Monday, October 02, 2006

Why Don't They Just Start A Wikipedia For Scientific Papers?

I really like Techdirt, but don't link to it often.
But this article is really interesting for the postmodern way in which the responses seem to explore and illustrate the various points about breaking down the bottle-necks in the distribution of knowledge. Check it out, and be sure to at least skim the comments.
It really brings home how "information technology" is about more than processor speeds, bandwith, and server space.

There's been a long, ongoing debate in the academic world for a while concerning the changing nature of peer reviewed academic journals. It started a few years ago when a few new peer reviewed journals felt it made sense to put their content online for free. Traditionally, academic journals were extremely expensive (becoming big money makers for their owners), but there were questions about how this limited advancement of science, since not everyone could afford those journals. At the same time, there were questions about whether or not this limited progress, since many who might challenge or be inspired by certain research could never read about it. It looks like some online journals are now taking the concept of openness to a new level. Rather than just making the content free online, one online journal is taking out the peer review part -- and letting anyone act as the peers. Basically, it's a recognition that there are some problems with the traditional peer review system, where two or three anonymous reviewers (picked by the journal) have incredible power over whether or not a paper sent to them ever sees the light of day in a journal... The hope is to generate a lot more conversation and spur additional research early on, rather than waiting until it's gone through the longer, formal process.

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