In old-fashioned academia publishing there is a competitive factor omnipresent. The average science-conference has only 50 free-slots, while the number of submissions is 500. The consequence is a rejection-rate of 90%. The same is true for academic journals which are published only 4 times a year and on the other hand there are so much new authors who wants to get published. This mismatch is normally solved with a brutal peer-review process which postulates that some papers are not good enough. The concept of selecting only the top 5% of authors / papers is not totally new, also schools and universities are working with the same principle. So called SAT test are done in US-universities for example.
Why the rigorous quality control is done? Normally this question isn’t be asked, it is accepted as the rule of the game, that only the best of the best are welcomed. The real reason can be explained as a cost-problem. A university like harvard rejects most of the applications because the number of rooms on the harvard-campus is limited. The same is true for conferences and journals. They have limited slot numbers.
The answer to the problem is not to peer-review the papers, the answer is in lowering the costs of a journal. If a paper-based journal which have to be send via snail-mail to the libraries is replaced by a digital version, there is no longer a need for limiting the slots. It is possible to increase the acceptance rate to 100%, that means that every submission is printed in the journal.
The consequence is increasing the published paper. To explain the potential loss in quality, a sidestep to the Wikipedia system is necessary. Normally, Wikipedia works with displacement in mind. A better article about “pathplanning”-topic, replaces a worse one. The wikipedia authors defending their own version in so called edit wars. In academia the situation is different. There is no taxonomy which is limited to the article space, instead the informationflow is endless. Instead of replacing former written paper the edit-wars are grouped around attention. It is the same principle like at twitter and the rule is to increase the number of followers.
The number of potential followers is not limited by absolute numbers. Instead the limit is the number of people on the planet earth. If more people are online, more potential followers are possible. And that is the real game of how academia works. It is not a fight for a certain topic or theory, it is a war around the readership. It is true, that academic writers are involved in a competitive game, but the scarce resource is not a slot in a conference or the acceptance letter of journal, instead academia is in competition with other forms of content like weblogs, movies, youtube-clips and webforums. If a blog-post has a better audience than a pdf paper on arxiv, than academia has lost the war.