|A 2013 factoid sheet (Ѻ) on peer review; showing, interestingly, that only one of Albert Einstein's papers was formally peer-reviewed. The classic case of informal peer review would be the famous "Gibbs mailing list" a detailed ordering of who Willard Gibbs sent each of his famous papers to. |
In 1662, the Royal Society of London was formed, with Robert Hooke being Curator of Experiments, among other notables; and in 1665, German-born Englishman Heinrich Oldenburg, who had luminaries such as Oliver Cromwell, John Milton, John Wilkins, and Robert Boyle in his circle, began printing and distributing the society’s correspondence in the form a news sheet called the Philosophical Transactions. This was the first so-called "journal of science".
In 1672, Isaac Newton had an account of his double prism experiments with light printed in the Philosophical Transactions, wherein he showed how his work had showed that white light is a mixture of beams of colored beams of light, and that these colors are not something that the prism adds to the light, which overthrew the very basis of optics. Over the next four years, the Philosophical Transactions boiled with controversy, amounting to ten critiques of Newton's letter and eleven counter from Newton. This tension of this first-ever "peer review" process was so great and previously before unheard of that having only recently been elected to the Royals Society, less than fifteen months ago, Newton announced that he wished to withdraw—and not just from the society but from all correspondence (Hooke having been Newton’s most aggressive antagonist during this boiling). He wrote to society mathematician John Collins: 
“I suppose there hath been done me no unkindness, but I could wish I had met with no rudeness in some other things. And therefore I hope you will not think it strange if to prevent accidents of that nature for the future I decline that conversation which hath occasioned what is past.”
Newton never returned to the Royal Society, until after Hooke’s end (death) in 1703.
|The strict “peer-review”, for-profit, articles written-by-experts, envisioned Nupedia, prior to going “went belly-up” (Ѻ) in 2003, managed to produce, in its 36 month existence span, only 24 articles, a rate of 8 articles/year; which jumped to a rate of 5-million articles being written in a 10-year span, a rage of 500,000 articles per year, in the decade to follow.|
In 1799, the famous Annalen der Physik (Annals of Physics) was launched; notable for publishing articles such as with Albert Einstein's 1905 annus mirabilis (E=mc²) papers, as well as for infamously-rejecting noted articles such as Robert Mayer’s 1841 paper “On the Quantitative and Qualitative Determination of Forces”, one of the first papers on the conservation of energy (rejected by German physicist Johann Poggendorff).
In 1869, English astronomer Norman Lockyer became the founding editor of Nature, one the world’s current premier scientific journal. Many of the early editions of Nature consisted of articles written by members of a group that called itself the X Club, a group of scientists known for having liberal, progressive, and somewhat controversial scientific beliefs relative to the time period. Initiated by Thomas Huxley, the group consisted of such important scientists as Joseph Hooker (warm pond model), Herbert Spencer, and John Tyndall, along with another five scientists and mathematicians; these scientists were all avid supporters of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution of common descent.
In 1885, German physical chemist Wilhelm Ostwald published Lehrbuch der allgemeinen Chemie (Textbook of General Chemistry), the first textbook on physical chemistry and in 1887, together with Dutch chemist Jacobus van't Hoff, founded Zeitschrift für physikalische Chemie (Journal of Physical Chemistry) the first periodical in physical chemistry. 
In 1991, arXiv.org was launched by Paul Ginsparg, an electronic preprint review phase for scientific papers; where currently, as of 2011, once accredited into the circle of accepted peers, users simply upload articles to the site.
Peer review towards the end of the 20th century seems to have become a bit of a unwieldy practice, by virtue of the split and fracturing of specialties, as evidenced by the Sokal affair (1996), a hoaxed physics paper accepted to a sociology journal solely via over-the-head jargon use and credential stature, and the Bogdanov affair (2002), a hoaxed physics PhD and peer-review journal publication, where journal acceptance translated into PhD confirmation, where professor knowledge on said subject no longer held sway.
Irish physicist Philip Moriarty (during the 2009 Moriarty-Thims debate) referred to Thims' work on the thermodynamics, chemistry, and physics of human molecules as being a Sokal affair.
|The article icon and description for the first open beta wiki peer review, which seemed to work out smoothly overall, with tensions and objections quickly been voiced in threads and publicaly-posted emails.|
Beta open wiki peer review
In 2011, the Journal of Human Thermodynamics (founded in 2005) began using and testing a beta state open wiki review process, in which inquiring-to-publish authors are required to first submit their work to open public review in the EoHT beta wiki, where authors are requested to obtain reputable feedback commentary (by at least 3 peers) in the public discussion threads below each submitted article, and to have their article edited and improved based on feedback publically in the format of a public wiki page, such that each change to the article is preserved in the wiki page history archives.
The first to go through the process, Iranian-American chemical engineer and fluid thermodynamics researcher Mohsen Mohsen-Nia, whose article “A Thermodynamic Methodology for Evaluating of Friendship Relations Stability” came under reviewed criticism and attack from nine peers, commented:
“Thank you very much for entering my article into the beta review process. I read the constructive reviewer’s comments and really I think the “beta review process” is interesting (Oct 31)” and “At first, I would like to thank you and the reviewers for taking the time and effort to review the manuscript. I would also like to thank the reviewers for their professional approach, detailed evaluation and the valuable comments (Nov 20).”
The article was published and the beta review process publicly archived. 
● Thermodynamics journals
1. (a) Bogdanov affair – Wikipedia.
(b) Sokal affair – Wikipedia.
2. (a) Wilhelm Ostwald: the “Bruke” (Bridge) and other Connections to Other Bibliographic Activities at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century (PDF), 9-pages, by Thomas Hapke, [ChemHeritage.org]
(b) Baierlein, Ralph. (2000). “The Elusive Chemical Potential”, American Association of Physics Teachers, Oct.
4. Gleick, James. (2003). Isaac Newton (pgs. 84-85, 88). Vintage Books.
5. Mohsen-Nia, Mohsen, Arfaei, F., Amiri, H., and Mohsen Nia, A. (2011). “A Thermodynamic Methodology for Evaluating Friendship Relations Stability”, Journal of Human Thermodynamics, 7(2): 5-14, (Beta Review), Dec.
6. Wheeler, Lynde Phelps. (1951). Josiah Willard Gibbs: the History of a Great Mind (A4: Gibbs’ Mailing Lists for Reprints, pgs. 235-48). Ox Bow Press.
● Peer review – Wikipedia.