Peer Review

John Gilbert
Tue 8 Jul 1996 23:40:55 CDT
University of British Columbia

Most of what I have read so far seems to reflect the notion that an E-journal is simply a screen analog of print-on-paper. IF true multimedia can be delivered (not simply promised) by the Web, then the E-journal surely has enormous potential to change the way we transmit scholarly ideas [NOT simply *results*]. To be able to directly speak with an author, to have her walk through her data (whatever the *format*), to lend authority to a script by annotation (not simply two peers "reviewing") will surely help us realize the potential of on-line communication that is simply NOT realizable through print-on-paper. At the moment it is hard to convince colleagues (across the entire scholarly spectrum) that what they say and how they are saying it can almost be done in real-time, with all the potential (and pitfalls) that this offers to scholarly debate.

IF we simply look on E-journals as an electronic equivalent of the blackboard, then the true potential offered by the Web will take forever to be realized. Enough of "The X according to Y" by Blah and Blah of ABC Academy, let's SEE the data in every which form, with light and sound. Let's have an online chance to *ask* the author(s) questions, and then put our responses in the *margins* (as was done 500 years ago). THEN look at how *authority* accrues.