Can editorial peer review survive in a digital environment?


Ann C. Weller, Library of the Health Sciences, Library of the Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1750 W. Polk St., Chicago, IL 60612
The digital environment presents the opportunity for scientists to obtain electronic access to research output through a number of nontraditional routes: institutional repositories, researchersí websites, or journals whose contents are freely available online. Some options present challenges for journals that traditionally published research results after vetting through the editorial peer review process. In addition to preservation and authentication of electronic information, electronic publishers must also assure the integrity of the research results themselves. New publishing endeavors like PubMed Central, physics e-prints, and SPARC (e.g., Organic Letters) may all impact the peer review process. This paper will focus on several aspects of peer review in this new environment: review the standard model, present some working examples of alternatives to the traditional model, evaluate some proposed models, examine the potential impact of electronic publishing, and speculate about the future of peer review and scientific publishing.