The New York Times has posted an article discussing a new wave in scholarly journals, reviewing articles online. The main example is Shakespeare Quarterly which made several articles available for review online. These articles were reviewed by several scholars (making up the traditional peer-review) and also by anyone who logged in. The journal has deemed the experiment a success.
I wonder how applicable this format can be in the realm of ancient near eastern archaeology. I’m sure that with, its resemblance to wikipedia style editing and the ability for almost anyone to comment online, some scholars (Jim West, Bob Cargill I’m looking at you) will be hesitant. I think given certain strict guidelines this format could be quite successful.
- Require the same scholarly input as in peer reviewed journals
- Allow anyone to comment as long as there name and information could be authenticated
- To go along with #2, perhaps only subscribers to the journal or people who paid a nominal fee for an online version should be allowed to comment
- Having an online editor of public comments would be necessary as well
- A quicker turnaround must be required, especially of the scholars who are doing the peer-review
The most important point is the fifth one. This faster turnaround is a must even for peer-review journals. In this digital age, where excavations have blogs and are publishing raw data online, scholars must get their information published much quicker. Hopefully this new online format is an impetus for scholarly journals to rethink the way articles are accepted and published.