26 Mar 2007

Community peer review - patent office trumps journals

The idea of using community peer review, social networking and trust ratings to improve journal peer review is one that is in favour at the moment, with PLoS ONE and Nature's experiment being the most prominent. It seems that peer review of US Patents may have beaten journals to it with a system that appears to truly capture Web 2.0.

The job of a government patent officer and a journal editor are quite similar - to assess whether the claims are real and novel. It should be no surprise to see them reaching for the same solutions to help with the review process.

The Washington Post reports that the US Patent Office is planning to "post patent applications on the Web and invite comments but also use a community rating system designed to push the most respected comments to the top of the file". It will be interesting to see if this pilot project is a success - I hope so.

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