Re: Independent scientific publication - Why have journals at all?

From: Marvin Margoshes <physchem_at_EARTHLINK.NET>
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 1999 17:38:47 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: Bruce Edmonds <b.edmonds_at_MMU.AC.UK>
Date: Saturday, March 27, 1999 3:13 PM
Subject: Re: Independent scientific publication - Why have journals at all?

>A key difference between Stephen's and my proposals is that in his one
>either gets a generic quality constraint on the flow of information (via
>journals) or none at all (using public pre-print archives). In my
>proposal papers are `tagged' with relatively rich judgemental
>information so that the reader can determine the selection of
>information to suit their own needs - mixing judgemental and
>content-based information. Readers could emulate the journal system by
>choosing selection criteria so as to cover a single topic area allowing
>only papers of high general quality, but they would have the choice!
>This early and inflexible constraint on the flow of papers from author
>to reader that occurs in the journal system was necessary because
>publishing used to be costly - this is no longer the case. Reviewers
>already produce this information - why not release it to readers so that
>they can determine their own selection criteria?
As a frequent reviewer, I usually sign my reviews and make them as
constructive as I can. There are instances, however, when I haven't felt
that I could express myself frankly without anonymity. One catagory is the
obvious nuts, whose stability is open to question. Those are easily
recognizable by most readers. The more difficult group is those who have
aggressive reputations, who may or may not be good shcolars or scientists,
and I don't want to get into a confrontation. Yes, there are people like
that. I will usually tell the editor why I don't want my name sent to the
author. Would the proposed scheme allow for anonymous reviews?

A concern with the proposed system is that it could degenerate into bitter
public arguments, as often happens in the literary world.

Anyway, scientists and other scholars who want to foster this kind of
publication online are free to do so. Journals develop a certain reputation
for quality (or lack thereof). Let the marketplace of ideas decide which
kind of review system prevails.
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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