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Home :: Archive :: 2012 :: August ::
Peer Review

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0326  Thursday, 2 August 2012

 

[1] From:        John Drakakis < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         August 2, 2012 4:23:05 AM EDT

     Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Peer 

 

[2] From:        Gabriel Egan < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         August 2, 2012 4:43:31 AM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Peer 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        John Drakakis < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         August 2, 2012 4:23:05 AM EDT

Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Peer

 

I take Larry Weiss’s point,

 

BUT there is a danger that he is likely to fall into the very trap that he wishes to get out of. NO reviewer should be bothered by the ‘wrath’ of a disappointed scholar, and in any event, the reviewer’s not knowing the identity of the writer (especially in the case of journal submissions) should take care of the fear factor. Clearly, particular journals have particular slants, and anyone submitting material to them needs to know this. A heavily theoretical piece submitted to a journal that resists theory is asking for trouble.  The real problem is that scholars invest their careers in publication of this kind, so that a rejection—with perfectly good and sound reasons attached (as they should be) – is too easily translated into something personal. The trouble is that publishers and editors know this and therein lies the problem.

 

Editors make decisions but those decisions need to be transparent.  The practice in a number of journals is to give feedback to contributors, and often that feedback will take the form of advice on how to improve the piece if it is considered not to be ready for publication. On the other hand, the pressure to publish (especially in article form) often results in submissions that are badly written and it is, among other things, an editor’s job to make sure that what appears in a journal is of a high standard. Established scholars with reputations have choices. Younger scholars, upon whose shoulders the full pressure of publication rests, are forced by the structure of the profession in its present heavily bureaucratised form, to place career before scholarship. Unless and until that binary is reversed then the process of submission and editing will always generate the paranoia that we have seen operating in what started this debate in the first place. 

 

Cheers

John Drakakis 

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Gabriel Egan < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         August 2, 2012 4:43:31 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Peer

 

Larry Weiss writes of peer review:

 

> It would be preferable, however, for referees to

> recuse themselves if they infer the identity of

> the author. Perhaps Gabriel, who wants a pure

> double-blind scheme, will agree.

 

Agreed. If the anonymity is compromised—either because the referee recognizes the work, or (as with Downs’s case) the author identifies herself—the referee’s opinions should not count. But the obligation to ensure this sort of thing is the editors’, as they must be able to justify the journal’s practices to the publisher and (more importantly) to external audits such as the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF). The referee’s responsibility ends with telling the editors about the loss of anonymity.

 

Gabriel Egan

 

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