|The system of scientific print journals has some well-known imperfections.
WPE is designed to remedy five of them.
When an article is submitted to a print journal, it is first sent
to one or more editors, who then send it to several anonymous reviewers
who do not necessarily know the author(s). They then return their
reviews, and the editor makes a decision whether to accept the article
as is, require revisions, get more reviews, or reject the article
outright. This review and revision process takes months. If an article
is not accepted the first time (a common occurrence), the article's
author can take years to find a journal editor who provides an accepting
set of reviewers.
Once the article
and revisions are accepted, the publication process begins. The
manuscript is sent to a layout artist who puts it into the journal's
format and then sends the "galley" back to the author
for review. The author corrects the inevitable mistakes, and returns
the galley back to the printer. The journal issue is then composed,
printed, and sent to the subscribers. This publication process can
take months to years!
There is no
need for such delay. An online journal can get research to readers
within minutes of submission and the process of review, debate,
and replication can get started immediately.
The current system of prepublication, anonymous peer review results
in articles being rejected for unsupportable reasons and accepted
despite glaring errors. Scientists have no idea how many articles
are not printed just because the authors gave up on finding an understanding
set of editor and reviewers. WPE offers a system of post-publication
peer reviews done by scientists who sign and defend the reviews.
The same process of delay and imperfect peer review affects the
ability of scientists to conduct debates on findings. Again, this
slows the pace of Science. WPE offers a place for scientists to
conduct rapid exchanges to clarify, understand, and then assess
Even world-class university libraries cannot subscribe to all the
print journals in psychology, and not everyone lives near a world-class
library. The Web can allow the world's readers access to research
findings (and the resulting debate) quickly and for free.
Even with the multitude of print journals, the rejection rate remains
unnecessarily high. WPE allows many more research findings to be
presented, reviewed, debated, and replicated quickly.