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Citemine: preparations for the publish:filter revolution have begun

Citemine is a new platform that gives us a glimpse of what peer review might look like after the publish:filter tipping point has been reached.

As with any foot-tapping, clock-watching armchair punditry concerning when we can expect a revolution to occur, the launch of Citemine doesn’t offer any answers. What we can say, however, is Citemine’s existence takes us a step closer to its instantiation.

The publish:filter revolution has begun.

Citemine’s creators offer a summary of the principles that led to the creation of this clean, simple reputation-driven peer review facilitator :

We believe that peer review should be fast, that reviewers should be accountable for the ratings they assign to papers, that good research should gain recognition quickly, and that if quantitative measures of research performance are to be used, that they should be responsive, leading (as opposed to trailing) and unbiased towards particular classes of researchers (for example, more experienced researchers).

I have participated in many discussion during the last twelve months concerning what a click-to-rate (think: digg) academic peer review appartus would look like. Here’s Citemine’s take on the process:

  1. Sign up. Get reals.
  2. Spend your reals by submitting manuscripts or buying a stake in someone else’s manuscript.
  3. Gain reals when someone cites a manuscript that you hold a stake in or when you sell your stake at a profit, including the stake you hold in your own papers.
  4. Lose reals when you sell your stake in a manuscript at a loss or when you submit a manuscript that nobody thinks will be cited.
  5. It’s peer review, but not as you know it!

Honestly, I’d have preferred it if Citemine hadn’t conceptualized a community’s assessment of the repute in which a scholarly publication is held in economic terms, but my semantic quibbles do not alter the fact that this is a powerful tool that could affect the sort of change to the peer review process that has been widely debated concerning a means of bestowing community approval upon research.

Content is published (think of it as having the status of a journal’s blog post at this point), considered and rated by a community, and having attained a certain level (how that would be defined remains moot) of acceptance, is considered to have been formally published. Alternatively, leave out the two-stage process altogether (which I’ll concede to being conceptually aligned to the journal model of publication, which need not persist) and simply deploy strong subject filters in order to help users find, read, and rate content.

What do you think would happen if PLoS or BioMed Central experimented with a Citemine-like functionality within their platforms?


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