Scholarly Publishing: Unnecessarily Slow in the Modern Era.

The Authorea Team

Scholarly publishing is slow, really slow.  The time from submission to publication takes on average one year, likely an underestimate considering the fact that many authors are forced to submit to multiple publishers.  
Arguably, the publishing process is necessarily slow because work must make it's way through a rigorous peer review system. This would probably be okay if such a system were in fact effective. However, research on the effectiveness of peer review shows that most major errors go unnoticed by reviewers. (Schroter 2008Godlee 1998Baxt 1998Smith 2010)

So-called "stings" have shown that:

  1. computer generated papers can pass peer review (Labbé 2012),
  2. made up work can pass peer review (Bohannon 2013),
  3. and that peer review can turn out to reject studies already published in the journals that previously accepted the same work. (Peters 1982Ceci 2014)

That is not to say that peer review is not without benefits, just that it it is not stopping major errors from being published.  An alternative is to post/publish/preprint work without review--hint: Authorea--and then coordinate review post-publication through traditional routes or through open post-publication peer review platforms--such as F1000Research and The Winnower.  Such a process affords seamless communication amongst scientists without unnecessary delay, eliminates editorial bias, and makes the entire process transparent.  In short, it makes the most sense.

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