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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?


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    • Jan 16 2013: Hi Kate, Thanks for the comment. I don't envision that there would be a lot of costs to recover, as I mentioned in the response to Fritzie. The cost is usually associated with publishers, and if that is eliminated, each author or institution will store their own articles and deal with the discussions. There may be added costs to maintaining the website, but for universities and similar institutions it would be negligible. The idea is not necessarily to have all the articles in one place, but for them to be searchable, on the authors' sites.

      There is a lot that is unjust in the publishing world and it really needs to end. We consider ourselves to be civilized and we should act accordingly, I agree. Cheers.
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      Jan 16 2013: 'That is a real hazard of being sensitive, 'special' and having a strong history of depression. '

      I'm sorry, but what?!
      The government went on a complete onslaught against this guy.
      They bankrupted him (out of Millions), pushed aside all companies/parties involved and made it beyond clear to everyone that they're not going to let this go until he's hit with a 35 year sentence and a enough fines to bankrupt his family (estimated, another million).

      This was in no way a legitimate legal case. They went out of their way to make an example out of this guy and get rid of him and sadly he didn't have the capacity to cope (or escape to China and then do it all again x50 for their government which I would have done in a goddamn instant, had America pulled this on me).

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