I propose a partial reform of the existing scientific publishing process. My proposal aims to improve the techniques for manuscript processing and to stimulate competition among academic journals for exceptional articles.

Despite its seeming widespread acceptance, the peer-review system is constantly under fire and criticism. Critics argue that it is excessively costly and time-consuming. The system is vulnerable to misconduct, plagiarism, and breach of confidentiality. Some of the most cited papers in the history of science, now widely accepted, were previously rejected by referees. At least eight articles that would eventually earn the Nobel Prize for their authors were initially rejected outright by reviewers (J.M. Campanario, Science Communication, 16:304-25, 1995). Although refereeing involves only a few hours, the whole process delays publication excessively. Indeed, the lag in some competitive fields is considered unacceptable (R. Roy, The Scientist, Sept. 6, 1993, page 11).

Under the current system, authors...

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