Nature launched a bold experiment in June 2006 in which scholars could (voluntarily) post their articles for open peer review via a Wiki-like interface. After receiving a number of article submissions that surprised Nature’s editorial staff, the staff were perhaps equally surprised when comments from the broader scholarly community were not forthcoming:
Nature and its publishers will continue to explore participative uses of the web. But for now at least, we will not implement open peer review.
The full report, “Overview: Nature’s peer review trial,” is on Nature’s web site.
I find it interesting (though not entirely surprising) that while many members of the scholarly community were open to receiving feedback from peers in a public forum, they were simultaneously less willing to provide it.
I’m likewise curious to see if an experiment like this aimed more directly at rising scholars — those in the midst of, or having recently completed, their doctorates — might have different results. Or is the tradition of anonymous peer review is so deeply embedded in academia that it trumps these newfangled “web 2.0” tools?