Peer Commentary Software

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2002 19:05:19 +0000

The software described below may be useful for some kinds of users.

The motivation, as described below, is not to implement classical peer
review, but there seems to be no reason why it could not be adapted to
do so; or to moderate post-publication peer commentary.

See also: "A Note of Caution About 'Reforming the System'"


"Peer Review Reform Hypothesis-Testing"

Stevan Harnad

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2002 13:35:50 +0100
From: "LORINCZ, Andras" <>
To: "S.Harnad" <>
Subject: FYI

Dear Stevan, you might be interested in a tool that
- can make open access library peer reviewed
- can have evaluations on the reviewers without having access to the name of the reviewers,
- can select reviewers into the editorial board and vice versa.
Such construct could be useful for open publications (especially for NGOs).
The comment below was written to the mailing list connectionst.
You might be interested to have them joining your initiative, too.
Congratulations on this initative -- it is an important step, I believe.


Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2001 14:01:15 +0100
From: "LORINCZ, Andras" <>
Subject: "parallel submission" -- software

Information distributing software with ACCESS CONTROL is available.
If you wish to solve the original problem of Gabriele Dorothea Scheler
and Johann Martin Philipp Schumann, you need to decide
about access control at connectionists mailing list. Connectionists
mail list serves as an advertisement place for technical reportss and
papers. anyway. It is then a good idea to start parallel submission
at this single point. There is not too much controversy in this

Here is an initiating suggestion, which may need to be

The author uploads his/her paper to to connectionists. Notification
goes to everybody who has subsrciption. Uploading and notification
are unmoderated. (One can set a filter his/her email not to accept
mails from connectionists with subject 'new paper'.) The paper is
cached at connectionists and becomes available for downloading.
Anybody can make a review of the paper. Reviews are automatically
linked to the paper. Reviews are secretive -- the reviewer has an
ssh-like communication with connectionists -- and there is a public
part of his code. The list and "top acknowledged reviewers" together
can reveal the names of "top acknowledged reviewers".

If the opinion of the reviewer is considered by the author then he/she
can write a revised version of the paper. During uploading this
revised version he/she is supposed to acknowledge the reviewer's
public code. This is clearly in sake of the author -- provided that
he/she would like to promote the reviewer. In turn, works which need
improvments and are improved by the reviewer will serve as the basis
of selection.

If a reviewer is acknowledged, then this reviewer receives a credit
(impact) point (factor). There is a ranking of reviewers according to
their impact factors.

There is a list of the top $n$ most acknowledged reviewers. The names
of these $n$ reviewers can be discovered for the public. This is a
decision of the reviewer if he/she belongs to this top. These
acknowledged reviewers decide (vote) if a paper becomes 'accepted' or
not. A paper can be accepted without acknowledgment, for example, if
it is perfect. Acceptance means qualification. Acceptance may also
mean the opening a forum for discussion about the paper -- which is
open reviewing written by people (alike to discussions at BBS). Open
reviewing happens through connectionists -- this will be made by
another notification list. Top $N>n$ acknowledged reviewers have the
right for open reviewing. Their names are provided. In turn, $N$
acknowledged reviewers may be known to the public and $n$ top
acknowledged reviewers may vote.

Any journal can accept the paper. If an editorial board of a journal
accepts the paper then it is a question to the author whether he would
like to give the copyright to the journal or not -- he/she might be
waiting for a better journal, or, alternatively, -- he/she might have
submitted the paper to a journal at the very beginning and might have
given the copyright to that journal to start with. If copyright is
given to a journal, it should be noted for connectionists.

It is the journals' problem how to deal with this challenge. The
experienced shift of the editorial board of MLJ to JMLR provides a
feeling about the possible outcome.

Andras Lorincz

P.S. Anyone could build this software. There are freeware solutions,
such as 'mailman'. We have also built one with intelligent search
options. It has been thoroughly tested for Windows Explorer, but would
not support Netscape. Any organization might decide to write/set
up/buy a similar software. This seems to be a most probable step in
the near future. In this case we shall experience a selective process
similar to the evolution of electronic markets: Lots of attempts will
start and only a few will survive. So, get started!

P.P.S. I have put a paper onto the web. It is closely related to this
topic It will appear in the Special Issue of IJFCS (International
Journal of Foundations of Computer Science) on Mining the Web Title:
"New Generation of the World Wide Web: Anticipating the birth of the
'hostess' race"
The paper is in a WinZipped postscript file.

P.P.P.S. I like the idea of parallel submission. I have the feeling
that some reviewers are negligent, may be lacking time, may be
students (and lacking knowledge) of authorities on the field, and may
be biased agaynszt non-nateave-Inglish-spieking autorz. :-)

"S.Harnad" wrote:

> This message is addressed to scholars and scientists and it concerns the
> Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI)
> launched on 14 February by George Soros's Open Society Institute.
> To be useful, research must be used. To be used (read, cited, applied,
> extended) it must be accessible. There are currently 20,000
> peer-reviewed journals of scientific and scholarly research worldwide,
> publishing over 4 million articles per year, every single one of them
> given away for free by its researcher-authors and their
> research-institutions, with the sole goal of maximizing their uptake
> and usage by further researchers, and hence their impact on worldwide
> research, to the benefit of learning and of humanity.
> Yet access to those 4 million annual research articles can only be had
> for a fee. Hence they are accessible only to the lucky researchers at
> that minority of the world's research institutions that can pay for
> them. And even the wealthiest of these institutions can only afford a
> small and shrinking proportion of those annual 20,000 journals. The
> result is exactly as if all those 4 million articles had been written
> for royalties or fees, just the way most of the normal literature is
> written, rather than having been given away for free by their authors
> and their institutions for the benefit of research and humanity.
> As a consequence, other researchers' access to all this work, and hence
> its potential impact on and benefit to research progress, is being
> minimized by access tolls that most research institutions and
> individuals worldwide cannot afford to pay.
> Those access tolls were necessary, and hence justified, in the
> Gutenberg era of print-on-paper, with its huge real costs, and no
> alternatives. But they are no longer necessary or justified, and are
> instead in direct conflict with what is best for research, researchers,
> and society, in today's PostGutenberg era of on-line-eprints, when
> virtually all of those Gutenberg costs have vanished, and those
> remaining costs can be covered in a way that allows open access.
> The Budapest Open Access Initiative is dedicated to freeing online
> access to this all-important but anomalous (because give-away)
> literature, now that open access has at long last become possible, by
> (I) providing universities with the means of freeing online access
> to their own annual peer-reviewed research output (as published in
> the 20,000 established journals) through institutional
> self-archiving,
> as well as by
> (II) providing support for new alternative journals that offer open
> online access to their full text contents directly (and for
> established journals that are committed to making the transition to
> offering open full-text access online).
> It is entirely fitting that it should be George Soros's Open Society
> Institute that launches this initiative to open access to the world's
> refereed research literature at last. Open access is now accessible,
> indeed already overdue, at a mounting cost in lost benefits to research
> and to society while we delay implementing it. What better way to open
> society than to open access to the fruits of its science and
> scholarship, already freely donated by its creators, but until now not
> freely accessible to all of its potential users? Fitting too is the
> fact that this initiative should originate from a part of the world
> that has known all too long and all too well the privations of a closed
> society and access denial.
> Please have a look at the BOAI at
> and, if you or your organization are implementing, or planning to
> implement either Strategy I or Strategy II, I hope you will sign
> the BOAI, either as an individual or an organization.
> Below, I append links to some of the press coverage of the BOAI so far.
> Sincerely,
> Stevan Harnad
> Declan Butler, Soros Offers Access to Science Papers (for Nature)
> Ivan Noble, Boost for Research Paper Access (for BBC)
> Michael Smith, Soros Backs Academic Rebels (for UPI)
> [Alexander Grimwade, Open Societies Need Open Access (The Scientist)
> ]
> [Denis Delbecq, L'abordage des revvues scientifiques (Liberation,
> Paris)
> ]
> []
Received on Sun Feb 17 2002 - 19:05:45 GMT

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