Killing Peer Review

Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, Jul 19, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

While some hail the arrival of open access peer-reviewed journals, the author writes, others seek the 'killer app' that would make peer review unnecessary. "It would bypass the formal peer review process, taking pre-publication papers and allowing a community of users (scholars and experts, most likely) to vote papers up or down — much like social bookmarking sites such as Reddit do for articles in the popular press." Nice, but this isn't it. The idea that a single website-based app could handle the job has been, I think, disproved - while sites like Metafilter, Reddit, Digg, and the social network services have all tried ranking and review in their own way, there's no good evidence that the cat photos they elevate to the top of the list are the best content on the web. We need something much more subtle, much more distributed.
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