Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 9: Peer Review

  • How is open peer review different from traditional blind peer review, and what are the implications for academic publishing?
  • How do digital media present credit problems for authors who are pursuing tenure?
  • How can academic communities handle credit for collaborative work?
  • What implications do these articles have for the way you are receiving credit for your group projects in this class?

Sheila Cavanagh, “Living in a Digital World: Rethinking Peer Review, Collaboration, and Open Access,” Journal of Digital Humanities 1 (4).

  • How do digital media complicate traditional scholarly peer review?
  • Why would digital contributions be difficult for traditional academic departments to assess? To include in tenure and promotion reviews?
  • Who are the peers who can review digital projects? What standards do they and should they apply? Are those the same criteria that department scholarly evaluations use?
  • Why is this true (or not)?: ‘“Self-publishing” on the web, for instance, does not correspond to traditional print “self-publishing” as closely as many non-digitally savvy faculty members believe.’
  • What are the problems of traditional peer review for digital projects?
  • How should graduate training adapt to the digital age?
  • Why are humanities scholars reluctant to see collaboration as worthy of credit?
  • Why do humanities scholars need institutional support for digital projects?

Bethany Nowviske, “Evaluating Collaborative DigitalScholarship (Or, Where Credit is Due),” Journal of Digital Humanities 1 (4).
  • Why does she argue that Tenure and Promotion committees are not really qualified to assess collaborative scholarship?
  • What does this mean?: “the activity I want to argue is actually the new responsibility of tenure and promotion committees. This is your responsibility to assess quality in digital humanities work — not in terms of product or output — but as embodied in an evolving and continuous series of transformative processes.”
  • Why is so much of this essay about human relationships?
  • What should we do about the problem of digital projects never being done?
  • Is this just a lot of hand-wringing over problems that scientists and museums (and other public historians) have long-since solved?
  • “Digital humanities practitioners don’t often say, but we all know that collaborative work involves a kind of perpetual peer review.”

Kristen Nawrotski and Jack Dougherty, “Introduction,” in Writing History in the Digital Age
  • What is different about this approach to peer review?
  • Take a look at some of the original comments:
  • It might be hard to tell, since we have been reading this volume across multiple weeks: but did their review process produce a “better book”?
  • What skills do you need to participate in (or run!) an open peer-review project such as this one?
  • How does the timing problem affect participation in a project like this one?
  • “As a result, higher education pays twice for scholarship produced by its own faculty: first, in the form of salary or sabbatical support for individual professors, and second, in fees for the right to distribute the work.”
  • Should blogs count?
  • Why doesn’t the Writing History in the Digital Age book have a comment section on the published version?
  • What do they mean by “filter then publish” and “publish then filter”?

Jack Dougherty, Kristen Nawrotzki, Charlotte D. Rochez, and Timothy Burke, “Conclusions: What We Learned from Writing History in theDigital Age,” in Writing History in the Digital Age
  • Can you think of any other project in which peer reviewers have become co-authors?
  • Does this conclusion—the result of the open peer review process—hang together effectively as an essay?
  • “But the most important lesson we learned was the power of a critical mass of contributors with their own social media connections. When we tweeted or blogged about new essay ideas on our edited volume, this information cascaded as several authors and commenters recirculated it on their Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress accounts.”
  • Were you interested in the comments made on the book in progress? Did anyone go back and look at them?
  • Would you publish an essay in progress on the internet?
  • “In this way, the volume blurred the boundaries between a conference and a book.”

Jack Dougherty, “Lessons Learned from Open Peer Review for Digital Book Publishing,” media commons: a digital scholarly network, October 29, 2013
  • What are the risks to publishers if they have an open peer review project? What are the reasons they might be inclined or disinclined to pursue such a project?
  • What are the risks to authors? Why might they be inclined or disinclined to participate in an open peer review project?
  • What difference does/should it make to authors in multi-paper projects to see the other essays as they develop?

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