I am very excited to announce that Sympoze is transforming into an even better service for philosophers. We’re going to use it to crowd-source academic peer-review and create a high-quality open-access philosophy journal and high-quality open-access philosophy text books.

I started Sympoze a couple of years ago as a social bookmarking site for philosophers (something like Digg or Reddit for academia). After consultation with several philosophy/academic friends, it became clear that a better use for the social-bookmarking tools I was using would be to turn it into a peer-review service for scholarly publications.

The basic idea is to crowd-source the peer-review process. Crowd-sourcing the peer review process does a number of things to solve problems with the current model. It will:

  • Reduce referee burden
  • Reduce review time
  • Speed up finding qualified referees
  • Eliminate the bad luck of being assigned to a biased or over-worked referee
  • Diversify feedback
  • Yield decisions that are better representative of the opinions of the field

It will do all of this without sacrificing any of the benefits of the traditional process. I explain how Sympoze yields these benefits in more detail here. I outline how the process works here, and I address FAQs here. Check out the site if you have a chance and let me know if you have any questions, comments, feedback, or suggestions.

Here’s even more exciting news. I already have an introduction to philosophy textbook in the works with four philosophers on board to contribute chapters. This intro book will be peer-reviewed through Sympoze. We will release it as an open-access textbook that will be free to read online, and people will have the option to purchase a traditional print volume if they want one.
Please Volunteer Today!
The primary issue with a peer-review model like this is that we need a good critical mass of volunteers before we can start accepting submissions. Please consider volunteering to be a referee. I promise that it will be a much more pleasant experience for everyone. You can volunteer to be a referee by filling out the form at the Sympoze website. –

One Response to “Sympoze to Crowd Source Peer-Review and Create Open-Access Publications”

  1. Josh May

    Very cool project! Looking forward to its development. I just signed up as a referee. I don’t have the PhD yet (or the email address at my next gig yet), but I’ll have it in a month!

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