Monday, November 08, 2004

Alternatives to traditional Peer-Reviewing for Journals

Hal R. Varian's "The Future of Electronic Journals." (The Journal of Electronic Publishing, September, 1998 Volume 4, Issue 1) proposes a business model for electronic journals, Varian provides a well-articulated description of the costs for publication of a print journal. This baseline cost is then used to propose a business model for electronic journals.

As it turns out, the primary cost in the production of a journal is in the editing and coordination of the publishing process, not in the production and distribution. In order to make a good case for electronic publishing lowering the cost of publication, the journal needs to develop a means of streamlining the editorial process.

Varian proposes an interesting model at the end of the paper that includes a streamlined editorial process. It also suggests a "social recommender" system that begins with the editors and includes readers in a rating system that can be used for a number of purposes. Similar rating systems are currently in use by systems ranging from Amazon.com to SlashDot.Com