Most CogDaily readers are familiar with the little icon we developed to indicate when we were reporting on peer reviewed research. We created it when we began to offer links to news and blog posts, as a way of distinguishing those less “serious” posts from when we were talking about peer-reviewed journal articles.
But Sister Edith Bogue of Monastic Musings recently pointed out that other academic bloggers could also make use of the icon, to distinguish when they’re blogging about news, family, books, etc., from serious scholarship. But our icon isn’t ideal for this purpose since its design is specifically linked to our site. I also think a public icon should come with some guidelines for use.
So Sister Edith and I, along with ScienceBloggers John Wilkins and Mike Dunford, have decided to work together to develop such an icon, along with a web site where we can link to bloggers who’ve pledged to use it following the guidelines we develop. But we don’t represent the blogging community as a whole, so we thought we’d also ask for your input. I’ll start the discussion with a few key questions. You can post answers — or your own questions — in the comments section.
- Is “Report on Peer Reviewed Research” a good tagline? Any suggestions for a different wording?
- What should we call the organization that sponsors the icon? I was thinking something on the lines of “Bloggers for peer review.” Any other ideas?
- What, exactly, should the icon signify? At a minimum, the blogger should have carefully read the original research report. Any other guidelines? (On CogDaily, it means that both Greta and I have read the report, and that we’re attempting to offer a thoughtful summary of the results)
- How do we define “peer review?” For example, some conference presentations are technically peer reviewed, but this process seems to me too cursory to qualify — after all, the reviewers haven’t even seen the final product. Some journals with very limited peer review processes also might not qualify. How do we decide what’s in and what’s out? Do we make a list?
- Should there be a process for policing abuses of the icon? How would that work?
- What about copyright for the icon? Should it be in the public domain? Or would some sort of license like the GPL or Creative Commons be better?
- How should we design the icon? A contest? How would results be judged?
That ought to be enough to get the discussion rolling. As I suggested, feel free to offer both answers and additional questions. This is an exciting project!