Sunday, December 20, 2009

Paper, peer review, and vested interests [Guest Editorial]

Boggs, S.  

This paper appears in: Electrical Insulation Magazine, IEEE
Publication Date: November-December 2009
Volume: 25,  Issue: 6
On page(s): 3-3
ISSN: 0883-7554
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/MEI.2009.5313703
Current Version Published: 2009-11-20

Peer review goes back to at least 1665 with the founding of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. However peer review did not become well established until the middle of the last century. For example, Einstein's 1905 papers in Annalen der Physik were not subjected to a peer review process. The purpose for which peer review was established is not clear. The probable motives include a combination of rationing of (then) very expensive journal pages, catching obvious errors, and at least some degree of quality control on what is published. The question now is "Do past models make sense in the world of the Internet?", as today, on-line published pages are essentially free and continuous on-line review and rebuttal is practical.

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