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Testing open peer review at Collabra

Earlier this year University of California Press (UC Press) launched a new open access mega journal called Collabra. One of the distinctive features of Collabra is that its authors can choose to have the peer review reports signed by the reviewers and published alongside their papers, making them freely available for all to read — a process usually referred to as open peer review. Since Collabra is offering open peer…

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Is there a creativity deficit in science?

Flickr user: opensource.com In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, a 33-year-old software engineer at Europe’s largest Physics Laboratory (CERN), was frustrated with how the Internet would only enable sharing of information between clients and a single server. Doing anything more required establishing a new connection. To get around this, Berners-Lee had a creative idea—use a hypertext system that would elegantly connect machines and servers across a ‘world wide Web.’ Like any…

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Will Google start dabbling in science journals?

If, as rumoured, google builds a platform for depositing unrefereed research papers for “peer-reviewing” via crowd-sourcing, can this create a substitute for classical peer-review or will it merely supplement classical peer review with crowd-sourcing? In classical peer review, an expert (presumably qualified, and definitely answerable), an “action editor,” chooses experts (presumably qualified, and definitely answerable), “referees,” to evaluate a submitted research paper in terms of correctness, quality, reliability, validity, originality,…

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Why Do We Still Have Journals?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Wiley Asia New technologies of communication should enable new ways of sharing and advancing knowledge. Newspapers have been radically transformed by the Internet revolution, adapting their format to continuous updating, color, video, and opportunities for feedback and debate by readers. Yet academic journals still bear the imprints of their origins, and most look little different today than they did 50 years ago. Perhaps the most…

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Bypassing peer review en route to Nobel

The South Pole Telescope and the BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) Telescope at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station (Reuters) Big scientific discoveries—the kind that shift our view of the world and our place within it—don’t come along very often. This week, though, one did. New data seem to offer, for the first time, direct evidence of the entities Einstein predicted in his general theory of relativity: gravitational waves. Which…

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When is public peer review cyber-bullying?

A week ago in a news article in Science – and along with my colleagues and collaborators, Julian Stirling and Raphael Levy – I was accused of being a cyber-bully. This, as you might imagine, was not a particularly pleasant accusation to face. Shortly following publication of the piece in Science, one of the most popular and influential science bloggers on the web, Neuroskeptic, wrote an insightful and balanced blog…

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What are the alternatives to peer review?

You think that scientists, being quite clever people, would be able to agree on the best way to rank each other’s work. Oh no, not any longer. The issue really kicked off when recent Nobel Laureate and molecular biologist Randy Schekman professor of cell and development biology at the University of California at Berkeley, USA, accused the big three journals Science, Cell and Nature of “distorting science” by promoting their…

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Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing

The Committee on Publication Ethics, the Directory of Open Access Journals, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, and the World Association of Medical Editors are scholarly organizations that have seen an increase in the number of membership applications from both legitimate and non-legitimate publishers and journals. Our organizations have collaborated in an effort to identify principles of transparency and best practice that set apart legitimate journals and publishers from non-legitimate…

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