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.


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