Social Authorship

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= an aspect of the Peer Review process which could be made more explicit:


Comment by Marco Gillies (Goldsmiths College London) on Peer Review and interdisciplinarity:

"Bedeian, in his article on peer review (Bedeian, 2004) identifies the social authorship inherent in peer review. This paper stresses the negative aspects of social. I would disagree on this matter, because social authorship and discussion can produce better work, by bringing new insights of which the original author was not aware, as well as correcting errors.. So what is the problem in the case of PR? One issue that Ietto-Gillies identifies is the power relation involved. But another point that she does not stress is the lack of visibility and attribution of the social authorship. A process of revision, that can change the opinions expressed in the paper to ones different from the authors, and addition of elements by the reviewers, occurs completely invisibly from the final readers. The post-hoc comments system would make this process much more visible and turn it into a proper debate. This should be supported by a system that allows authors (completely at their own discretion) to progressively refine papers in light of comments. Ideally there would be a history system where previous versions are retained so that readers can get a full picture of the debate. One possible result is that authors might tend to upload work in progress (e. g. pilot studies) even earlier in order to get comments and start debate (and probably to get an early priority). This would mean that the positive aspects of social authorship could go much deeper, influencing the research while it progresses, without so many of the negatives.

Reference: Bedeian, A. G., (2004), 'Peer Review and the Social Construction of Knowledge in the Management Discipline', Academy of Management Learning and Education, 3(2): 198-216.

Source: Comment by Marco Gillies on “XI-century alternative to XX-century peer review ”, real-world economics review, issue no. 47, 3 October 2008, p. 256,