Believe it or not, the current structure of journal peer review represents an optimal solution to multiple conflicting demands: reviewers should be anonymous to encourage objectivity, but someone needs to vouch for their expertise to the authors (one of the reasons we have Editors). Busy researchers rarely volunteer to do full length reviews, so someone (the Editorial Office) needs to directly invite them and keep them on track to deliver their comments in reasonable time. Having 4 or more reviews generates a lot of revision work for the authors and takes up too many reviewers’ time for just one article, so journals aim for 2-3 reviews, and so forth.
An interview and discussion about an interesting experiment with peer review.
One such bold experiment is Select Crowd Review, which is implemented by chemistry publisher Thieme and the commenting platform Filestage.io. Their project recently made it to the finalist stage of the ALPSP Award for Innovation in Publishing, so I got in touch with Niklas Dorn (the CEO and Co-Founder of Filestage) to find out more.