The process of reviewing scientific papers before they are published seems like an antiquated system, which holds back the rate of progress in scientific research.
The main example of what could be done instead was the flurry of uploading papers to pre-publication servers that happen in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic in the medical research community. It is not that everybody just accepted everything that was published without looking critically at it, but everything was immediately available to everyone else worldwide.
This leads me to think that what we really need here is a different system for doing peer review of scientific research after it has been published.
The post-publication review process
- Anyone can publish their finding wherever they like, on servers like arxiv.org, university or personal websites.
- Review sites will provide interfaces to review specific DOI’s linking to specific version of papers
Prestigious journals like Science and Nature would be the last to transition, but they might just end up being specifically prestigious versions of review sites with strictly curated lists of papers.
Just like we currently have problems with predatory journals the potential problems in this system would be around people using fake accounts to review their own papers positively or trash other peoples papers. I think most of this could be mitigated by the review sites giving higher priority to people that could prove they work at a university through email verification.
I imagine some form of reddit like system for voting up and down other reviews. Some reviews being long and thorough others just adding a single up-vote or one line comment if they agree with the review.