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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2012
    • (edited Nov 20th 2012)

    It seems that although the struggle for Open Access is far from over, it is only a matter of a small number of years before it becomes a trivial annoyance (not that it will come about by itself if we all give up). More interesting for me is the problem of evaluation of research, to determine how best to allocate attention, reward researchers, etc.

    An interesting article here: http://www.frontiersin.org/Computational_Neuroscience/10.3389/fncom.2012.00094/full describes several features of a new system for (postpublication) review which appear to have nontrivial support: open access to reviews, authentication of reviewers, signed reviews, numerical scoring of reviewers as well as researchers and papers, pluralism in evaluation methods, allowing for uncertainty by using statistical inference, no time limit on the process, evolution from the current system. There are links to many other papers on the topic, including one on C. Lee’s Selected Papers Network discussed in this forum.

    Still controversial issues: whether to have a barrier to cross before a publication is considered worthy of review; whether to use prepublication secret refereeing in order to do this; how much coordination and money will it take to develop this new system.

    I am not sure that mathematics has any discipline-specific factors that would affect adoption of such a system, and am interested to read your thoughts.

    How are those review boards getting on?

  1. Here are some more or less random thought about these issues.

    I would welcome that the evaluative (as opposed to corrective) part of referees reports were made publicly available on the journal website. To waste this information is useless, and it would probably improve the quality of reports necessary to get a paper accepted. Editors willing to accept a paper despite the referees would have a harder time to do so.

    Also, I do not think mathematicians are willing to let go on referee’s anonymity. I certainly would not act as a referee if I were not to remain anonymous at least in case of rejection.

    Last, the quick prefereeing system seems a must for the evaluation of sexyness of papers. There is nothing worse that having a paper rejected in 9 month with a review only based on the introduction. So we could have a first, quick and anonymous filter and for papers that pass, a more thorough and partially public review. It would also be better if paper could be reoriented to another journal after the first part.

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeNov 27th 2012

    Thanks. I am really after a much more comprehensive set of anecdotal data, so would appreciate comments from other users.