When researchers studying the biology of disease make a discovery, it typically takes nine months for them to get their results published in a journal. One reason for that delay is a process of peer review that is both necessary and antiquated. The fate of that paper rests on just two or three scientists who have been asked to review it and decide whether it's worthy of being published.
Imagine how this would feel if the matter in question were a consumer product.
"If the only thing Amazon ever published were reviews of the first three people who bought a product, then we'd have a very ineffective system for knowing what was good and bad," says Michael Eisen, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at University of California, Berkeley.
Eisen recently attended a meeting of biomedical researchers who want to find a way to modernize the process, to make it more fitting for a world that now lives online.
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