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The Future of Scientific Publication

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journal contribution
posted on 01.02.2009, 00:00 by Walter Noll

It has become a truism to say that the Internet is changing the world. Tim Berners-Lee invented the Internet protocol in 1980 to facilitate sharing and updating information among researchers at CERN, the European highenergy facility in Geneva, Switzerland. Now, many scientists all over the world use the Internet to retrieve information. Yet the system of scientific publication is mainly still the traditional one: A scientist writes a research paper, a monograph, or a book, and submits the manuscript to a scientific journal or publisher. An editor sends the manuscript to referees who recommend for or against publication. The whole thing is called “peer review”. More about it later.

The traditional process is extremely expensive, very slow, and deeply flawed. Scientific journals proliferate and libraries have difficulties subscribing to all of them. Books, especially textbooks, are extremely expensive, and students find it difficult to afford them. Therefore, I would like to propose a system that is much faster, much cheaper, much fairer, and much more efficient:




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