Comments in epijournals: we may learn from Wikipedia

I think comments in epijournals (or whatever other form of Open Access from A to Z) should be considered as a service to the community. Don’t believe me and please form your own opinion, considering the following adaptation of Wikipedia:Core content policies.

The motivation of this post is to be found in the dispute over the value of commenting, happening in the comments to the post “Why I’ve also joined the good guys” by Tim Gowers. There you may find both pros and cons for allowing comments to articles “published” in epijournals.  Among the cons were comparisons of such comments to comments in blogs, fear that comments will actually damage the content, fear that they will add too much noise and so on.

In reply I mentioned in one comment Wikipedia.  Because Wikipedia is  one big example of a massively networked collaboration which does provide quality content, even if it is not hierarchically regulated. Please consider this: Wikipedia has a way to deal with vandalism, noise, propaganda and many other negative phenomena which, in the opinion of some, may damage those epijournals which will be willing to provide the service of commenting published articles.

I shall try therefore to learn from Wikipedia’s experience. The wikipedians evolved a set of principles, guidelines and policies which may be adapted to solve this  problem our  community of mathematicians have.

In fact, maybe Wikipedia rules could improve also the peer-review system. After a bit of thinking, if we are after a system which selects  informed comments, done by our peers, then we are talking  about a kind of peer-review.

What is the purpose of comments? Are they the same as peer-review?

These are questions I have not seen, please provide me links to any relevant sources where such questions were considered.

Here is my proposal, rather sketchy at this moment (it should be like this, only public discussion could improve or kill it, if inappropriate).

We may think about peer-reviews and comments as if they are wiki pages. Taking this as an hypothesis, they must conform at least to the Wikipedia:Core content policies :

  •  Neutral point of view: “All Wikipedia articles   comments and peer-reviews  must be written from a neutral point of view, representing significant views fairly, proportionately and without bias”.
  • Verifiability: “Material challenged in comments, peer-reviews  and all quotations, must be attributed to a reliable, published source.  Verifiability means that people reading and editing the encyclopedia  epijournal can check that information comes from a reliable source.”
  • No original research: “All material in Wikipedia  comments and peer-reviews must be attributable to a reliable, published source. Articles Comments and peer-reviews may not contain any new analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not clearly advanced by the sources.

To those who will discard this proposal by saying that it is not possible to achieve these policies in practice, I recall: Wikipedia exists. Let’s learn from it.

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24 thoughts on “Comments in epijournals: we may learn from Wikipedia”

  1. When it comes to Wikipedia – for me it was a surprise that it works. But now things are clearer- when there are technical articles, not that many are interested in vandalism, but much more – in creating valuable stuff. And for me it’s both the best human invention since Internet, and a great example to follow.

  2. Piotr, thanks for comments! (If you wish I’ll edit your comments, tell me. The rule on this blog is first time moderated)

    I have a question for you. You are experienced into organizing discussion groups. Would you be interested into starting a project of adapting Wikipedia policies for comments and peer-reviews in epijournals? We could use for this wiki pages, which have talk pages and so on.

    The points are that:
    – somebody has to start to discuss such proposal publicly
    – there should be proposals coming from a collaborative effort (more minds are better than one)
    – by using as starting point the wikipedia rules, this may give new and unexpected ideas. For example, by trying to modify the 3 principles of Wikipedia concerning content, I arrived to ask myself if comments really are different than peer-review and I realized that peer-reviews in particular should satisfy “no original research”. Original research is for articles.

    You see? What is the right modification for “opinion” and “fact” from wiki rules? Are mathematical proofs facts? What is the status of the article under review?

    It would be very nice if groups of enthusiasts start to make concrete proposals, after discussions. These proposals may be then popularized, even from the stage of their inception.

    Discussion groups are very useful, but I am dreaming about a kind of “polymath project” for establishing such a set of rules instead. But I don’t have the experience to start this, you do. I would like to participate to such a project, if you, or other enthusiasts with some experience make this possible by opening a wiki like platform for this.

    What do you think?

    1. (When it comes to editing posts, somewhat I’m used to it; otherwise my posts look crapy, as you see; so: could you please remove all but first paragraphs from the first post there?)

      When it comes to wikipedia policies, once I used it officially as guidelines for one students’ chapter :).

      However, they are no “silver bullets”; and they work only for some stuff. Even where there are controversial articles (e.g. religion, national history) moderation needs to be higher. Also, (unfortunately) there are a lot of articles about companies or software that are almost for sure written by someone with a particular agenda. So even there, when there is not fight to (academic) death1), expecting “good will” sometimes fails.

      In peer-review it’s a different setting than academia:
      * Not many people can meaningfully check things (and checking takes a lot of effort).
      * There is agenda (in ideal academia there isn’t, but here there is an over-competitive word + people want to push their ideas + people don’t want to have a row with someone that may decide their future, etc).
      * There _is_ original research (actually, original research is the fundamental thing in academia); even a review paper is not only a collection of references (unless it’s a paper not in science per se, but it history/sociology of science)2).
      * In Wikipedia contributions (and also – remarks) diffuse; in academia in may be dangerous.
      * Research articles are much more sensitive than wikipedia pages (vide changing one sentence in a history book makes one sentence wrong, changing one sign in a science article may make the whole article wrong), so small edits can be used to mask serious concerns (so as in software, when one loop starting from i=1, not i=0, may make algorithm not functional).

      So, for that reason, I’m much more in the line of “make comments like (software) issue tracking”:
      * Points are separated and up-to-point (BTW: also comments like “nice paper, but I don’t think that is is of general interests” are common yet unhelpful).
      * Issues (and comments on them) are signed – there no confusion is something was raised (and no easy way to mask a concern).
      * There is workflow/history – if a concern was accepted and fixed, or closed because it was unnecessary (also – proper argumentation is needed), or – still open.

      So, as in Wikipedia: open system.
      Unlike Wikipedia: strict structure, more explicit history, workflow oriented to make it explicit whether a remark was accepted or not.

      1) People are not hired or fired for Wikipedia contributions… unless they do to much of them, instead of working ;).
      2) Sure, it’s bad when a reviewer in facts asks you to expand research site of the paper according to his taste (“Want a different research? Great – do it on your own.”). But concerns may (and often are – novel). If you need to resort to a textbook to show that someone is wrong – then there is a serious flaw; usually flaws are less serious (or – obvious).

      1. Re Piotr Migdal #4:

        “When it comes to wikipedia policies, once I used it officially as guidelines for one students’ chapter :) .”

        Nice! So I have the same idea!

        “However, they are no “silver bullets”; and they work only for some stuff. ”

        I agree, but we have an advantage over wikipedians (says the propagandist…), we have somewhere to to start from. Anyway, I appreciate very much facts like the purpose of their policies is not to punish contributors, like they write that the policies are to be considered work in progress, the collaborative and common sense they use for a greater purpose.

        “*There is agenda (in ideal academia there isn’t, but here there is an over-competitive word + people want to push their ideas + people don’t want to have a row with someone that may decide their future, etc).”

        There always will be an agenda, but more open is it, the better. Don’t forget that we are all an idealistic bunch of not stupid people who decided to do research instead of money (which is not bad, but also not the only purpose in life).

        “* There _is_ original research …”

        Original research for articles, no original research for peer-reviews, in the sense both precise and subtle use by wikipedia. A math proof or counterexample, see xbad#5, is a powerful argument, like a good way of describing a subject.

        “* In Wikipedia contributions (and also – remarks) diffuse; in academia in may be dangerous.”

        Agree, that is why for wikipedia too one may comment anonymously, but they evolved efficient ways of keeping things decent and, in the same time, not punishing in the name of the truth (we may be inclined to do this, as researchers, more than others, but this is not helping the goal, which is to adapt the print system to the new net system).

        “So, for that reason, I’m much more in the line of “make comments like (software) issue tracking”:
        * Points are separated and up-to-point (BTW: also comments like “nice paper, but I don’t think that is is of general interests” are common yet unhelpful).”

        Totally agree.

        “* Issues (and comments on them) are signed – there no confusion is something was raised (and no easy way to mask a concern).”

        I was thinking the same, until I read in the wiki policies that in fact they are not after punishing bad actions of contributors. Amazing that it works, great lesson, though.

        “* There is workflow/history – if a concern was accepted and fixed, or closed because it was unnecessary (also – proper argumentation is needed), or – still open.”

        Agree: now becomes more clear in my mind

        Peer-review = wiki page (multi-edited, evolving in time)

        Comment \subset TALK page associated to the wiki page.

        “2) … ”

        Agree, but what you mention are in fact OPINIONS, not FACTS (like a math proof), so opinions may be mentioned in the comments (on the TALK page), but they are eventually filtered and turned into something more useful until they find their place in the peer-review ( i.e. wiki page).

  3. I don’t understand how this is supposed to work. Wikipedia policies were devised to promote creation of an encyclopedia, which is not the same kind of activity as creating new knowledge. In Wikipedia, anything that is potentially controversial must be sourced (to the secondary – not primary – literature).

    Applying the “verifiability” criterion to research journals could prevent original research from ever getting published. If this is supposed to work the way things work on Wikipedia, the criterion implies that if a peer reviewer challenges a statement made in a manuscript, and if the author is unable to provide a citation to previously published literature backing up the statement, then the statement must be removed. By definition, an original idea or discovery will not already have been published.

    The “no original research” clause seems to imply that a peer reviewer cannot make a critique based on their own knowledge and expertise unless they can point to a published source. That would be problematic in mathematics. If a reviewer finds a hole in the logic of a proof or produces a counterexample to a claim made in a paper, are they going to be required to go out and publish their finding before they are allowed to comment?

    Even “neutral point of view” seems wrong. In mathematics there isn’t usually much controversy about the validity of an argument. What does “representing significant views fairly” mean in this context?

  4. Re: xbad#4. “Applying the “verifiability” criterion to research journals…” No. no, these criteria should apply to COMMENTS and PEER-REVIEWS, not to research articles.

    “The “no original research” clause seems to imply that a peer reviewer cannot make a critique based on their own knowledge and expertise unless they can point to a published source.”

    Right, original research is for articles only! The wiki page on “no original research” describes in great detail what this means. For example, I cite from that page:
    “To demonstrate that you are not adding OR, you must be able to cite reliable, published sources that are directly related to the topic of the article, and directly support the material being presented.”

    A math proof IN A PEER_REVIEW is an argument which can be used in a comment or review like in this example: “Theorem 3.12 from the article under review contradicts theorem 2 [4]. Proof: …” (where [4] is another article, published source).

    “Even “neutral point of view” seems wrong. In mathematics there isn’t usually much controversy about the validity of an argument. What does “representing significant views fairly” mean in this context?

    Let me give you two three examples of reviews which are not neutral:

    “The article under review proposes alternative proofs of well-known results by X, Y, Z.” [the reviewer forgets to tell that the proofs may be interesting because are shorter than originals, or they use arguments from an unexpected field, or they use in an unexpected way known results]

    “The article under review does not add much to the subject, which was extensively explored [by the reviewer and his friends] X, Y, Z’ [the reviewer forgets to tell that he is in conflict of interests, also omits that exists also U, V, and W who also studied the same subject from a different viewpoint, which may be relevant in order to appreciate the article]

    “The main theorem of the article under review is not at all interesting because it is too weak to solve the Conjecture C” [where C is the obsession of the reviewer, who thinks C is the most important in the field. However, the author stated in the introduction of the article that his theorem does not solve C, but opens a way to attack D, which is outside of the competence of the reviewer]

    Finally, let us not forget that wiki pages were not born instantly. Each page is the result of several edits, from several contributors. That is why I like to think about a peer-review as the equivalent of a wiki page and to think about comments as being the TALK page part of the wiki page (each wiki page has an associated TALK page which can be consulted by anyone).

    1. Yes, I see that I misunderstood how the “Verifiability” criterion was to be applied.

      But I’m still not convinced that the Wikipedia model is applicable to scientific peer review. On Wikipedia, a lot of energy is expended in bureaucratic squabbling. The bottom line for me is that time spent debating whether a peer reviewer’s critique of a paper constitutes “original research” would be better spent figuring out whether it is correct.

      There is a fine line between “original” and “derivative”. Where that line is placed can depend on how obvious a particular chain of reasoning is to a given mathematician. Your example,

      “Theorem 3.12 from the article under review contradicts theorem 2 [4]. Proof: …” (where [4] is another article, published source)

      might very well be considered original research on Wikipedia since it contains an original proof, which, it could be argued, “serves to advance a position not clearly advanced by the sources”, especially if the proof is not immediate to most people. See also the discussion of “original synthesis” in the “Wikipedia:No original research” article; “original synthesis” would seem to include most mathematical proofs. Wikipedia’s policy clearly restricts editors to the activity of rewriting (in their own words) information contained in reliable secondary sources. Anything that analyzes or draws inferences based on information in those sources is disallowed.

      Regarding “neutral point of view”: your examples make clear that the subjective element is present, even in mathematics. But presumably there will be multiple peer reviewers, which will give readers the chance to see what the range of opinion on the subject is.

      1. Agree with your comment, with some additions:

        1. “On Wikipedia, a lot of energy is expended in bureaucratic squabbling. ” Compared to the traditional peer-review, which takes many months (not for the reviewers to read the paper, let’s be honest), or compared to the bureaucracy involved in article retractions, where flaws or plagiarism could have been easily detected by a public scrutiny?

        2. On OR, proofs are arguments, a wiki page is full of strings of words which are not links to other pages, but forming an argumentation, without being OR. Anyway, do you know about examples of peer-reviews which could be published as articles (i.e. containing original research)?

        3. “But I’m still not convinced that the Wikipedia model is applicable to scientific peer review.” Me neither, only that it helps to look at how others solved a not so different problem, instead of starting from scratch. My suggestion is to use the wiki policies as a sandbox for designing useful policies for the next generation peer-review.

        As you write: “presumably there will be multiple peer reviewers, which will give readers the chance to see what the range of opinion on the subject is.”

        We are facing a new model of scientific communication. In fact academia was never good at changing models. Last time, when the printing press was invented, let me cite from this page:

        “At that time, the act of publishing academic inquiry was controversial, and widely ridiculed.”

      2. I can’t seem to reply to your reply, so I’m replying to my own comment. Hope this ends up in the right place.

        Some more comments:

        1. “Compared to the traditional peer-review, which takes many months (not for the reviewers to read the paper, let’s be honest), or compared to the bureaucracy involved in article retractions, where flaws or plagiarism could have been easily detected by a public scrutiny?”

        Many authors send manuscripts to colleagues and other experts for comment before submitting, which helps detect flaws prior to formal peer review. I think this is preferable in many respects to a public process. arXiv has some form of plagiarism detection for submissions. In addition, posting on arXiv before submitting for peer review means there’s some chance flaws will be detected early. This has happened to me; in my case someone noticed a problem with a proof I had written and emailed me; I was able to correct the problem before submitting the paper to the journal.

        I’m very much in favor of public scrutiny. What I’m less certain about is using a Wikipedia-like infrastructure for this. I’m just not sure what it adds. In my own case, both the other participant and I were probably more comfortable carrying on the discussion by private email than either of us would have been doing so in the public eye. Of course, there might be situations were public discussion would be beneficial–for example where no single individual had the expertise needed to evaluate a claim, but the community collectively did. For that, policies would need to be put in place to make things run smoothly.

        There are, of course, instances where authors refuse to acknowledge an error pointed out in private correspondence or where an article is so old that the authors are no longer available or interested in revisiting the work. For situations like that it would be valuable to have a place for public comments.

        By bureaucratic squabbling on Wikipedia, I’m thinking of an exchange I witnessed on the talk page of an article about a famous academic. There was rough consensus that the article contained a statement that misrepresented the views of the article’s subject, but the editors were unable to come to agreement to remove the false statement since the knowledge that it was false derived only from personal correspondence with the person, and therefore constituted “original research”.

        2. “On OR, proofs are arguments, a wiki page is full of strings of words which are not links to other pages, but forming an argumentation, without being OR. Anyway, do you know about examples of peer-reviews which could be published as articles (i.e. containing original research)?”

        I haven’t seen a referee’s report that could stand alone as a research article. But what about some thing along the lines of “condition 2 in the statement of Theorem 1 can be dropped for the following reason…”? I’ve seen plenty of acknowledgment sections citing “the anonymous referee” for contributions such as this.

        I once refereed a paper where the authors stated a theorem and cited an unpublished proof by another mathematician. I pointed out that a stronger statement could be made, and gave a short proof. The authors declined to change the text of their article and suggested in their rejoinder that I publish my proof, which was not something that I felt worth doing.

        The problem with applying the Wikipedia policy on original research to scientific discourse is that ordinary scientific discourse contains many of the kinds of inferences that Wikipedia expressly disallows. In particular, a Wikipedia article may not contain an argument that has not been made in a published secondary source, even if there is a published source for each individual step in the argument.

      3. Re: xbad January 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm (I see now that the #’s of the comment change, they’re not a reliable reference). You make many interesting points. I shall answer in more detail after some thinking, but:

        1. Nobody says we have to do everything online, in plain view. There is no reason why anybody should be forced to make a public comment instead of sending a private e-mail. The real point is to come to accept that we may improve the system by adding a new feature.

        2. What do you think about the argument from the post Peer-reviews don’t protect against plagiarism and articles retraction. Why? Basically, many papers which are later retracted, have flaws which could have been detected by a public, open peer-review.

        3. For some, open peer-review is not such a revolutionary idea, see the article by Stefan Winter What Do Journals Do? – Voluntary Public Goods and the Doomsday of Commercial Science Publishing, starting from page 5 (although the whole article is an interesting read).

        4. Concerning Wikipedia as a model, I am not arguing about taking the policies as they are, but to take from there the skeleton and modify it according to our needs.

        5. If you arrive to say that there is a continuum between articles and comments then I agree. But I feel that somehow many would be upset ;)

        6. Thanks to a comment indicated by a permalink is better than thanks to the anonymous reviewer.

      4. In my response to your post I was mainly taking issue with the use of Wikipedia as a model, not with the idea of open peer itself, so I agree with a lot of what you say. I do have serious concerns though.

        Regarding detection of plagiarism, I wonder why this is not already handled automatically by software? That would seem to be more efficient than peer review, whether open or closed.

        As for detection of major flaws that might lead to retraction, I wonder how much open peer review will help? There are probably many wrong published results that will never be questioned simply because nobody cares enough to inspect them closely. By the same token, such results probably do little harm for exactly the same reason: nobody is using them.

        Retraction is more likely when a result makes a splash, since then lots of people will be scrutinizing it. But usually the splash comes after the result has been published. Before a result has been “certified” by peer review, not many people will be willing to spend time on it, given the sheer volume of papers being produced that one might want to read instead. It may be that being published in a reputable journal may necessary in order to get people to pay attention.

        This brings me to my three main concerns about open peer review:

        1) Independence of reviews is lost. With closed peer review, the editor may form a tentative opinion before sending the paper out for review. Often there are multiple referees. The referees work in isolation from each other and from the editor, and therefore come to independent conclusions. If the referees’ reports conflict with each other or with the editor’s opinion, the paper may be sent to additional reviewers. After all this, the authors have the chance to respond.

        In an open system, the first person to review may unduly influence subsequent reviews, or may attract further like-minded reviews, as people “pile on”, especially if the initial review is critical. That may make it less likely that a contrary opinion will be forthcoming.

        2) A paper no longer has the chance for a fresh start. Suppose your paper is rejected due to a highly prejudiced review. In the closed system, you can simply send it to a different journal, and hope for a more fair-minded referee. In an open system, that negative review will always be out there for every potential reader or prospective employer to see. For most papers, there will be few reviews, so such negative reviews may have unwarranted influence.

        3) Systematic review of all papers may disappear. In the current system, every reasonable submission gets a review. The establishment of an open system may eventually lead to the belief that voluntary reviewing is sufficient, and that if a paper has no reviews, it probably wasn’t that interesting to begin with. If mandatory reviewing disappears, I expect there will be many papers that never get reviewed. Many academics in small institutions depend on the current system for certification of their work, which is needed for career advancement. But their work may not be in the mainstream, and may get neglected. I also worry that long or difficult papers, highly original work, or papers on unpopular subjects might not get reviewed. Without the sense of obligation provided by an editor, not many people will tackle such papers voluntarily.

  5. When it comes to you examples.

    In my experience, many comments by reviewers were mainly:
    – on some omissions, typos, etc,
    – “I don’t understand why (15) follows from (14)” (either explicitly or “by example” when it is obvious form me that someone did not understand a given part),
    – questions like “Why did you assume X?”, “Couldn’t you generalized (11) to …?” open ended.

    None of 3 referring to literature, however, they are important. If reviewers don’t understand something (or needed to take much more time to understand that I expected), then I try to make it clearer (it’s unlikely that other readers will be much brighter than them). If someone asks a question on motivation etc – maybe the paper lacks of it and even a single sentence would make it clearer (e.g. “I work on real number, because Theorem 3 does not hold for complex numbers” or “…because for complex numbers proof of Theorem 3 is significantly more complex”, etc…).

  6. Re: Piotr Migdal #8

    Nice example, what is the status of questions? Well, is a new category, not comprised in the wiki rules, let’s see what happens. Is not good to over-regulate.

    “If reviewers don’t understand something…”

    That is interesting as well, I wonder how an epijournal may “force” somebody to review. They don’t, the idea is that the final peer-review emerges from the common contribution of peers ;)

    1. No, I can bet a lot that peer-review won’t just emerge (except for a very tiny percent of papers).

      Even among a few people saying that “_someone_ need to do X” (where X is a tedious thing, but everyone knows that it is important) guarantees that no-one is going to do it. With such tasks you need to say “A and B, you are now doing X”. It’s pure psychology + game theory, and it’s why journals need editors (and http://www.scirate.com/ does not work as an epijournal).

      But the thing is that _additionally_ to 2-3 referees people other people can post remarks (most of papers is likely to have no; plus, it’s much simpler to point one error than to go through the whole content).

      And again, for such things, it’s more like software issues than writing (non-research) articles. (BTW: I’m a huge fan of collaborative brainstorming; e.g. on http://offtopicarium.wikidot.com/en:start the main thing is a GoogleDocs where every participants can edit, filling “bio” and talks proposed, and also – comment other things; but here there is no competition + it is error-resilient).

      So when it comes to not overregulating – IMHO more in the taste of StackExchange than Wikipedia.

  7. Re Piotr Migdal#10:

    Re: ” … peer-review won’t just emerge …” then, as Mike Taylor suggests

    “The solution to this is probably for us to write more interesting papers.”

    Re: “more in the taste of StackExchange than Wikipedia.” yes why not? Provided that somebody makes some platform well suited for public discussions about this.

    1. No. Just no.

      What I said is about effort people are willing to contribute (when they value contribution in the same way, just – they are said to do vs ” someone needs to”).
      It’s not an experience I read about – I organized quite a few things, and it was by trial and error.

      So, the number of reviewers will drop by something, like 10 times (I’m guessing, but as well it can be much more). Also, bear in mind that for a single Wikipedia entry on academic topic there are many, many papers (BTW: even for the whole theoretical physics, and with Q&A which are way simpler than reviewing, it was not possible to gather a critical mass of participants, see http://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/130361/why-did-theoretical-physics-fail).

      Moreover, it may (and will) people associated with an author be more inclined to review.

      > “The solution to this is probably for us to write more interesting papers.”

      Here there are two problems: total number of reviewers would be still a lot less.
      Second, it will reinforce “feudal” positions, affiliations, etc. When people basing only on authors, title and affiliations are going to whether review, they will be big bias for already big guys, at prestigious universities, etc.

      > “more in the taste of StackExchange than Wikipedia.” yes why not?
      > Provided that somebody makes some platform well suited for public discussions about this.

      I need to repeat myself:
      * because it reassembles more issue tracking than blissful brainstorming (honestly, have you ever used any issue tracking software?)
      * such whiteboards assuming a lot of good will (e.g. not signing with someone’s other name, not changing someone’s content in a malicious way), which is unlikely to hold in case of conflicts of interests (no, unfortunately scientists are not a bunch of hippies: when job opportunities at scarce, at least to my experience, scientists are more competitive than, say, programmers (compare: no such thing as “open” projects in academia, no hackathons… but strong pressure in how much one can publish in which journals)).

  8. Re Piotr Migdal#12

    Re: “So, the number of reviewers will drop by something, like 10 times (I’m guessing, but as well it can be much more). ”

    Then how you explain the wave of articles retractions and plagiarism detections lately? These whistleblowers are in fact peer-reviewing! I just wrote about this here. So, no! I think what you say will not be supported by evidence in the future.

    Re: “Second, it will reinforce “feudal” positions, affiliations, etc. When people basing only on authors, title and affiliations are going to whether review, they will be big bias for already big guys, at prestigious universities, etc.”

    Will reinforce, will be big bias … compared to what? Because if we compare with the actual situation then I don’t see how public exposure could enforce such biases. On the other side, let’s not forget we are all researchers, intelligent idealistic people, whatever “feuds” we want to control, we are not going to go at war and hang the whistleblowers by the neck until they’re dead.

    Re: “I need to repeat myself: …”

    I don’t understand your point, I am talking about a platform for a public discussion about comments, peer-reviews and whatnot in epijournals, I am not talking of making a platform for said epijournals from scratch.

    UPDATE:

    Re: “no such thing as “open” projects in academia, no hackathons… but strong pressure in how much one can publish in which journals”

    Yes, that is for the next generation maybe, let’s stay still and transfer to them the problem.

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