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Commentary – Scientific publishing needs to change

University Affairs – While our existing scientific publication system has limited value in this world, the scholarly peer review process is more important than ever.

“…For starters, the purpose of a scientific journal today should not be to publish research – there is no dearth of specialty platforms to publish scientific findings. Instead, what if we were to focus on the function of peer review to curate published discoveries? Experts, namely scientific specialists, are best equipped to comment on the inherent value of new discoveries in their field, provide historical and political context, and direct collection and publication of new information as it is being produced.

Discovery research has an inherent social value. It is financed by people, and whether that funding comes from private or public sources, the end goal is to deliver a better quality of life to the society it is engaging. What if we were to focus the goal of peer review on translating new scientific discoveries to people? Science can advance very slowly at times, stretching discoveries over generations. Even within the scientific community, scientific disciplines today have become so narrowly defined, and breakthroughs so dependent on so many previous lines of discoveries before them, and therefore subject to competing theories, that the inherent value of new discoveries to the public are only really appreciated within the larger context of the field…”

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