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An App for Papers?

This week, Joe Pickrell at Genomes Unzipped asks why researchers publish their work in peer-reviewed journals. He writes that the current journal system is costly, time-consuming, and random, among other things. As an alternative, Pickrell envisions a system of immediate publication, connected to a social media network, in which readers could recommend papers and researchers could search for them based on the community's opinions or rankings. That's where a sort of "killer app" would come in, he says. "Once a system like this exists, and it can be shown that it's possible to judge people (for grants, tenure, et cetera) in this system based on the impact of their work, rather than the prestige of the journal in which the work is published, it's an additional easy step to eliminate the journals altogether," Pickrell adds. In comments to this post, Pickrell's readers discuss accountability, the wisdom of crowds, and more.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.