Open peer to peer review for physiotherapy and physical therapy

As a wiki based project Physiopedia offers the opportunity to openly peer review and edit the content that is published on it’s pages.  This open peer review gives any physiotherapist or physical therapist who’s interested a chance to appraise the published content which enables our community to continually keep articles correct and up to date.  This contributes to an eternally updated evidence based resource for our profession, of which we can be proud!

The idea of open, peer-to-peer (P2P) review has generated a lot of interest recently, particularly after Wired reported that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation gave New York University Press and MediaCommons a $50,000 grant to take a closer look at this.   The money will be used to take a close, critical look at the idea.  It will “assess the value and shortcomings of P2P review for the evaluation of scholarship.” It will create “a road map for scholars and publishers” by laying out flexible “criteria and protocols” to guide open peer review experiments across disciplines. It will look at what technology used for P2P review needs to be able to do. And it will weigh whether existing tools and online platforms are adequate to support those needs.  “The [resulting] white paper will, of course, be made available for open peer review.”

Part of the idea of this investigation is to get a better sense of how widespread support for P2P review is and how well technology enables it.   Stephen Downes comments that “if peer review were open, rather than constituted by smallish groups of people working in secret, we’d see very different papers published, from very different authors.”  Physiopedia tests this theory by presenting the opportunity for open publishing of research and the subsequent option for open review from the Physiopedia community.  We are watching with interest to see the outcomes of this investigation and the resulting white paper.  We hope that we will learn from it and be enabled to develop our peer review processes in an effective way.