Abstract by Mike Morrison: We don’t actually need journals. We need the ability to filter & curate science by topic. Journals are just ONE method to do that. Online, there are better ways to categorize, curate & filter content besides “isolated silos”. @ReutemannTim suggests adding hashtags to articles!
Trigger Warning… This is a nightly build. May break down rapidly among closer inspection. Please treat with optimism.
Applications 1: #
Hashtags provide an instantanious interdisciplinary research tool. Could they even replace the need to have so many different journals?
Application 2: Likes
Claps and citations and likes and stuff like that normally allows you to identify popular publications in a field. And yes, of course, a better tool would also have social network features to identify your most cited friends followers, be able to run turnig-powerful literature-searching bots and allow you to block Jordan Peterson whenever you feel like it.
Applications 3: Links
Citations can directly link to the authors home page. Nightly Versions are widely shared and used in Open Source Software development, and thus peer review is no longer a stepwise process that cummulates in publication, but a continous process that starts with publication.
Conclusion: Maybe we really don’t need journals at the moment. The ecosystem of publications tools that Ev Williams created is already far better for scientific publications than Elsvier. Yes, he gets to play with all scientific data, and it would be better to have a Open Source Platform, but Elsevier with it’s paywall is far worse for data sharing.
Afterthought: This is not just a preference for openness for it’s own sake. Elsevier has become a major bottleneck for interdisciplinary research at universities and can no longer be maintained.