Re: SOC/SCIENCE: Something Rotten at the Core of Science?

From: Chris Rasch (
Date: Tue Apr 24 2001 - 14:42:10 MDT

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> So, any suggestions for an improvement in the system?
> I think one constraint in the current system is that reviewing is unpaid
> work, where you at most get some credit if you are known to belong to the
> reviewers of a well respected journal. Right now the journal system is in the
> process of change as net publications are emerging and challenging the
> traditional paper journals, so presumably this might be the time to look for
> new "business models" for peer review too.
> I am fond of the idea of review boards, groups or reviewers placing their
> seals of approval (or denial, for that matter) on papers without being tied
> to journals. Instead journals publish papers that have been approved by
> respected review boards, and the review information might also be available
> over the net. What remains to be figured out is how to make this profitable
> for the reviewers (so they want to do it) without introducing risks of
> biasing them through payment.

Of course, real money idea future's markets would be a big improvement.

Double-blind peer review would help prevent biases against unknown individuals
and institutions. Costly to implement, though a few journals attempt to do it.

Rather than let the editorial staff alone pick reviewers, randomly pick
reviewers from a pool of people agreeable both to the scientist and the

Introduce meta-moderation--review of the reviewers.

It seems to me that it is the reader of the paper who most benefits from peer
review. I'd like to see much more of the raw data put online so that people can
judge for themselves if they wish--currently, scientific data and its analysis
is heavily cleaned up for public presentation. It'd be nice to have more
software tools to make it easier for scientists to share data and colloborate
across distance. For example, perhaps a "Blogger"-like program, adapted for
scientists that encourages them to publish daily results + running commentary by
the scientist/tech doing the work.

If more of the raw data were available online, people could then pay independent
reviewers to collect and summarize the latest results. Instead of being
forced to accept the review criteria of the journal's editorial staff, the
reader could select reviewers based on their own preferences--one reader might
prefer innovation to rigor, and select reviewers accordingly. New scientists
would probably pay to have their work reviewed by respected reviewer.

I'd also like to see the implementation of a distributed prize system, a la
The Wall Street Performer Protocol in my sig. Scientists would then have an
incentive to cooperate with each other, share data, and get results out in the
public as quickly as possible so that they get to win the prize.

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Read the _Wall Street Performer Protocol_:

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