Post-Publication Peer-Review Already Exists, Already Has Incentives, and Is Already Robust

Kent Anderson, The Irish Times, Jan 21, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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Kent Anderson responds to Wired's Dan Cohen, who argues "that OA can’t be effective if post-publication peer-review isn’t made as robust as possible." According to Cohen, we already have a mechanism that performs this function: awards. Anderson responds responds, basically, that pre-publication review and post-publication review are not mutually exclusive. "OA needs pre-publication peer-review as much as any other business model around scientific content." Meanwhile, awards do not serve the same function as pre-publication review. "Awards are usually meaningless in the long run.... Rewards, on the other hand, combine both power and viability, and therefore beat awards hands down. Scientists seek grants, tenure advancement, higher positions in the academic hierarchy..." But this response just begs the question. In a post-publication rveiew world, rewards and awards would align; tenure, for example, wouldn't be granted simply for posting a paper - anyone can do that - but would be granted for winning the "Natural Science paper of the Year" award, the equivalent (in a post-publication world) of publishing in Nature.

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