Given that virtually all journal articles are published on SSRN, and read and discussed, before they hit actual journals, could journals seek to substantially shorten the amount of time between submission and publication, so that authors feel that journals are active contributors while the article is ‘hot’, rather than feeling that they are the finishing polishers of an already-cooling project? In particular, is journal work ‘parallelizable’? In other words, if you put four times as many people on it, would it get done four times as fast? Columbia Law Review publishes on the order of 40 pieces a year, and takes around 12 weeks off for summer break. So it averages out to a piece a week, but it is lumped together into eight issues. Could they be publishing one piece a week, and turning pieces around in 1-2 weeks, instead of every 5 weeks or so, turning them around in longer than that? I think that might be a bit ambitious- some parts of the publishing process do not get faster the more people you put on them- but it might not be. I’m curious if any journal is trying this model.
I also have some thoughts on journaling at internet attention span (which pre-date, but are similar to, Berkman’s Publius Project) but they aren’t quite ready for prime time yet. (Caveat: they aren’t really my thoughts; something a friend shared with me instead, but I love them.)