curating PLoS One
On the Facebook group, Jerry finally admitted that PLoS One was not the journal of the cheeto eating antichrist. It has highly cited articles. It has good papers. It has a high impact factor. In other words, it’s gonna be fine. But Jerry did raise one legitimate issue – how to curate the massive stream of PLoS One papers? There will obviously be many papers of low quality in the PLoS One model.
At first, I thought it was a problem. Then, I realized it wasn’t a problem at all. There are fairly easy ways to curate:
- Self-curation: People can publicize their own work.
- Crowd sourcing: Papers acquire reputation from informal networks. It’s happening on twitter right now.
- Citation count: Papers that the community cites get highlighted.
- Media attention: Papers attracting the media get highlighted.
- Prizes: PLoS – or any other group – can award prizes for excellence.
- Editorial/professional curation: People select good papers within their area of expertise. E.g., “Best PLoS Papers in Nuclear Fission 2014.”
Here’s the ironic thing – ASQ – Jerry’s journal – already curates papers for people who won’t read the whole journal. There is the ASQ award. The ASQ staff reports media mentions for specific papers. The ASQ blog summarizes papers for a larger audience. I couldn’t find it on the current website, but I think ASQ editors used to list papers from recent years fitting with a certain topic. ASQ isn’t alone. Other publishers use similar methods. For example, SSRN lists articles by “most downloaded.” Curation already exists and it works. In other words, Jerry should encourage the PLoS One community to emulate ASQ’s curation practices. It would be generous and help PLoS One reach the next stage in its development.