Session Title

Recipe for a Better Peer Review (A Roundtable)

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Myra J. Seaman, Asa Simon Mittman

Organizer Affiliation

College of Charleston, California State Univ.-Chico

Presider Name

Myra J. Seaman

Paper Title 1

Discussant

Presenter 1 Name

Caroline Palmer

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Boydell & Brewer, Ltd.

Paper Title 2

Discussant

Presenter 2 Name

Catherine E. Karkov

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Leeds

Paper Title 3

Discussant

Presenter 3 Name

Emily Steiner

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of Pennsylvania

Paper Title 4

Discussant

Presenter 4 Name

Timothy L. Stinson

Presenter 4 Affiliation

North Carolina State Univ.

Paper Title 5

Discussant

Presenter 5 Name

Marci Sortor

Presenter 5 Affiliation

St. Olaf College

Paper Title 6

Discussant

Presenter 6 Name

Richard K. Emmerson

Presenter 6 Affiliation

Florida State Univ.

Paper Title 7

Discussant

Presenter 7 Name

Daniel Powell

Presenter 7 Affiliation

King's College London/Univ. of Victoria

Start Date

14-5-2016 1:30 PM

Session Location

Fetzer 1005

Description

Peer review has long stood as the gold standard for academic publications, trusted to determine if a work’s methods and conclusions meet the discipline’s requirements and thus prove it is “serious scholarship.” Peer review is at times “blind,” in which the reviewer remains anonymous, and sometimes “double-blind,” in which both author and reviewer remain — at least in theory — unknown to one another. This system is the bedrock of scholarly production and an integral part of the hiring, tenure, and promotion processes. But does it continue to work for today’s scholarly community the way it once did? Does it function to foster new ideas and approaches, to improve the writing we do, and to maintain appropriate “standards,” however defined? We aim to convene a roundtable featuring participants in all parts of the process, including editors from academic presses and journals, academic grant officers, digital humanities publishers, authors, and administrators who oversee the tenure and promotion processes that often depend on publications. As a great many of us are involved in both sides of peer review, taking on various roles in the process, we do not anticipate any difficulty finding productive participants.

In 2013, the BABEL Working Group hosted an ICMS roundtable on “Blunder,” which featured a memorable presentation reveling in the pain and frustrations authors can experience during peer review. This proposed session, in contrast, does not aim to provide a forum for documenting the problems with peer review but rather to present a series of practical proposals for renovation or replacement. We welcome presentations on recently adopted variants, as well as pledges for new approaches. Surprisingly, as far as we can tell from the online archive of the ICMS, while there have been occasional papers on the subject, in the last decade there has only been a single ICMS session dedicated to this central aspect of our professional lives, and this was focused only on digital media (2008: Digital Media and Peer Review in Medieval Studies, Sponsor: Medieval Academy of America Committee on Electronic Resources, Organizer: Timothy Stinson).

We believe that this vital and influential process should not be taken as a given, as currently practiced. Topics for discussion might include: anonymity; reward for reviewers; accountability; effects on innovation; basic goals of the process; and whether, in fact, peer review ought to remain the standard model.

Myra Seaman

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May 14th, 1:30 PM

Recipe for a Better Peer Review (A Roundtable)

Fetzer 1005

Peer review has long stood as the gold standard for academic publications, trusted to determine if a work’s methods and conclusions meet the discipline’s requirements and thus prove it is “serious scholarship.” Peer review is at times “blind,” in which the reviewer remains anonymous, and sometimes “double-blind,” in which both author and reviewer remain — at least in theory — unknown to one another. This system is the bedrock of scholarly production and an integral part of the hiring, tenure, and promotion processes. But does it continue to work for today’s scholarly community the way it once did? Does it function to foster new ideas and approaches, to improve the writing we do, and to maintain appropriate “standards,” however defined? We aim to convene a roundtable featuring participants in all parts of the process, including editors from academic presses and journals, academic grant officers, digital humanities publishers, authors, and administrators who oversee the tenure and promotion processes that often depend on publications. As a great many of us are involved in both sides of peer review, taking on various roles in the process, we do not anticipate any difficulty finding productive participants.

In 2013, the BABEL Working Group hosted an ICMS roundtable on “Blunder,” which featured a memorable presentation reveling in the pain and frustrations authors can experience during peer review. This proposed session, in contrast, does not aim to provide a forum for documenting the problems with peer review but rather to present a series of practical proposals for renovation or replacement. We welcome presentations on recently adopted variants, as well as pledges for new approaches. Surprisingly, as far as we can tell from the online archive of the ICMS, while there have been occasional papers on the subject, in the last decade there has only been a single ICMS session dedicated to this central aspect of our professional lives, and this was focused only on digital media (2008: Digital Media and Peer Review in Medieval Studies, Sponsor: Medieval Academy of America Committee on Electronic Resources, Organizer: Timothy Stinson).

We believe that this vital and influential process should not be taken as a given, as currently practiced. Topics for discussion might include: anonymity; reward for reviewers; accountability; effects on innovation; basic goals of the process; and whether, in fact, peer review ought to remain the standard model.

Myra Seaman