condition is proof of identity, which is verified though a token credit card/ debit card fee of $10. The fee also discourages joke submissions. The author chooses one or several categories and subcategories, eg. physics/plasma science; physics/surface science

2) Once submitted, a paper appears on the website immediately, but the author remains anonymous. The author has the option to hide the paper from certain users (eg. rivals) until it is peer reviewed.

3) Above each publication, a box says "warning! this publication has not been peer reviewed"

Below each publication, users can rate the quality of an article on a scale between "bad" and "ground braking". Users can also send anonymous emails to the author to voice their criticism, and change their vote any time before the peer review deadline.

4) An algorithm works out a ranking of papers based on a) the vote and b) the respectability of the voter. Respectability is determined by how the entire work of scientist is ranked on the website. Initial ranking is of new papers is determined by respectability of the author.

5) After a period of 6 months the peer review process ends. The name of the author is revealed. No more rating is possible and the author may no longer make changes.

6) Once a paper is peer reviewed, it will be ranked further by number and quality of citations.

7) Next to every paragraph and diagram of every article, users can enter a link to their own comments, criticisms and diagrams etc. Links are color coded according to respectability of the user adding the link.

8) Every month the 10 highest ranked papers submitted in the same month of the previous year are published in a magazine, together with reviews etc.

The advantages:

1) Immediate publication means faster communication and proliferation of ideas, as well as correction of mistakes.

2) Network effects. All branches of science and medicine are combined on a single communications platform. Obscure authors are less likely to be overlooked. Searching is facilitated.

3) Annotation of articles helps readers to see other perspectives and find additional information not published in the original article.

4) More democratic.

5) Previously unpublished work becomes available. This work, which may be potentially useful to some, is still hidden from users who choose to restrict their search to a minimum ranking.

6) More emphasis on quality than quantity. Sumbmitting below-average articles will decrease a user's respectablity.

kinemojo, Mar 24 2006

Berkeley Electronic Press http://www.bepress.com/
Online Scholarly Journals [csea, Mar 24 2006]

Osprey - paperless submission and peer review http://www.publish....tm?nid=163&aid=5643
[ConsulFlaminicus, Mar 27 2006]

Peer review ca. 1945 http://www.youtube....watch?v=-VRBWLpYCPY
[MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 24 2010]

[link]






       wikiNature   

       The problem here is advantage (5). Most scientists are busy people and rely on the editors of Nature et. al. to reduce the vast amount of scientific papers generated every month down to the important stuff. With your system, the top guys aren't going to read it all - they'll still read their usual rag which ignores most stuff.   

       I'm going to bun this, not as a replacement for scientific journals, but as a good project in it's own right. Maybe the journal editors might trawl it and present the best of it to their readership.
wagster, Mar 24 2006
  

       Quantity is not an issue: quality is. Also, the reliance on an individual authors "respectablility" is an Achilles heel of the existing system. Well regarded luminaries in a field can get away with substandard publications because of their reputations. Young turks and people with female names may be judged more harshly by their "peers". I hoped that part of this system would be some measure of anonymity on the part of the authors, to allow more objective judgement of the described science. It looks like actually this is the opposite.
bungston, Mar 24 2006
  

       >>Quantity is not an issue: quality is<<   

       I disagree. A few high quality articles are useful to many. Many low quality articles are useful to a few, normally working in the same field. In other words, quantity weighs out quality.   

       >>Well regarded luminaries in a field can get away with substandard publications because of their reputations.<<   

       In my system, they are less likely to get away with this, because substandard publications will lower their respectability score.   

       >>I hoped that part of this system would be some measure of anonymity on the part of the authors, to allow more objective judgement of the described science. It looks like actually this is the opposite.<<   

       I agree. In an ideal world, a scientific information system should be totally anonymous. But scientists would have no incentive to submit good work, because they get nothing in return. This is one of the problems the wikipedia faces. In my example they get a high respectability ranking on their name (ie. prestige) in return.   

       I am suggesting that a user's name remains anonymous during the voting process, but that is revealed thereafter.
kinemojo, Mar 24 2006
  

       Who gets to vote on the papers?
Jinbish, Mar 24 2006
  

       You mean we're not already doing that here?
normzone, Mar 24 2006
  

       I've posted a [link] to a website operated by Berkeley Electronic Press, a fully accredited, peer-reviewed, paperless journal publisher.   

       Why introduce the disadvantages of review by random people, when the old system works fine? All Berkeley Electronic Press have done is to remove the expense and delay of actual paper publication. Makes more sense to me.   

       If I want to see peer-reviewed journals in a timely fashion, it's off to bepress for me! If I'm after annotations by random people, I come to the Halfbakery!
csea, Mar 24 2006
  

       Peer reviewing is something people get PAID for now. The real scientists are not going to take their time to stamp CRAP on every piece of crap that gets submitted to this service. I don't know who will take the time to sort through this massive influx of garbage, but I can tell you it won't be research scientists (they don't have time).
GutPunchLullabies, Mar 24 2006
  
      
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