I’m curious to see how the new online open access journal PLoS ONE will fare. Papers are published on the site along with reader options to enter annotations and discussion, presumably for response by the authors. I noticed only one article with a discussion posted so far, and it doesn’t seem to have been all that well thought out by the person who posted it. The authors did take the time to respond, but it seemed to me they may have had the same opinion.
Typically, if a reader wants to respond to a published paper (through the journal), he or she will have to go to at least a little bit of trouble to do so. Frankly, that effort probably cuts out a good bit of careless riff-raff. By providing a system whereby the reader can immediately generate an off-the-cuff response to a paper that may have been only cursorily skimmed, PLoS ONE may risk becoming a journal filled with comments by exactly the people who will tend to do that. I guess we will see whether this experiment in scientific publishing turns out to be a benefit or a bane, but as it evolves I foresee a stricter discussion policy being developed by the editors.
Filed under: science