The Third Reviewer…has added Microbiology!

I intended to comment on this site when it first hit the internetz… but didn’t get around to it. Drugmonkey did a great job of introducing The Third Reviewer about a month ago. For those of you not in the know, this site pulls in feeds from multiple  journals in a given area of interest,  neuroscience was the first field represented, and allows anonymous, pseudonymous, and real-life identity commenting. Online journal club. When the site was introduced originally,  Dr. O chimed in to gauge enthusiasm for incorporating other disciplines, including my fave- Microbiology. Dr. Zen also weighed in to voice his opinion that anonymous commenting doesn’t help things… Hmmmm…. I disagree. Why do we do anonymous peer review of papers and anonymous grant reviews etc etc etc. ?!

Anyway-, if you go have a look you can see that Microbiology has now been added to the site as a second discipline….with a very small set of journals for now. I’m betting that this page will expand in the future, and the site will continue to expand to other disciplines as well.

So- go over there and comment, comment, comment anonymously to your heart’s content!

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10 thoughts on “The Third Reviewer…has added Microbiology!

  1. This will be good for science. Anonymous posts allow for open discussion based on argument quality instead of author rank.

  2. I agree that I think anonymous commenting is good! Who really cares about where comments are coming from you are getting the judgements from other people whether they put their name their or not.

  3. I think The Third Reviewer is Win Factor Nine. I hope it takes off.

    inre this whole anonymity thing, talk about the turd evading the U-bend, isn’t it. Surely we can give The Third Reviewer a year or so after attaining some popularity and then simply address the data? There’s no point getting bent out of shape with hypothetical ifs and buts.

    BTW, where it could get interesting is when actual peer reviewers wade in… especially inre papers that they previously rejected…

    Bring it, Frustrated (third?) Reviewer*!

  4. This is logical and was inevitable. The next step is to drop the Nature/Science model completely and have employer institutions do their own web publishing. US Government funds most of this research BUT German company owns Nature magazine. Government could save a lot of money requiring scientists who take the people’s money put their work in public domain via low cost web publishing.

  5. Fusion, I think you’re absolutely right. I find it hard to envision a future for conventional scientific publishing.

    Journals were vital in the past because they were the only means of communicating science efficiently. In that environment, journals could draw most of their revenue from subscription fees, which were attracted on the basis of acquiring important, quality science. Peer review being an important gate-keeper to determine which research was worthy of investing in to publish. But now, with the internet slashing publishing costs to negligible levels (the price of hosting the data and some trivial formatting) and search engines rendering marketing pointless (Pubmed is the great equaliser), the only way to realistically draw revenue has been to resort to a vanity press strategy with as reduced an operating cost as possible (see the new Nature Communications online journal to observe how even a powerhouse like Macmillan has been reduced to what’s considered in the industry as the lowest form of publishing).

    But, yes, in the current period of tight money supply, I’m not sure how long the NIH is going to stand by while the vanity presses fleece its budget for $10K an article, when the value of the product is already almost entirely dependent on the work of its funded investigators, and the publishing costs are non-existent. Where is the value added on the publishing front? Prestige is the only answer, but there’s only a finite period of time that the likes of Science and Nature can argue their fees on the basis of a prestige they earned in regular publishing in a previous pre-internet century.

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