Since almost the earliest days of the Internet, education establishment voices have complained that open online education risked a pot full of faulty materials. They have routinely cautioned students against false online information and used this mistrust as a fundamental reason not to embrace the Internet in teaching and learning, or at least to do so skeptically.
Today a new project that launched online, BPR3 Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting, is a means for the pot to keep up with what is going on in the kettle, and to point it out when black smudge takes the shine off of the kettle. BPR2 identifies itself as: . . . the news blog for ResearchBlogging.org, which strives to identify serious academic blog posts about peer-reviewed research with an aggregation site where others can look to find the best academic blogging on the Net.
BPR3 is using the open Internet to review peer-review. Founder Dave Munger explains why it is being launched:
The system of peer review, the bulwark of academic publishing, has served scholars for centuries. The principle behind the system is simple: If experts in a field find a research report noteworthy, then that report deserves to be published.
But who is an “expert”? And who decides who the experts are? . . . .
A Wired Campus report on BPR3 says:
The idea, writes co-creator Dave Munger, is to allow researchers to learn about new peer-reviewed research without relying on press releases or news reports.
Each post itself is peer-reviewed — registered bloggers on ResearchBlogging.org can report post that don’t fall in line with the site’s guidelines.
This, evidently, is part of the growing effort to ease communication in the research community, à la Big Think.
It seems likely that good results will occur here, as so often when the best of analog and online learning work together. The pot and the kettle can will keep a virtual eye on each other.