Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Public Library of Science and The Journal System

Dave Weinstien has a really interesting article, “PLOS – Open Access science:”

PLoS has an “intrinsic tension” [Hemai Parthasarathy] says because most of the people who started the journal don’t believe in elite publishing. “We think it’s wrong for tenure committees to pass the buck” to the editors of the top-tier journals. That’s why they’ve started PLoS One. It launches in November. “The idea is to take the editorializing out of the peer review process.” It asks whether a paper is sound enough to be published, but not how important the paper is. “Publish everything worth publishing” that’s submitted, and then put a layer of open peer review conversation about it. “When I was at Nature, I’d reject ten papers a week in neuroscience alone because they weren’t important enough.” Then the papers would be passed on to the next five journals, and you’d lose all the information generated in the reviewing of that paper. “It’s incredibly inefficient.” “Peer review is overwhelming scientists. Scientists are getting asked to review twenty papers a week.”

I think that the questions of how research is performed, shared, and found are becoming more and more interesting. Attending all the conferences with “security” in their name became impossible around 1999 or so (I recall someone on the Int’l Financial Crypto Association board pointing out that there was no 4 day block we could choose that wouldn’t overlap.) Keeping on top of all the interesting work being done has gotten harder and harder. As a field splinters, the ability of practitioners to stay up to speed becomes less and less, and I think that has some pretty profound impacts that we haven’t fully felt yet.

Related, Tyler Cowen writes on “How to be a good referee.”

2 comments on "Public Library of Science and The Journal System"

  • beri says:

    And of course, who is to decide what is “important” and what is not. What gets published in the field of science is the flavor of the month and not necessarily that which challenges the accepted wisdom. so this new online journal is a real breakthrough and I wish it every success.

  • Every 6 months or so I publish FC++ which is a group of 3 draft papers around the topic of financial cryptography. I publish as soon as I have 3 papers ready to go!
    Comments and peer-review then starts after promulgation, using the blog as the forum for recording the comments.
    It’s not necessary anymore to use the process of peer-review to block the publication of papers because there is no limit to the number of papers that can be distributed any more. Far better to re-factor these old ideas to help improve the new work.

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