As pointed out by altmetrics, “Peer-review has served scholarship well, but is beginning to show its age. It is slow, encourages conventionality, and fails to hold reviewers accountable.”
Not all publications are created equal. Neither are the statuses of their authors. However, senior authors in life sciences rarely publish in isolation, so some junior researcher’s neck is always on the line (one of the many catch 22’s in academic publishing, and one I hadn’t really thought about much before).
I realize this makes the question somewhat subjective, and I hope that a variety of answers can be supplied - but if your answer is similar to an existing one, perhaps a comment will serve - thank you!
Here is some more background on my question:
An excellent article by Zen Faulkes, which doesn’t mention F1000Research but does mention Proceedings of Peerage of Science , suggests that the post-publication peer-review is unstandardized. It seems that F1000Research is trying to standardize the process within their journal, rather than relying on altmetrics. I think this is a reasonable approach: as a scientist whose job is partly to network with others, you can very likely get interested parties to review your paper (if not, then try one of the many journals supporting the traditional review method). Additionally, this publisher-centric peer review will probably attract more serious reviews; who wants to post a review on some random social networking site that few people will likely read?
If someone has strong negative feelings about your paper, then they can say so. Of course, there is a lack of anonymity on F1000Research. Oh dear, now we need to be polite (Faulkes also discusses this). I know it is a very difficult thing to be polite sometimes after multiple grants or papers have been rejected, but perhaps this is a step in the right direction.
Perhaps more importantly, the reviewers may have to defend their assertions without the editor making a summary decision about whether or not the authors can reasonably address the reviewers concerns. I think this form of review removes much more bias than it introduces by keeping the conversation open. And I don’t think this means the review process will go on indefinitely; the authors no longer need satisfy every whim of the reviewers, but only those they deem important enough so that their colleagues will respect the merit and credibility of the study.
Turning to other forms of review: I also think it is unlikely that any single review model with always be best for all people and all publications.
For instance, one type of review process that would necessarily need to be pre-publication peer review is the double blind scheme, where neither reviewers nor authors are given any direct evidence of the other party’s identity. It seems that this would not only make things more fair, but also open up the reviewer pool to highly cited authors whose input is no doubt frequently valued but difficult to obtain in the traditional peer review process. Unfortunately it does not seem to be at all prevalent in the sciences, and I know of no journals supporting it.