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Friday, February 22, 2013

Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn as Peer Review Systems

Science is only as robust as its peer review system. But as the number of papers is steadily increasing and the current pre-publication peer review system is crumbling under that weight while becoming a hindrance more than anything, we have to go beyond what is currently proposed. 

Daniel Lemire proposes today to publicly peer review your paper. As you know, this capability exists here on Nuit Blanche and associated extensions as well. Yesterday, I mentioned several ways for your work to be disseminated to a wider audience in A New Discovery Engine. Equally, you will probably have noticed that the following platforms also provide a way for people to review your work. 

At the most basic level, people can already "like" your paper and send a signal such as "Google +1" 
But sometimes, you want to go deeper than a superficial signal and write something that you'd normally only write as a review report when probed by some editor. You now have the means to do so on Nuit Blanche and its associated extensions. It's been there for a while but let's spell it out loud.

If you want to review anonymously a paper, you can:
  • Comment under "anonymous" in the comment section of the blog entry dedicated to that paper. If there are several papers, please mention the paper you are reviewing. 
  • Write a review in the comment section of the CompressiveSensing subreddit (85 people) under a throwaway account. If the paper is not listed there, you can add it to the subreddit and then provide the review in the comment section. It would be great if you'd add Peer Review in the title and a link to the paper you are reviewing (and the version you are reviewing) in the body of the review.
In both cases, as an "owner" of these groups, I will act with ruthlessness on reviews that are plain mean. In short, don't be an a***hole.

If you want to provide some feedback to the author of a paper and not be anonymous, you can comment on social circles that enforce some sorts of real name - identity scheme. Here are the ones we have so far:
In the LinkedIn groups, the RSS feature will be disabled by LinkedIn soon, so what you want to do is reference an arxiv paper or a Nuit Blanche entry. and then start a discussion where you can insert  your review in a commentary. The title of the conversation should include "Peer Review" followed by the name of the paper you are reviewing. 

For some people the act of reviewing may be daunting because you are insecure about to go about it. Here are some easy way to gain strength 
  • Find the typos and lists them in a review.
  • Try running the implementation attendant to the papers and tell the world if they produce what the paper is stating.
Doing just that will get you some credence and respect in the community. 


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1 comment:

Thomas Arildsen said...

Hi Igor,
Thanks for your many suggestions and initiatives that I think can all help us a bit further in the right direction. Still, we really need some centralised place to organize this. Ideally, an open review and -access platform with the potential to replace a traditional journal.
It would be great with a journal like PeerJ for signal processing & friends. I am keeping a close eye on the episciences project in hope for this to answer my prayers (episciences.org).
An overlay to e.g. ArXiv would be a useful solution as well. For example Pierre Vandergheynst has gathered some constructive thoughts on this approach on Google+ recently.
Maybe the recently appeared PubPeer site could fill this role (pubpeer.com)?

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