Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Future of Peer Review

Shall we wiki peer review?  This article presents one model of replacing peer review with online review.  I don't know.  I guess I am not as frustrated as some with peer review, as I have had some success, so I am not sure how broken it is.  I do think some journals are far better at it than other--getting good reviewers to respond in a timely fashion.  By good reviewers, I mean folks who evaluate the article fairly for what it tries to be.  Other journals are slower.

Who will be more fair and honest--a reviewer known only to the editor or folks on the web with their names attached?  Anonymity on the web is not the best path to happiness as we have seen on many threads out there, and anonymity poses a similar risk via conventional reviewing except there are editors in the latter case. 

But change is hard.
The most daunting obstacle to opening up the process is that peer-review publishing is the path to a job and tenure, and no would-be professor wants to be the academic canary in the coal mine.

I will have to think more about this, but right now, I am not sure how broken the current system is, as most of the journals I review for and get reviewed by are pretty fast these days in terms of the review process.   In terms of going from that stage to publishing, things are much slower, but that is not about the review process.

1 comment:

Phil said...

Can only speak for myself, but when you're in a small field where true anonymity is rare and there are deeply entrenched views held by a cadre of 'established' profs who dominate the peer-review process, the flaws become apparent. Similarly, dominance of two methodological approaches (positivism and postmodernism) often means that scholars who adopt other approaches, such as critical realism, are seeing their work discounted or ignored.