sábado, 17 de março de 2012

Scientists go Social - via ScienceInsider

Three Finnish researchers have created an online service that could eventually replace or supplement the current way journals get scientists to peer review submitted manuscripts. Already partnered with the ecology journal Ecography, published by Wiley, Peerage of Science is an innovative social network of scientists to which researchers submit their manuscripts; other members with relevant expertise, alerted by keywords in the papers, will then provide reviews that scientific journals can use to decide whether to publish the work. University of Jyväskylä and the University of Eastern Finland, where the three creators of the service are based, have sponsored the company founded to further build up the service this year.
The current peer review system in which journal editors send potentially publishable manuscripts to experts for review is hotly debated. Many scientists complain that the system is slow, inefficient, of variable quality, and prone to favoritism. Moreover, there's growing resentment in some quarters about being asked to take valuable time to provide free reviews to journals that are operated by for-profit publishers or that don't make their papers open-access. Several suggestions have been made to improve the peer review system, such as introducing credits for reviewers, using social media, and making the process more transparent.
Peerage of Science aims to combine these ideas, explains co-founder Mikko Mönkkönen, an applied ecologist at the University of Jyväskylä. A researcher would initially upload a manuscript to Peerage of Science. It will then be made anonymous and posted on a Web site that is exclusively accessible to other members, which currently stands at around 500 scientists. Along with the manuscript, the authors can add a short pitch explaining why peers should review this manuscript.
Potential reviewers receive an e-mail if tagged keywords reflecting the manuscript match their expertise—bird migration, for example. After reviewing a paper, peers are allowed to grade the quality of the other reviews, by awarding a grade between one and five.  Editors of journals partnering with Peerage of Science can anonymously track reviews, get automated updates on the paper and make an offer to publish the paper, perhaps after a requested revision. Authors are free to accept or decline their offers.
To prevent favoritism, peers are not allowed to review manuscripts submitted by colleagues of the same university or researchers they cooperated with in the last 3 years. This excludes many potentially suitable reviewers, however, so the service founders will monitor if this rule is needed. "We want to create a system that people can trust. But if this rule turns out to be too strict, we are willing to change it," says Mönkkönen.
Transparency is another way Peerage of Science aims to prevent bias. If reviewers agree, their reviews will be published in an online journal called Proceedings of Peerage of Science. The founders hope this will create a career incentive for scientists to do high-quality reviews: they can boost their reputation. "One cannot just get away with an unrealistically positive or negative review without justification," says Seppänen.
The founders of Peerage of Science, who include evolutionary ecologist Janne Kotiaho of University of Jyväskylä, initially aimed their service at their own field, ecology. But their goal is to eventually expand it to all scientific areas. 
Read the full story: http://bit.ly/A0GZkC
Online Social Network Seeks to Overhaul Peer Review in Scientific Publishing - ScienceInsider

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