Re: What would Einstein had done today?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2005 21:27:53 +0100

As Einsteins represent a vanishingly small proportion of the world's
research population as of the Big Bang, the fate of their research is
hardly pertinent to Open Access. And peer review is not meant for the
suppression of this almost non-existent Einsteinian work, but for the
vetting and filtering of all the rest. The likelihood of quack papers
purporting to post Einsteinian results is far higher, and so is
ordinary work needing prior evaluation and imrovement by peers -- of
which Einstein had nest to none.

There is nothing wrong with peer review; it is just qualified experts
evaluating the work of their peers, and peer-review reform has
absolutely nothing to do with the movement for provding open access
to the peer-reviewed journal article literature, after (and sometimes
optionally before) peer review.

Stevan Harnad

On Mon, 26 Sep 2005, Bo-Christer Björk wrote:

> On the 26th of October 1905 the paper "Zur Electrodynamik bewegter
> Körper" by an unknown researcher called Albert Einstein was published by
> Annalen der Physik in Band 17, pp. 891-921
> (
> This paper is of course a landmark in the history of science, but it
> also illustrates the big changes that the scientific publication process
> has gone through in a century. The paper did not go through an anonymous
> peer review but was read by the editor (Max Planck) who made a decision
> to publish it. The process was extremely fast since the manuscript was
> sent in the 30th of June and published three months later. It would
> probably have had problems in passing a current day peer review process
> since it contains no references, breaks with the prevailing paradigms in
> the field and at the time lacked empirical evidence to back it up. What
> would Einstein do if he wanted to publish his results today?. He would
> probably have posted a copy of the manuscript to the open access
> repository for High Energy Physics ( and hoped that
> others would pick up the ideas and spread the word via viral marketing.
> Bo-Christer Björk
Received on Tue Sep 27 2005 - 21:55:43 BST

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