Tom Paulson, the global health journalist behind the NPR blog Humanosphere, has been taking on some very non-transparent (opaque?) rules from the Pacific Health Summit here in Seattle. Fortunately, he took a break to laud the transparency with which the institute I’m working at operates. Maybe he thinks we can be an example for the summitteers, or at least a counter balance.
Paulson didn’t mention the aspect of IHME’s work which, as an ivory-tower inhabiting academic, I find most radically transparent, however. The journal Population Health Metrics, which IHME director Chris Murray is the co-editor-in-chief and big booster of, has a scarily open review process. It’s not just open publishing where everyone can read the papers, it’s so open that everyone can read the referee reports, and the responses to referees, and the whole chain of revisions that a paper goes through before being stamped peer-reviewed.
This is great for authors. As a referee, it makes me much more responsible for my actions, which takes longer, but is probably a good thing overall. I even put some PyMC code in a review once, to tell the authors how to do something the easy way. But now I’m not sure I want to go look at this correspondence after all.