"Could there be opportunity for abuse of this...?"
Yes, of course. Suppose you and I are competing in some area of research, and you publish first in this forum. I (or the organization for whom I perform research) buy or rent some bots or people to click-storm downvote your paper. Are your results reproducible? Maybe. Do they look reproducible? Not when I'm finished with them; quantity of response has trumped quality of response. Vetting matters; science shouldn't be a popularity contest."Will [clutter] be an issue?
It seems likely that it will. +Rajini Rao
's "social media-fication" is a good point: we need look no further than existing social media clutter for a model of signal-to-noise ratios. Aggressive moderation can help but is resource intensive and raises questions about transparency, internal bias, etc. It also makes the new structure seem much like existing private publication journals.
From the linked "Letter From the Founder of ResearchGate"
: "Recently it was proven that a study published in a reputable journal could not be reproduced, after it had already made headlines across the world."
First, I don't see the "open review" process solving this problem. The journal in question had either incomplete or inaccurate information at the time of publication. ResearchGate doesn't address how they will prevent that. Second, popular media crawls through journals looking for stories they can hype, not reliable research information and dry statistics. Their goal is to sell advertising by drawing in readers or viewers with splashy headlines and brief, breathless, content-free pieces. Once interesting new research lands in ResearchGate, the press will grab it and spin for popular response. Again, I don't see how the new model intends to prevent that from happening.
I find myself with more questions than answers, and, anecdotally, I find founder Ijad Madisch's desire for "...ResearchGate to win the Nobel Prize”
pathetically self-serving and terribly uninformed, particularly since "Madisch doesn’t know which category the Nobel Prize would be for. But he figures if he can dramatically increase collaboration among scientists and speed up scientific breakthroughs as a result, that would be worth some kind of big prize."
). That rather undermines the altruism suggested in the founder's letter: "Peer review isn’t working. Today I invite you to change this. Science must be open."
Maybe by "science" he meant "wallets"?