Rolf Zwaan: Pre-publication Posting and Post-publication Review

Most of our participants in ISSST2013 don’t spend too much time thinking about what’s becoming known as the “digital humanities” or “digital scholarship”.

But I do.

I recently found this blog post by Rolf Zwaan that studies dissemination of “pre-publication” findings through digital media and conferences — which is exactly the model that ISSST2013 has adopted.

Zwaan argues that pre- and post-publication review strengthens science.  But traditional journals fail to enable this.  It is thru digital media that readers can make contributions.  In fact, Zwann goes so far as to claim that traditional peer review is destined to become obsolete when he writes, “Can we dispense with traditional peer-review in the future? I think we might. We are probably in a transitional phase right now. Community-based evaluation is where we are heading.

Here the article:

Pre-publication posting and post-publication review will facilitate the correction of errors and will ultimately strengthen published submissions


The traditional peer-review process is not a 100% reliable filter, argues journal editor Rolf Zwaan. It is foolish to view the published result as the only thing that counts simply because it was published. Replication and community-based review are two tools at our disposal for continuously checking the structural integrity of research. Further mechanisms that support tracking the valuable pre- and post-submission discussion are needed to strengthen the publishing process.

There has been much discussion recently about the role of pre-publication posting and post-publication review. Do they have any roles to play in scientific communication and, if so, what roles precisely? Let’s start with pre-publication posting. It is becoming more and more common for researchers to post papers online before they are published. There even are repositories for this. Some researchers post unpublished experiments on their own website. To be sure, like everything, pre-review posting has its downside, as Brian Nosek recently found out when he encountered one of his own unpublished experiments—that he had posted on his own website—in a questionable open access journal not with himself but with four Pakistani researchers as authors. But the pros may outweigh the cons.

Read the rest of this blog here: Rolf Zwaan: Pre-publication Posting and Post-publication Review.

A student of mine recently sent me this link to an overview of the current academic peer-review system. Most academics acknowledge difficulties with the current system, but seem reluctant to change it:

Another student recently sent me a paper that includes an interesting historical perspective of peer review and a study of some alternative web-based tools currently extant. I’ve loaded it into our ISSST2013 box folder here:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>