The other day, I ran into PubPeer, which allows readers to comment on publications. Here’s a description directly taken from the “about” section:
PubPeer seeks to create an online community that uses the publication of scientific results as an opening for fruitful discussion.
- All comments are consolidated into a centralized and searchable online database.
- Authors, as well as a small group of peers working on similar topics, are automatically notified when their article is commented on.
- Pubpeer strives to maintain a high standard of commentary by inviting first and last authors of published articles to post comments.
- The chief goal of this project is to provide the means for scientists to work together to improve research quality, as well as to create improved transparency that will enable the community to identify and bring attention to important scientific advancements.
PubPeer is democratizing the peer review process. This is driven by the idea that publishing research results should be open to all since publishing costs are driven down by massive digitization. However open discussions and reviews should be retained to assure good science and generate new ideas.
Shifting the peer review process from before to after publication is an ongoing effort shared by others. The idea is usually to first build a community around a collection of papers then get discussion started. I love to concept, but feel like the system is taking its time to get adopted by the masses. Why is that? Could it be because the communities are too small? Because they are too diverse maybe? Or perhaps because such comments are not taken into account to measure research impact?