Every scientist should be able to start a scientific journal just as easy as it is to start a blog, preferably together with a group of colleagues.
- Give the journal a name,
- chose a template for how it looks,
- add collaborators and
- start reviewing articles and manuscripts.
I propose to start reviewing already published articles and (ArXiv) manuscripts to demonstrate that we can do at least as good a job as traditional scientific journals.
Even if these article already passed traditional peer review, our reviews can still add value by not only giving a yes/no decision, but also explaining the decision, categorising the article, allowing for post-publican review, specific comments on parts of a study, and rating it on a scale from “technically okay” to “Nature article”. Furthermore, articles on one topic are now spread over many journals, having them all in one grassroots journal is value in itself.
Once we have demonstrated the quality of our peer review, scientists could simply publish their work on a repository and ask for a grassroots review. This kind of open review works well for the open review journals of the European Geophysical Union. The advantage of open review is that the manuscripts are typically of a much higher quality than closed-review manuscripts, which reduces the work for the reviewers.
But later we should also add functionality for closed review of manuscripts.
I have started a first grassroots journal on statistical homogenisation of climate data, my topic, but at the moment we have not reviewed any articles yet. This journal should function as an example how a grassroots journal could look like. This blog will be about general issues in grassroots publishing. The next post will be a draft proposal for a first review system.
In case you read the about page to learn about me: I am a climate scientist working on the quality of climate station data at the University of Bonn in Germany. I blog at Variable Variability about climate data, time series analysis, the US climate “debate”, the scientific community (how it works, including peer review) and about general topics. Here you can also find me first blog post on grassroots scientific publishing.