SKEPTISCIENCE studies the impact of technological innovations on scientific work and its evaluation. This research project investigates the online discussion platforms (PubPeer, PubMed Commons, F1000Research, etc.) created in the 2010s and promoting a new way of assessing scientific professional practices and organizations, namely Post-Publication Peer Review (PPPR). PPPR is developing as part of a broader movement of transformation of Peer Review. Although this mechanism of evaluation and certification in science is still considered central for the quality of scientific literature, multiple studies have pointed to its limitations: it is slow, potentially biased and frequently inconsistent. Part of PPPR public visibility stems from its ability to alert the scientific community, and more broadly the general public, about possible errors but also scientific misconducts. SKEPTISCIENCE is innovative as it addresses from a scientific and multidisciplinary perspective a topic that is strikingly understudied. Despite various calls to turn the recent transformations of peer review into a topic of investigation, there are no major empirical studies on PPPR and the few existing ones are restricted to limited issues or areas of research. This project has three main aims. SKEPTISCIENCE first aim is to build the PPPR global map. What is the contemporary technological and scientific landscape of PPPR? What are its general properties and modalities? On what scale is the PPPR practiced and what is its growing trend? SKEPTISCIENCE second aim is to establish the consequences of PPPR for the scientists and publishers professional practices, trajectories and organizations. Does PPPR produce new lines of demarcation between what counts as good or bad publication, but more extensively what counts as good and bad research practices? SKEPTISCIENCE third main aim is to characterize the variety of users and stakeholders involved in the dynamics of PPPR as a controversial non-institutional innovation. PPPR is often depicted as coinciding with the emergence of a new generation of “watchdogs of science”. Why do researchers invest their time and energy in these online discussion platforms? Can it be said that PPPR coincides with the emergence of new scientific roles? Based on the gathering and processing of both quantitative and qualitative data, SKEPTISCIENCE calls for strong interactions with experts coming from multiple disciplines, including sociology, complex systems and social network analysis, biology, medicine, physics, PPPR entrepreneurs willing to act as consultants, and even more broadly any scientist involved in one of the four research areas selected.
Monsieur Michel Dubois (Groupe d'étude des méthodes de l'analyse sociologique de la Sorbonne)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
CED CENTRE ÉMILE-DURKHEIM - SCIENCE POLITIQUE ET SOCIOLOGIE COMPARATIVES
EpiDaPo Epigenetics, Data, Politics
GEMASS Groupe d'étude des méthodes de l'analyse sociologique de la Sorbonne
Help of the ANR 273,533 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2020 - 36 Months