Journals but not as we know it

There is an interview on Wired magazine on Harold Varmus, the Nobel laureate and former director of the National Institute of Health. The premise of the article is not on his prize winning exploits but rather his involvement and the setting up of PLoS (The Public Library of Science), which is an open access scientific publishing platform. Many comments and opinions exist on PLoS and its impact but I think the most interesting section of the article is on the new PLoS journal which is due to be launched in the summer called PLoS ONE.

"And this summer, Varmus and his colleagues will launch PLoS One, a paperless journal that will publish online any paper that evaluators deem “scientifically legitimate.” Each article will generate a thread for comment and review. Great papers will be recognized by the discussion they generate, and bad ones will fade away. "Our mission is to transform how science publishing is done,” Varmus says. “We aren’t trying to torpedo the industry. But we are definitely going to change it.” "

This effectively destroys the current peer review system and allows for continuous peer review or an article as more knowledge and opinions develop over the years. It will also permit comment by "experts" that would not have been involved in the traditional peer-review process.

Although there also could be a dark side to the comments where "my paper is better than your paper", or biased comments where a competing interest is evident.

All in all however, I think this is a massive step forward and a massive shake up of the scientific publication process. I hope there is a strong emphasis on providing all the available data in the appropriate standard formats for the domain and if this is the case then I am all for it.

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