2012 The Transformation of Peer Review

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Peer review, in some form, is an accepted part of the acquiring process for university presses. For press editors, it informs their evaluation and decision-making processes; for authors, it is an important step in the publication process that helps to strengthen the quality and impact of their book. This panel will examine from several perspectives the dominant peer-review model in university press publishing—its merits and faults. In doing so, it will assess peer review’s complicated relationship with publishers, authors, and the Academy, considering ways to transform the process into a more sustainable practice. For an editor or an author, what makes a helpful reader’s report? How do we best navigate the review of work that is interdisciplinary? How might university presses avoid becoming the unwitting participants in the tenure and promotion process for our authors, when all we really want to do is publish a good book? Should we be bypassed in the peer-review process altogether? What is the value of publication-based peer review to the Academy? Should imprint, or venue of publication, be a deciding factor in institutional peer review for tenure and promotion? We’ll go down these and other rabbit holes as we discuss this important evaluative function.



Chair: Kendra Boileau, Editor-in-Chief, Penn State University Press

Panelists: Diane Harley, Principal Investigator for the Peer Review in Academic Promotion and Publishing study

Gita Manaktala, Editorial Director, MIT Press

Martha T. Roth, Dean of Humanities and the Chauncey S. Boucher Distinguished Service Professor of Assyriology, University of Chicago



Please feel free to add notes or responses to the session in this section. You can also post presentation files--find out how.

Peer Review in Academic Promotion and Publishing: Its Meaning, Locus, and Future --Kboileau 19:22, 13 Jun 2012 (EDT)

"This report includes (1) an overview of the state of peer review in the Academy at large, (2) a set of recommendations for moving forward, (3) a proposed research agenda to examine in depth the effects of academic status-seeking on the entire academic enterprise, (4) proceedings from the workshop on the four topics noted above, and (5) four substantial and broadly conceived background papers on the workshop topics, with associated literature reviews. The document explores, in particular, the tightly intertwined phenomena of peer review in publication and academic promotion, the values and associated costs to the Academy of the current system, experimental forms of peer review in various disciplinary areas, the effects of scholarly practices on the publishing system, and the possibilities and real costs of creating alternative loci for peer review and publishing that link scholarly societies, libraries, institutional repositories, and university presses. We also explore the motivations and ingredients of successful open access resolutions that are directed at peer-reviewed article-length material. In doing so, this report suggests that creating a wider array of institutionally acceptable and cost-effective alternatives to peer reviewing and publishing scholarly work could maintain the quality of academic peer review, support greater research productivity, reduce the explosive growth of low-quality publications, increase the purchasing power of cash-strapped libraries, better support the free flow and preservation of ideas, and relieve the burden on overtaxed faculty of conducting too much peer review."--Kboileau 15:50, 15 Jun 2012 (EDT)



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