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Conversation, Community, & Connections at the intersection of Science & the Web
Thursday, January 31 • 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Science online and rethinking peer review

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Over the past decade, we have watched an explosion in the discussion of published (and unpublished) scientific work by scientists online. These discussions are public - anyone can join in - and can often illuminate key points of interest or key flaws in the work - flaws that may have been missed or simply deemed not important by the 2-3 peer reviewers of a new work. What has this online discussion taught us about how peer review of scientific work should function? Is it time for us to rethink the review process? Is the old anonymous review by an editor and 2-3 reviewers still the best practice for the accurate dissemination of scientific ideas? What can the online discussion of new work teach us about how the process should work? What online tools, opportunities, and new initiatives are out there that we can harness, as a community, to improve the dissemination of new scientific work to better the enterprise of Science? And what have we learned about the best way to praise, critique, and comment on Science to best shape new ideas? There are papers published in top journals in the 50s which the same journals would probably reject today. Would separate sections titled "Observations" or "Speculations" help? Would an "observations" section where observations are merely noted avoid fiascos like the #arseniclife episode? Also, how could be go about transforming a flawed peer-review process? As described in my blog post, publishing corrections is often a torturous, uphill process because of referee anonymity? Is it ethical/possible for scientists to publish reviews and rebuttals in such cases on blogs and websites? Wouldn't it be far better for the reviews to be made public by the journals themselves? What complexities would this entail? How much of the peer review process should or can be divulged online?

- Has scientific publishing become too conservative?
- How could we make the peer review process easier and more transparent, especially in an online context?
- Should the rise of online discussion of scientific work cause us to rethink the peer review process?

Thursday January 31, 2013 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Room 7b

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