With the Web 2.0 world of self-publishing and social networking rapidly growing and companies such as Google continually developing more effective search mechanisms for retrieving relevant results, where does that leave the traditional peer review process?

Michael Jensen’s recent article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, The New Metrics of Scholarly Authority, discusses the changing nature of scholarly authority in the dynamic world of scholarly communication that is increasingly being influenced by Web 2.0.  Jensen notes, “As we become dependent on the digital movement of information goods, we find ourselves entering an era of information abundance.  In the process, we are witnessing a radical shift in how we establish authority, significance, and even scholarly validity.”

With the next evolving phase of the web, referred to as  Web 3.0, Jensen predicts we will move away from man to the machine in the review process.  This process will incorporate a “heavily computed reputation-and-authority metrics, based on many of the kinds of elements now used, as well as on elements that can be computed only in an information-rich, user-engaged environment, ” which Jensen refers to as “Authority 3.0.” 

Jensen also notes, “For universities, the challenge will be ensuring that scholars who are making more and more of their material available online will be fairly judged in hiring and promotion decisions. It will mean being open to the widening context in which scholarship is published, and it will mean that faculty members will have to take the time to learn about — and give credit for — the new authority metrics, instead of relying on scholarly publishers to establish the importance of material for them.”

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