Googlebombing comes to science

gpeerreview – Google Code

We intend for the peer-review web to do for scientific publishing what the world wide web has done for media publishing. As it becomes increasingly practical to evaluate researchers based on the reviews of their peers, the need for centralized big-name journals begins to diminish. The power is returned to those most qualified to give meaningful reviews: the peers. As long as big journals provide a useful service, this tool will only enhance their effectiveness. But the more they take months to review our publications, and the more they give unqualified reviews, and the more they force us to clear irrelevant hurdles prior to publication, and the more they lock up our works behind fees and copyright transfers, the more this tool will provide an alternative to their services.

The web-of-reviews thing seems like a plausible idea, but I’m betting on pretty quick degeneration into manipulation and backscratching. What might be interesting, in fields that are big enough to resist de-anonoymizing analysis, would be some kind of system where reviews are (facially at least) anonymous, with a distillation of the reviewer’s publication record or some other set of credentials taking the place of actual identity.

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