Wikipedia, Citizendium, Peers and Disciplines

Interdisciplines is running a forum on “Scientific Publications 3.0”, where Kathleen Fitzpatrick speaks to the implications of “Peer-to-Peer Review.” Beyond pointing out that I think Citizendium is getting short shrift, I conclude:

In any case, one of the alleged benefits of free and open source software (i.e., Linus’ Law) and “Web 2.0” is one of peer review. Consequently, and simply, the question to consider is to what extent has the definition of a “peer” changed? In my work in code and prose I have received excellent feedback from non-credentialed peers. While getting feedback from credentialed peers is extremely valuable, it can be difficult to obtain in a timely fashion. (I appreciate, we are all busy, and these new technologies don’t really change that, they might even make it worse.) One of the effects – if not implicit purposes – of traditional peer review is to define a discipline: to establish sensibilities, formalize methods, and develop a canon of literature. Therefore, a possible consequence in the opening of what is considered a peer (including colleagues from other disciplines and even expert lay practitioners) is a possible smudging of the disciplinary boundaries.

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