As reported yesterday on Mike Taylor’s Sauropod Vertebra blog, who in turn picked up the story from the sec.uno site, at the end of August the giant publisher Elsevier successfully patented what they see as a unique form of peer review: waterfall (or cascading as it’s long been known) peer review. This is described as “the transfer of submitted articles from one journal to another journal” owned by the same publisher. And there’s nothing new about it, it’s been accepted practice for a number of publishers for years now.
If you want to look at the original U.S. patent, here’s a link to it.
I don’t often re-work the content of others’ blogs, but his is exceptional: the motivation for Elsevier’s actions seem dubious at best and it’s worth clicking through and reading those pieces in detail. What is Elsevier thinking?
The timing of this one story is also interesting. It’s as if the Gods of Publishing had actually read my last post about peer-reviewed versus non-peer-reviewed publishing, and decided to have some fun with us mere mortals…..