Nature’s Open Peer Review Experiment Closed

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:

Despite the significant interest in the trial, only a small proportion of authors opted to participate. There was a significant level of expressed interest in open peer review among those authors who opted to post their manuscripts openly and who responded after the event, in contrast to the views of the editors. A small majority of those authors who did participate received comments, but typically very few, despite significant web traffic. Most comments were not technically substantive. Feedback suggests that there is a marked reluctance among researchers to offer open comments.
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?