Graphical overview of academic publication systems

To the left is the current most popular practice. It has its roots in journals that were printed on paper and is not suited to the internet. To the right is the system that journals should use.

Since journals used to be distributed manually, it made sense to group papers up into a bundle. This is what we now call “an issue”. Journals may have any number of issues per year, but many of them have 1, 2, 4, 6 or 12. However, this is completely unnecessary with the internet, as everything can easily be distributed for free.

Likewise, the cost of printing everything made it smart to have a certain quality threshold. This is what pre-publication peer review is. However, there is no need to not publish everything as soon as it is received, and then just later move it into the category it belongs. This gets rid of the extreme time waste between multiple revisions and between submission and publication, especially if one has to wait for the next issue as well. There is still a category control feature built in, but it no longer results in nothing being published when a submitted paper fails peer review.

Made with Google Drive. Source. Send me a note if you want an editable version. Unfortunately, I cannot make an editable version that is vandalism proof.