Does the scientific journal have a future? | Information Culture, Scientific American Blog Network
" ... Perhaps we should be asking a different question. Perhaps we should be asking 'Does the scholarly journal have a future?' In 2012, Jason Priem and Bradley Hemminger made the case for a Decoupled Journal, in which the individual services related to publication are performed independently. This vision is now closer to reality. As I look at some of the intriguing developments in scholarly publishing over the last few years, it seems as though most of the functions of the scholarly journals are now also done independently by third parties, making the scholarly journal less and less vital to the publication process. After the manuscript is written, the first step in the publication process is submission. This step can now be handled by posting a pre-print. A growing number of disciplinary repositories accept pre-prints and other manuscripts, as well as offer some kind of version control. The original pre-print server, arXiv.org, has seen incredible growth in recent years, including documents from an expanding number of academic subjects. Support from libraries across the world is helping to ensure its sustainability. In biology, pre-print servers such as PeerJ and BioRxiv are growing, and researchers are making the case for wide-spread acceptance of pre-prints ... After submission, manuscripts are typically reviewed by peers selected by editors or suggested by the authors. Third party peer review systems and open review processes are now taking this on. Authors can now seek out independent reviewers through services such as Rubriq, Axois and others. These services coordinate the peer review (sometimes even paying reviewers!) and authors can take the reviews with them. Open review sites such as PubPeer can provide feedback on papers, allowing authors to make updates and improvements (especially if version control is provided). Of course, journals are used as a proxy for quality: because it was published in Nature, I know it has to be good. This is done on a qualitative basis (brand recognition) and quantitatively (journal metrics, such as the impact factor). But article level metrics (pioneered by PLOS) and alternative metrics (see Altmetric orPlumAnalytics) are now providing more precise measurements of various quality indicators and provide some context for those numbers as well. So right now, in 2014, authors can post manuscripts online, have them re iewed by independent experts, track versions and examine article impact without the need for a scholarly journal ..."