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Journal Article

Natural selection of academic papers

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Mazza,  Marco G.
Group Non-equilibrium soft matter, Department of Dynamics of Complex Fluids, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society;

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Perakakis, P., Taylor, M., Mazza, M. G., & Trachana, V. (2010). Natural selection of academic papers. Scientometrics, 85(2), 553-559. doi:10.1007/s11192-010-0253-1.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-2F74-1
Abstract
Academic papers, like genes, code for ideas or technological innovations that structure and transform the scientific organism and consequently the society at large. Genes are subject to the process of natural selection which ensures that only the fittest survive and contribute to the phenotype of the organism. The process of selection of academic papers, however, is far from natural. Commercial for-profit publishing houses have taken control over the evaluation and access to scientific information with serious consequences for the dissemination and advancement of knowledge. Academic authors and librarians are reacting by developing an alternative publishing system based on free-access journals and self-archiving in institutional repositories and global disciplinary libraries. Despite the emergence of such trends, the journal monopoly, rather than the scientific community, is still in control of selecting papers and setting academic standards. Here we propose a dynamical and transparent peer review process, which we believe will accelerate the transition to a fully open and free-for-all science that will allow the natural selection of the fittest ideas.