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Pre-Print Peer Review

October 22, 2012

Peer review, as part of the process of knowledge exchange and impact, is both controversial and necessary. It describes a method of validating scholarly communications and funding applications in terms of quality, feasibility, scientific rigour, etc. by reviewers whose qualifications are similar to the author’s.

Generally speaking, a publication is considered valid, only if it has successfully passed the process of peer review. However, not all members of the scientific community are in favour of this process and the limitations it imposes on scientific knowledge sharing. Therefore, many try to come up with alternative solutions; one of them is Sabine Hossenfelder, physicist and co-author of a scientific blog.

Courtesy of the author, we reproduce Sabine’s proposal, which has been originally published in her blog

Pre-Print Peer Review

Nature news titled recently that “Rebel academics ponder how to break free of commercial publishers”. The rebels would be better off if they’d read this blog, because we have discussed here a solution to their problem!

The solution is Pre-Print Peer Review (PPPR). The idea is as simple as obvious: Scientists and publishers likewise would benefit if we’d just disentangle the quality assessment from the selection for journal publication. There is no reason why peer review should be tied to the publishing process, so don’t. Instead, create independent institutions (ideally several) that mediate peer review. These institutions may be run by scientific publishers. In fact, that would be the easiest and fastest way to do it, and the way most likely to succeed because the infrastructure and expertise is already in place.

The advantages of PPPR over the present system are: There is no more loss of time (and thereby cost) by repeated reviews in different journals. Reports could be used with non-peer-reviewed open access databases, or with grant applications.

Editors of scientific journals could still decide for themselves if they want to follow the advice of these reports. Initially, it is likely they will be skeptical and insist on further reports. The hope is that over time, PPPR would gain trust, and the reports would become more widely accepted.

In contrast to more radical options, PPPR has a good chance of success because it is very close to the present system and would work very similar. And it is of advantage for everybody involved.

La Revisión por Pares, dentro del proceso de intercambio e impacto del conocimiento, es  a la vez controvertido y necesario. El concepto de Revisión por Pares describe el método utilizado para validar trabajos escritos y solicitudes de financiación con la finalidad de medir su calidad, factibilidad, rigor científico, etc., realizado por un número de revisores con un rango y categoría similar a la del autor.

En el ámbito científico y académico, generalmente, sólo se considera válida una publicación científica cuando ha pasado un proceso de revisión por pares. Pero este proceso no cuenta con el apoyo unánime de toda la comunidad científica, que reflexiona en torno a las condiciones que este método impone al trabajo de diseminación del conocimiento. Es por ello por lo que, desde el campo de la investigación surgen reflexiones e innovaciones sobre esta metodología, como la presentada por la investigadora Sabine Hossenfelder en su trabajo “PRE-PRINT PEER REVIEW”, disponible en el blog de la investigadora y que reproducimos a continuación por cortesía de la autora.

Pre-Print Peer Review

Nature news titled recently that “Rebel academics ponder how to break free of commercial publishers”. The rebels would be better off if they’d read this blog, because we have discussed here a solution to their problem!

The solution is Pre-Print Peer Review (PPPR). The idea is as simple as obvious: Scientists and publishers likewise would benefit if we’d just disentangle the quality assessment from the selection for journal publication. There is no reason why peer review should be tied to the publishing process, so don’t. Instead, create independent institutions (ideally several) that mediate peer review. These institutions may be run by scientific publishers. In fact, that would be the easiest and fastest way to do it, and the way most likely to succeed because the infrastructure and expertise is already in place.

The advantages of PPPR over the present system are: There is no more loss of time (and thereby cost) by repeated reviews in different journals. Reports could be used with non-peer-reviewed open access databases, or with grant applications.

Editors of scientific journals could still decide for themselves if they want to follow the advice of these reports. Initially, it is likely they will be skeptical and insist on further reports. The hope is that over time, PPPR would gain trust, and the reports would become more widely accepted.

In contrast to more radical options, PPPR has a good chance of success because it is very close to the present system and would work very similar. And it is of advantage for everybody involved.

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