And when they do… Seriously, from Amy Harmon at New York Times:
Handful of Biologists Went Rogue and Published Directly to Internet
On Feb. 29, Carol Greider of Johns Hopkins University became the third Nobel Prize laureate biologist in a month to do something long considered taboo among biomedical researchers: She posted a report of her recent discoveries to a publicly accessible website, bioRxiv, before submitting it to a scholarly journal to review for “official’’ publication.
And what about the “name” journals?
Researchers say they participate in the process in large part because the imprimatur of highly selective journals like Science, Nature and Cell has come to be viewed as a proxy for quality science. Like a degree from certain colleges, a study in an elite journal can be a passport to jobs, funding and promotions. More.
What’s happening to journals is really just a subset of what’s happening to legacy mass media.
They’re not gatekeepers anymore, not because they are unworthy but because they are no longer essential for communication. Standards are still essential for science, but a post-internet world must develop standards in different ways
Nobelist Randy Shekman was a pioneer of this trend. He just told off the journals after his Nobel because he no longer needs them.
Here’s a thought: Would the uproar around the retracted “creator” paper have gone the same way apart from the sclerotic journal system? Weak, dying systems are especially vulnerable to the Hair Trigger Outrage Machine that got in top gear on that one.
See also: Another Nobelist denounces peer review
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Hat tip: Pos-Darwinista