Interactive Open Access Publishing and Peer Review

In the geophysics community, journals have launched the interactive open access publishing and peer review. This system has recently been described in details by U. Pöschl [1]. In brief, after a rapid pre-selection process, a paper is assigned to 2-3 referees and subject to interactive public discussion, during which the comments of the designated referees and of other interested readers, as well as the author’s replies are published. Referees can choose to remain anonymous, but not the other readers.
Among the cited advantages of this system, it minimises the opportunity for hidden obstruction and plagiarism, it deters submission of carelessly prepared manuscripts, and provides to the reader a wealth of complementary information, critical comments and arguments. In addition, in such a system, the reviewers get more public recognition (especially if they sign their review), which encourages careful reviews.

This new publishing system also shows how open access can change the relationship between communication of science and evaluation of science.
The author of the paper mentions a next stage of open access publishing that is currently being developed: the published papers could be grouped at different levels of relevance for different audience after public review and discussion. For instance, three tiers that have been proposed : (i) discussion forum (free speech, original opinions, immediate publication and dissemination), (ii) topical journal (final papers, with thorough quality assurance, and comprehensive validated information), and (iii) highlight magazines (condensed information, with interdisciplinary relevance and public interest).

It would be interesting to see how to implement such an open system in the different scientific communities…

[1] Interactive Open Access Publishing and Peer Review: The Effectiveness and Perspectives of Transparency and Self-Regulation in Scientific Communication and Evaluation.
by Ulrich Pöschl

(may 2010)

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