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Undergraduate peer reviewers?

Posted by ramy on 27 Jun 2009 at 23:46 GMT

This is certainly a great, long-awaited idea! Finally, the primary literature decided to directly address undergraduate students (and those who enjoy learning by "teaching" them) rather than waiting for the information to reach textbooks, where they become obsolete by the time of publication. No surprise this initiative comes from PLoS, which is already appreciated by many students who finally gained open, unlimited access to the highest quality science.

The challenge, in my opinion, is to let the "customers" do the peer review. Research articles are reviewed by active researchers (sometimes historically active researchers). Grant proposals are reviewed by grant writers. I see the logical next step is that each of these "pearls" be reviewed by at least one undergraduate student in addition to a senior expert in the field. The role of the student reviewer would mainly be to judge whether the article is clear enough and to evaluate this "different kind of scientific writing." I don't dare now suggesting letting undergraduate students co-author these articles. But I am sure it will happen in the near future. (As an example, in http://micro-writers.egyb... , students write their uncensored own discoveries in microbiology to their fellow students. Their blog has put mine, addressed to the same audience, out of business!)

In my experience with undergraduate education, the best person to convey a new concept to a junior student is a senior student, not a TA or a professor!

No competing interests declared.