"We are…moving to post-publication peer review where the scientific community judges what matters…connected globally through the internet."- Richard Smith Director of United Health Group's chronic disease initiative
And the guy's opinion should carry some weight—he is a former editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), one of the preeminent peer-reviewed medical journals that has followed the peer review model since 1840.
In my opinion, the train left the station on this one a long time ago. It is a slow moving train, however. It is not in the best interests of those making money on the peer-reviewed journals industry to let go of their income source.
According to Smith, "Scientific journals began in the 17th century…Before that…scientists went to meetings and presented their studies. The assembled scientists would then discuss and critique the studies…This was the original peer review: immediate and open."
So, over time, the stewards of scientific information became a relatively small group of the scientific community, with some key publishers and their peer reviewers being the arbiters of "reliable" scientific communications. Not a bad way to do things for 170 odd years.
But the connectedness of the digital age changes everything. Everyone can be author, publisher, reviewer, promoter, as well as reader.
What Socrates could have done with a smart phone…
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