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Archive for Friday, December 22, 2006

Science journal cuts online peer review

December 22, 2006

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— Citing a lack of participation, the British journal Nature said Thursday it was ditching a closely watched online experiment that allowed scientists to comment on their peers' research before publication.

The four-month trial, which began in June, was aimed at democratizing the peer review process, a time-honored tradition in which a group of select scholars critique scientific manuscripts and decide what appears in print.

In the Nature experiment, authors whose manuscripts were selected for traditional peer review also could opt to have them simultaneously posted on the Internet for feedback by rank-and-file scientists. Journal editors then weighed both sides when deciding whether a paper gets published.

The experiment generated high online traffic, about 5,600 page views a week, according to Nature. But it ultimately was canceled because few authors participated and many of the online comments were nothing more than "nice work."

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