PurposePeerage of Science is a company created by three scientists (see Our Team) with a mission to change how peer review is done. The primary purpose of the company is to foster and develop the practice of science, as well as the conditions, societal standing and evaluation thereof, while promoting the interests of the researchers registered as users of the company’s services. Our Articles of Association legally require executives to uphold the primary purpose.
As a company, Peerage of Science is allowed to profit as well. Instead of hoping that altruism changes the world for the better, Peerage of Science seeks to harness economic motives for the task. Not only the motives of the shareholders, but also those of publishing companies and other organizations who are willing to pay for the significant advantage a better peer review can bring for their operations.
Finally, no less than half of the profit paid out by Peerage of Science must be allocated to the primary purpose via peer-review mechanisms (see Articles of Association). That translates to grants and awards for individual scientists, like you.
The BeginningOnce upon a time (February 9th 2010, just after midnight, to be precise) in a land probably far, far away from where you are now, a postdoc was (as they often are) sadly noticing another year commencing on the peer review process of his manuscript. Another grant application had been sent without that important line in the publication list. It was his own fault of course that it had taken so long: evidently the results had not been expressed clearly enough, and it had been his own darn choice to start the descent down the journal prestige ladder from the top, where the steps are most slippery.
Yet, it was dawning on the young scientist that this was also his illusions about scientific peer review meeting reality. Perhaps he should have paid more attention to the words of Richard Horton, the Chief Editor of Lancet: "We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong."
Did it really have to be like this?
By afternoon (4:24 pm, to be precise), the big idea had been written up (or so he thought; epiphanies should come with a big sign saying: "construction ahead"). As was customary, the idea then got sent to some friends for comments.
First friend pointed out pragmatically (as he often does) that if such a service was set up, not only scientists but also journals would find it very valuable, and the second friend pointed out enthusiastically (as he often does) that we should just do it. The Innovation Office at University of Jyväskylä helped in figuring out how to do it.
And then we did.