Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Readersourcing—a manifesto

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Readersourcing—a manifesto by Stefano Mizzaro. (Mizzaro, S. (2012), Readersourcing—a manifesto. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci.. doi: 10.1002/asi.22668)


This position paper analyzes the current situation in scholarly publishing and peer review practices and presents three theses: (a) we are going to run out of peer reviewers; (b) it is possible to replace referees with readers, an approach that I have named “Readersourcing”; and (c) it is possible to avoid potential weaknesses in the Readersourcing model by adopting an appropriate quality control mechanism. The system is then presented as an independent, third-party, nonprofit, and academic/scientific endeavor aimed at quality rating of scholarly literature and scholars, and some possible criticisms are discussed.

Mizzaro touches a number of issues that have speculative answers in his call for “readersourcing” of research. There is a website in progress,

I am interested in the approach as an aspect of crowdsourcing the creation of topic maps.

FYI, his statement that:

Readersourcing is a solution to a problem, but it immediately raises another problem, for which we need a solution: how to distinguish good readers from bad readers. If 200 undergraduate students say that a paper is good, but five experts (by reputation) in the field say that it is not, then it seems obvious that the latter should be given more importance when calculating the paper’s quality.

Seems problematic to me. Particularly for graduate students. If professors at their school rate research high or low, that should be calculated into a rating for that particular reader.

If that seems pessimistic, read: Fish, Stanley, “Transmuting the Lump: Paradise Lost, 1942-1979,” in Doing What Comes Naturally. Fish, Stanley (ed.), Duke University Press, 1989), which treats changing “expert” opinions on the closing chapters of Paradise Lost. So far as I know, the text did not change between 1942 and 1979 but “expert” opinion certainly did.

I offer that as a caution that all of our judgements are a matter of social consensus that changes over time. On some issues more quickly than others. Our information systems should reflect the ebb and flow of that semantic renegotiation.

The Impact of online reviews: An annotated bibliograpy

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

The Impact of online reviews: An annotated bibliograpy by Panos Ipeirotis.

From the post:

A few weeks back, I received some questions about online consumer reviews, their impact on sales, and other related questions. At that point, I realized that while I had a good grasp of the technical literature within Computer Science venues, my grasp of the overall empirical literature within Marketing and Information Systems venues was rather shaky, so I had to do a better work in preparing a literature review.

So, I did whatever a self-respecting professor would do in such a situation: I asked my PhD student, Beibei Li, to compile a list of such papers, write a brief summary of each, and send me the list. She had passed her qualification exam by studying exactly this area, so she was the resident expert in the topic.

Beibei did not disappoint me. A few hours later I had a very good list of papers in my mailbox, together with the description. It was so good, that I thought that many other people would be interested in the list.


  1. When was the last time you read a review of topic map software?
  2. When was the last time you read a review of a topic map?

I mention this bibliography in part to show the usefulness of online reviews and possibly how to make them effective.

It that sounds like cold-blooded marketing, there is a good reason. It is.

What topic map software or topic map would you suggest for review?

Where would you publish the review?

In case you are having trouble thinking of one, check the Topic Maps Lab projects listing.