New Ideas in the World of Peer Review

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Peer review has long been a standard measure of credibility for academic articles.  However, the system has also long been criticized for a variety of reasons, including the length of time it takes for research to be published.

An article in Inside Higher Ed last week highlighted a couple of new ventures in the world of peer review aimed at speeding up the process and opening it up to more people.

PeerJ is an open access peer-reviewed journal focused on the biological and medical sciences that asks authors to pay one-time membership fees in order to submit articles for publication (the fee allows submission; it doesn’t guarantee publication).  That membership then remains in good standing as long as that author reviews somebody else’s article at least once a year.  According to PeerJ’s Reviewing FAQ , “we think this give-and-take is fair to the community as it incentivizes participation in the ongoing task of peer review and will collectively reduce everyone’s burden.”

Rubriq is taking a different approach.  They are trying to create “an independent and standardized peer review [system that] could be shared across all types of journals and distribution systems.” The idea is that an article would go through this peer review system, be assigned a score, and then be matched up with the journal for which it is most appropriate, thus saving authors the time of submitting the same manuscript to multiple journals.

Both of these ideas are at this point untested, so it will be interesting to watch and see what happens.  What do you think?  Could ideas like these revolutionize the world of peer review?

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