An interesting use of new media for scholarship, here is a snippet of an article in the New York Times about the Shakespeare Quarterly (LeRoy…are you reading the CFE Blog?):
“Mixing traditional and new methods, the [Shakespeare Quarterly] posted online four essays not yet accepted for publication, and a core group of experts — what Ms. Rowe called “our crowd sourcing” — were invited to post their signed comments on the Web site MediaCommons, a scholarly digital network. Others could add their thoughts as well, after registering with their own names. In the end 41 people made more than 350 comments, many of which elicited responses from the authors. The revised essays were then reviewed by the quarterly’s editors, who made the final decision to include them in the printed journal, due out Sept. 17.”
It would appear to me that this does not take the peer-review out, but speeds it up. For humanities scholars, it sometimes takes years just to get an article back with comments. Personally, I had to wait for one of mine for over a year before hearing that they needed major revisions. In my opinion, that’s ridiculous – I know how busy academics are (I am one of them) but the slow-response time for publications, in the humanities at least, needs to change.