- Julie Ann
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A Tribute to Aaron Swartz - Post all academic articles for open public review, and end the traditional peer-review process
I did not know Aaron Swartz but I feel deep grief at his passing, and the circumstances.
I suspect that many people believe that the research of governments and academics belong in the public domain and should be available for all to review or simply access. This would eliminate the need for journals which set up an elite system that decides who can and cannot access the articles.
The idea behind the peer-review process is that others with robust knowledge (hopefully) of the material makes an assessment of the research methodology, accuracy etc etc.
In an open review process, the article would be placed on the institution's or authors' website which is designed to allow discussion. Anyone with interest can read the article and interact with the authors. The reviewers are not anonymous and their names, qualifications, knowledge of the topic will be known and available to the authors. The discussion remains public and online. There will likely be more than the traditional 3 reviewers, and the open discussion would strengthen the critical reviews.
One of the very unfair aspects of Aaron's case is that the real "thieves" are, in many cases, one or more of the listed authors who have not contributed to the articles, have plagiarized or otherwise taken credit for the work of others. The open review process might force some of the dishonesty from academic publications, while fulfilling the hope of open access.
What are your thoughts?