The converse is also true -- I use the journal's screening to figure out what to read because I don't have time to read every single thing, even preliminarily.
I have an idea for this. I sometimes hang out on this website where lots of people are submitting things to be published. I don't feel like reading all of the submissions, but the great part is that other users can score up some of the submitted content so I can filter through the chaff and just look at the stuff that is most likely interesting or worthwhile. And I can just go to subsections of content that I'm primarily interested in. Then - and this is the cool part - every submission is debated in a moderated, open forum - where again, I can filter through the comments using a number of criteria and read only the "top rated" information, if I so choose.
I think the website is called slashdot. Have you ever checked out how it works?
Without name-brand journals, name-recognition will become even more important, which will lead to even more of the sort of "superstar" science in which funding and interest is ever more concentrated in a few research groups.
I would argue that without name-brand journals, name recognition will rely on more realistic metrics (like the quality of the work, not necessarily where stuff gets published) and therefore may be a better measure than the current system.
I'm surprised no one has suggested forensics yet. If you're not able to get the students into an actual lab, its a great way to keep them interested in a physics problem:
- given a ballistic pattern of a bullet OR
- given a blood splatter pattern OR
- a fall OR
- from a position of a body:
determine trajectories, velocities, etc. and likelihood a death is suicide or homicide.
- use momentum to analyze a car crash, or any force-related accident, and reconstruct it.
CSI is popular partly because of physics.
Where there's a will, there's a relative.