Monday, April 8, 2013

Open Access and Peer Review

Open Access has been a growing trend over the past decade. In the NY Times today there is a critical article referring to interlopers who pretend to be "Academic" publications and are just fronts for collecting fees.

The article states:

But some researchers are now raising the alarm about what they see as the proliferation of online journals that will print seemingly anything for a fee. They warn that nonexperts doing online research will have trouble distinguishing credible research from junk. “Most people don’t know the journal universe,” Dr. Goodman said. “They will not know from a journal’s title if it is for real or not.” 

 Now a non-expert doing on line research is a characterization that I find difficult to understand. I assume it means the patient who goes to some blog web site to seek out someone who has the same ailment and who then comes to their physician with a "cure" that the physician has not been previously made aware of.

Now research when published presents results which can be replicated. Thus if we see a paper with procedures and with references to established work should we reject that if it is in an Open Access source? Was it "peer reviewed"? Frankly "peer review" is often a joke in today's world, in reality it is peer favors. You approve my 40 author paper and I will approve yours.

There once was a time of a single author, Einstein, and then it grew to two, Watson and Crick, but now it appears as the whole Professional Society. Who wrote the paper, who did what, and why the 50 or more authors?

Thus Open Access may become a door for re-establishing the author, finally.