Liquid Publications

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A possible alternative to Peer Review and the ‘publish or perish’ logic of academic publishing



“In a nutshell, the approach proposes the following ideas and contributions:

1. It introduces the notion of Liquid Publications (and, analogously, Liquid Textbooks) as evolutionary, collaborative, multi-faceted knowledge objects that can be composed and consumed at different levels of detail.

2. It abstracts (and replaces) the notions of journals and conferences into collections, which are groupings of publications that can be based on topic and time but also on arbitrary rules in terms of what is included and how the quality of publications is assessed for them to be included in the collection. Collections can themselves be liquid. We believe that journals as they are conceived today (a periodic snapshot of papers on a given topic, selected by a restricted group of experts and based on submissions) will soon become obsolete both in their printed and electronic forms.

3. It proposes a radically different evaluation method for publications and for authors, based on the interest they generate in the community and on their innovative contributions and that is maintained in real time and possibly without reviewing effort (peer reviews can be used as a complement). The method also encourages early dissemination of innovative results. Around these main concepts, we advocate the need for services that benefit authors, readers, reviewers, conference organizers, editorial boards, and even evaluation committees. Examples of such services are an analysis center for helping committees to assess the scientific quality of people and publications, ways for people to bookmark papers or people of interest and to define collections, and an authoring/sharing/versioning environment for maintaining and evolving liquid publications and for the fruition of their content.

Although the change advocated here is dramatic, the transition is not. The current state of affair in knowledge dissemination is at an extreme of the Liquid Publication concepts, where papers are "solid" and static, collections are periodic snapshots of submissions, and evaluation is based on peer review by a team of "experts". The liquefaction and embracing of the concepts proposed here can be gradual to facilitate acceptance by the community at large.” (