Peer review: awaiting the turn of the tide

nnMartin Fenner‘s article Twitter for Peer Review considered some of the uses that social media resources such as Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook could be put to in expediting the peer review process.

This in turn led Duncan Macrae to note that whilst such tools as these may ‘afford instantaneous feedback and brevity’ to the peer review process, “since when [has] brevity, or for that matter speed, [been] the goal of the peer review process?

For me, however, the key benefit of a social media-enabled peer-review process will have less to do with speed than it will with the optimization of the way a research community interacts as it move its discipline forward. With adequate participation, communities of purpose will be able to avail themselves of the opportunity to ensure that the most appropriate reviewers are assessing their research literature. The speed at which reviewers subsequently choose to undertake their role in the publication – or, indeed, non-publication – process will doubtless be faster, but to my mind this is not really the issue here, although I will be intrigued to see what research communities make of the possibilities that it appears Google Wave may offer to undertake real-time collaborative work.

Go-faster stripes won’t make peer-review any better, but continuing to seek out ways to expedite the scholarly discourse that it requires may safeguard its transition from traditional to contemporary settings.

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