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Re: Open Access and For-Pay Access (to the same IR materials)

In clinical medicine, subsidizing prepublication peer review is more like
subsidizing the postal service or Amtrak than General Motors: it is an
essential service that cannot be abandoned without harm to the public.

In the wake of the scandals over COX-2 inhbitors, I think the conclusion
is that journal editors need to be more, not less, rigorous in peer
review. I certainly don't think peer review is perfect, and I hope we find
ways to improve it and perhaps make it more cost-efficient. It would,
however, be reckless and irresponsible to abandon it in medicine.

I am troubled by how often I hear arguments like Joe's, which are
perfectly sensible in certain nonmedical fields but completely
inapplicable to medicine. Please, we need to think of the safety and
welfare of patients in any overhaul of medical publishing.

Peter Banks
American Diabetes Association
1701 North Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA 22311
FAX 703/683-2890
Email: pbanks@diabetes.org

>>> espositoj@gmail.com 4/28/2005 6:15:02 PM >>>

Subsidizing peer review (that is, prepublication peer review) is like
subsidizing General Motors:  It's a holding action, intended to fend off
the inevitable.  Sooner or later GM will slide into bankruptcy or some
other form of reorganization and we will all wonder why we threw good
money after bad.  Prepublication peer review is an artifact of hardcopy
distribution, which is slow and relatively expensive. With electronic
media peer review will increasingly take place post-publication.  
Software that layers commentary upon publications will take the place of
the current peer review system.  the earliest forms of this evolving
system (which at this time is not even remotely adequate for scholarly
communications) are such things as threaded messages and blogs, which
provide a running commentary on primary publications.  Will this mean that
during the transitional period there will be lot of sloppiness and
improperly filtered publications?  You bet.  But if we weren't willing to
tolerate sloppiness, we never would have clamored for Open Access, which
is the seditious element.

Joe Esposito