I am always delighted to meet other physician bloggers, and such was the case with Bob Wachter, MD, who’s a physician that blogs, and from within academia. That’s rare, and welcomed, by me for sure.
He recently wrote this piece, Will Knols and Blogs Upend the Cozy World of Medical Publishing?, which echoes several ideas I have been having since I started blogging, especially around the idea of, as he calls it, “the democratization of peer review.” (I’m focusing on the comments about medical publishing – the world of Knols appears to be experiencing a rocky ride)
As I occasionally get requests to write for peer reviewed journals or books or I consider writing for them, I have been pausing to ask, “why?”
This is especially when the difference is between instant access and feedback to the people I serve, versus a smaller group of individuals with (potentially) limited experience in the ideas I’m writing about, and the medium I use to write them in. I say this without any predjudice to the publishing community – I am just not sure where physicians in my generation will fit in moving forward, unless the model is changed.
Bob refers to the difference between “Having an article peer reviewed by 3 experts is different than having 17 Joe Six-packs;” however, I’m not sure what the difference is, depending on the issue, between those two constituencies – what’s an expert in if she/he isn’t a person “just like me?” Also, what’s the value of a single (relatively speaking), private, review, that will be locked in time and space, forever? Robert Scoble speaks well to this in the post “Scoble Defends Blogging (Again), and He’s Right (Again).”
I do not work in academia, where people are incentivized/rewarded for the number of peer-reviewed publications with their names on them. I think a deeper question that should be asked, is, “What’s the best way, in this millennium, to produce portable knowledge that can be used by others?” I have talked with innovators in academia who have not shared their knowledge because of the effort required to publish to medical journals. That’s unfortunate.
How could the reward/incentive system in academia be reconfigured to respect the many different ways people can share knowledge, and put them to use to help people? I think it could be, and in turn a lot of great ideas could be unleashed.
Bob mentions in his post that he submitted his piece to two medical journals, who rejected it. However, we still get to read it thanks to Web 2.0.
I’m not even going to try with this one. And I sort of don’t have to.