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The scientific community has been suffering from peer review for decades. This process (also called refereeing) subjects an author's scientific work or ideas to the scrutiny of one or more experts in the field. Publishers use it to select and screen manuscript submissions, and funding agencies use it to award research funds. The goal is to get authors to meet their discipline's standards and thus achieve scientific objectivity. Publications and awards that haven't undergone peer review are often regarded with suspicion by scholars and professionals in many fields. However, peer review, although universally used, has many drawbacks. We propose replacing peer review with an auction-based approach: the better the submitted paper, the more scientific currency the author likely bid to have it published. If the bid correctly reflects the paper's quality, the author is rewarded in this new scientific currency; otherwise, the author loses this currency. We argue that citations are an appropriate currency for all scientists. We believe that citation auctions encourage scientists to better control their submissions' quality. It also inspire them to prepare more exciting talks for accepted papers and to invite discussion of their results at congresses and conferences and among their colleagues. In the long run, citation auctions could have the power to greatly improve scientific research.
Date of Publication: Nov.-Dec. 2007