The proposal of Peter Jefferies for peer review by web page sounds very interesting (THES, May 22).
However, is the issue of "academics worried about others gaining access to their ideas" not obviated by the fact that the placement of the proposal on the web equates with publication; and so it would be incumbent on anyone who then proceeds to work in a very close direction to prove that he or she arrived at those conclusions independently and that his or her work does not constitute plagiarism?
If one looks at it from a different perspective, this process of web review could be seen (perhaps) as a way of indicating that you are working in a particular direction and thus it may either warn others off the area or lead to collaborative research.
There may be a fear for some of loss of their ideas, but perhaps there are also balances.
Dave Postles. Department of English local history. University of Leicester