Re: Peer Review Reform Hypothesis-Testing

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2003 12:45:34 +0000

On Fri, 28 Nov 2003, Gerry Mckiernan wrote:

> "Invisible Hand(s) Quality Assurance in the Age of Author
> Self-Archiving," Jekyll.comm: International Journal of Science
> Communication no. 6 (September 2003)

Gerry Mckiernan's interesting and witty conjectures about ways in which peer
review might be modified are valuable and welcome, but two things about them
should be clearly noted:

(1) Peer-review reform proposals are untested empirical conjectures. Until
and unless they are empirically tested, and demonstrated to work,
and to scale up to the literature as a whole, and to yield a research
literature of a quality-level and reliability at least equal to
what we have now, they are merely speculations -- and speculations
that already face prima facie critiques and counter-speculations:

(2) Peer-review reform has nothing to do with open access (even if
open access is one of the *premises* of a particular peer-review reform
conjecture). Open access, written out longhand, means "open access to
the peer-reviewed literature" (such as it is). It is not about open
access to some *other* literature, conditional on the correctness of
untested speculations about peer review. Or, to put it another way, open
access is about freeing the peer-reviewed literature, right now, from
access-tolls, not from peer-review. Open access should not be delayed,
distracted, or redirected toward peer-review reform. (There are too many
things needlessly delaying it already!)


    Peer Review Reform Hypothesis-Testing

    A Note of Caution About "Reforming the System"

    Self-Selected Vetting vs. Peer Review: Supplement or Substitute?

    The Invisible Hand of Peer Review.

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online is available at
the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01 & 02 & 03):
    Post discussion to:

Dual Open-Access Strategy:
    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a suitable open-access
            journal whenever one exists.
    BOAI-1 ("green"): Otherwise, publish your article in a suitable
            toll-access journal and also self-archive it.
Received on Sat Nov 29 2003 - 12:45:34 GMT

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