One of the first things a new scientist learns is how the publishing process works. You do the best research you can, discover something new, analyze the data, and write it up. You are careful to put your work in context and to relate it to what has gone before. A few academic friends read the work and help you improve it.
Then you choose a journal, edit the format to fit, and submit. These days the paper is like to come back quickly unreviewed with a few sentences explaining why. Not new enough, not broad enough, or not well done might be reasons, but as often as not, they are not particularly useful. Then you choose another journal and send it off. At some point you will get reviews that are informative. They may point out an angle to your work you did not appreciate. They may convince you that you have not been careful enough about reading the literature and putting your work in context. They may even find a fatal flaw.
But is it really worth it to grind through the review process over and over, tweaking the writing, reformatting the bibliography yet again? What if you could submit somewhere, get reviewed, then revise and have multiple journals to bargain with? Would that not be better?
Peerage of Science has a model that is something like that. In addition, you get rewarded if you review in chits you can turn into opportunities to get your work read. You can also decide on the time line for the review and the editing. It seems pretty sweet if enough journals sign on to play in the Peerage market.
But there is a big problem with this outfit. It is for profit. In its prospectus it says it will spend at least half the money it takes in on the business of organizing the reviewing and editing. What is it going to do with the other half? Why should we enrich private individuals with the fruits of research paid for on public funds?
Of course, this is not a new problem. Nature, Current Biology, BMC Evolutionary Biology and many other journals are in the for profit arena, though not Science or other society journals unless they are owned by publishers. But if we are going to have a big new reviewing and editing clearing house, it should not be on the for profit model. After all, the reviewers are not paid. The research should be in the public domain. The model should be more like Evoldir.
Remember, even a non-profit can pay its staff for the work they do. This is the model I support. But I did join Peerage of Science to get a better feel for how it works. They allowed me to become a Peer since I do have a refereed paper that I am first or last author on. I just linked to that handy Google Scholar page I set up.
Why does Peerage of Science, set at the excellent Finnish University of Jyväskylä where there are lots of prominent female scientists have such an extreme male bias in its leaders and board of governors? Are the women staying away from this for-profit model that can plow up to half its money in activities that are not the main one?