Yesterday the scientists at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, announced the results of a series of experiments that, if true, break the laws of physics as we know it. They may have discovered a particle that travels faster than light. Something scientists since Einstein believed was impossible.
In an equally exciting move for the academic and scholarly publishing communities, CERN’s scientists then announced that they would be publishing the results of their experiments online for open peer review. By publishing this paper publicly online, instead of following the traditional submission process, CERN believes that it can benefit from the ‘wisdom of crowds’. This works on the principle that the more physicists working in this field who can be encouraged to review and comment on what are a set of very contentious results the better. Their collective knowledge, scrutiny and insight will, it believes, produce better science, and help discover whether the laws of physics really do need be rethought.
Earlier this week, we published a guest blog post from Amanda Briggs, director of a new scholarly publisher, GSE Research, who argued for just the kind of more open review process for research that CERN turned to this week. So who knows, perhaps the CERN scientists’ decision to ‘open source’ their results, could go down in history as the moment where the peer review process really began to change.
We’ve also done a new round-up of how the scientists decision to publish online has been perceived across social media so far. We hope you find it useful.