A new open access project whose goal is to improve the peer review process through the use of crowd-sourcing (by qualified referees) has opened for business. Sympoze, which is being developed by Academy Geeks, is still in its beginning stages and currently has only two projects in the works: a general philosophy journal and a philosophy textbook. They hope to eventually have sufficient numbers of referees to allow for the creation of similar resources in other disciplines.
The founders of Sympoze believe that the use of crowd-sourcing for the peer review process will resolve a number of problems with the current academic publishing model: it will reduce the burden on referees, reduce the review time, speed up the identification of qualified referees, eliminate the bad luck of having your work assigned to a biased or overworked referee, provide for more diverse feedback, and result in a review that better reflects the consensus opinion of the discipline. Furthermore, once the article has passed the review process, it is published immediately in an open source publication.
If you’re interested in pursuing such a venture in your discipline, there is a volunteer form on each page of the Sympoze website. See its “FAQS” page for more details.