10 February 2009

Google takes on journals?

The reaction to this will be interesting... At first glance, it looks like Google is firing a shot across the bow at, oh... pretty much every scientific research journal.

As long as big journals provide a useful service, this tool will only enhance their effectiveness. But the more they take months to review our publications, and the more they give unqualified reviews, and the more they force us to clear irrelevant hurdles prior to publication, and the more they lock up our works behind fees and copyright transfers, the more this tool will provide an alternative to their services.

Update, 14 August 2014:After years of silence, Wired has an article that picks up this thread as a rumour.

Google is allegedly working on a free, open access platform for the research, collaboration and publishing of peer-reviewed scientific journals.

3 comments:

A simple question... said...

I'm very very curious to see how this will turn out.

molecanthro said...

I agree that it's a pain to get a paper published (I'm a relatively new PhD student and have already had two papers rejected and rewritten and resubmitted)....and, often, it takes a long time.
Please tell me if I'm completely missing something here, but what follows seems nuts!
If you look at the FAQ on their Wiki(http://code.google.com/p/gpeerreview/wiki/Q_and_A), someone asks "What if someone gives me a bad review?"

Google's answer:
"Then don't put it on your resume (same as always). Display the reviews/signatures that you feel make you look better and discard the others."
And, as they say at another spot..."Even less-than-glowing reviews can be helpful (see more about analysis techniques later), and the author can always disregard your review if he/she doesn't want it."

hmm...at least in journals you know that (most of the time) there have been reviews by (usually) experts that weren't always positive and there can be rebuttals back and forth. I don't like the idea of being able to not include negative reviews (I'm imagining creationists excluding any critiques)...though, on the other hand, I wouldn't like to be forced to include all reviews (I'm imagining some creationists reviewing evolution papers). of course, for even legitimate papers/reviews it would be very odd...i can see the potential. I'm often curious to hear feedback from other people outside of my labs journal clubs...but I get that on a number of blogs anyway.
And if just "anyone" can give reviews, how are they actually useful?

Zen said...

Thanks for the Q&A link!

And if just "anyone" can give reviews, how are they actually useful?

I think the term "peer review" is misapplied here. What they're really talking about is digital signatures, a way to show you are who you say you are.

I don't see anything in the Q&A that addresses how to accomplish everything else that journals do. The response to "What incentive do credible researchers have to review my works?" is telling.

This is way beyond open access publishing. The consequences of adopting this model will take a long time to consider.