Peer Reviews and Shorthand

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0313  Monday, 23 July 2012

 

[1] From:        Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 20, 2012 1:11:16 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: Peer Reviews and Shorthand 

 

[2] From:        John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 20, 2012 1:12:36 PM EDT

     Subject:     RE: Peer Reviews and Shorthand 

 

[3] From:        Imtiaz H. Habib <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 20, 2012 1:51:58 PM EDT

     Subject:     RE: Peer Reviews and Shorthand 

 

[4] From:        Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 22, 2012 1:17:48 AM EDT

     Subject:     Re: Shorthand 

 

 

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

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

Date:         July 20, 2012 1:11:16 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Peer Reviews and Shorthand

 

It’s always dangerous to assume that Terence Hawkes isn’t yanking one’s chain, but I’ll risk it.

 

> Gabriel Egan’s defence of peer review, let alone

> 'double-blind peer review', strikes me as extremely

> odd. What does he think editors are for?

 

Journal editors in the humanities are, in my view, there for the same reason they exist in the sciences: to facilitate the scholarly debate and not to dominate it. That is, an editor should enable the publication of writing that she thinks is likely to be of interest and use to the readers of the journal. This function is impaired if the editor tries also to decide what is worth publishing and what is not, since with the best will in the world she will be unable to keep her prejudices out of the matter.

 

By seeking the confidential opinion of two expert referees who don’t know the identity of the would-be contributor, the editor stands a good chance of weeding out the contributions that won’t be of interest or utility without allowing other factors (amongst which personal animus between scholars is the most common and damaging) to get in the way.

 

Yes, there are limitations double-blind peer review. I see these as the chief ones:

 

  • The editor gets to pick the referees, and may consciously or unconsciously choose them in the hope of getting a favourable or unfavourable report.

 

  • The referees necessarily are high-ranking in their field, and are likely to represent one or more of the prevailing orthodoxies; this is a barrier to radical new ideas getting published.

 

  • The editor has to reject the hopeless cases even before they get seen by the referees (else the referees get grouchy and stop agreeing to referee), and may thereby eliminate a piece that ought to have got through.

 

We can do things to limit these harms. Online submission and review management systems provide statistics that are useful, for example showing which referees have especially high or low acceptance rates; a referee who in seeing 50 pieces has never approved one of them is probably impossible to satisfy and is as unhelpful to a journal as one who approved all 50.

 

If I’ve overlooked other disadvantages of double-blind peer review, I’d be grateful to hear about them. Over on another list we’re discussing whether Open Access monographs (yep, they’re coming) ought to be peer reviewed, and the debate about peer review is getting lively on a number of fronts.

 

If I had to pick one knock-down reason why double-blind peer review is a good thing, I’d fall back on science and medicine: the quality of science publishing is so high, and the medicines we get are so wonderfully efficacious, because human beings have figured out the benefits of double-blind processes. This doesn’t stop Hoffman-LaRoche and GlaxoSmithKline doing evil, but it makes it harder for them.

 

Gabriel Egan

 

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

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

Date:         July 20, 2012 1:12:36 PM EDT

Subject:     RE: Peer Reviews and Shorthand

 

Gabriel Egan and Gerald Downs have, between them opened a can of worms that has nothing to do with short-hand.

 

For what it’s worth I take the view that ‘blind’ peer reviewing should be transparent, and as Terry Hawkes strongly implies in his posting editors make decisions, and they are empowered to do so because they have a relevant competence.  I’m sure Bob Grumman can tell the difference between paranoid gossip and relevant discussion, and I assume that he seeks to avoid the former but read the latter. I’m not suggesting that anything get ‘banned’ but that serious discussion should not be laced with irrelevant speculations about who refereed what and when. Reading this strand makes me feel like the domestic cat who’s being kicked.

 

Personally I would regard it as part of professional courtesy to append my name to any adjudication I made, and I have never forbidden publishers or editors from divulging my identity when I have been asked to make an assessment.  I am surprised that this isn’t the norm. Is the profession so unprofessional that it can’t distinguish between a typescript and a person? And must judgements necessarily be ad hominem or ad feminam?

 

Yours

Anon

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Imtiaz H. Habib <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         July 20, 2012 1:51:58 PM EDT

Subject:     RE: Peer Reviews and Shorthand

 

I agree totally with this comment by Larry Weiss: “ Under the present regime, many insightful papers are denied publication because the author is relatively unknown or is not in need of support for a tenure application, while a piece of fluff dashed off by a “name” author could not possibly be denied publication.” It seems to describe the “gate keeping” function I’ve long noticed to be at work in the mainline EM journals, which is such a shame.  I also, obviously, agree with both Gabriel Egan’ s original suggestion and with Steve Urkowitz’s.

 

Imtiaz Habib

Old Dominion University (only to ensure I’m not taken as an innocent uninformed “foreigner”)!

 

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         July 22, 2012 1:17:48 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: Shorthand

 

Gabriel Egan observes of my comment that “no author would revise other people’s travesties.”

 

> That is to say, the author wouldn’t build on another’s

> error but would return to his original reading. That

> was also P. W. K. Stone’s assertion about this

> problem in King Lear.

>

> In fact authors demonstrably do what Stone and

> Downs say they would not do. Gary Taylor gives

> examples of James Joyce revising Ulysses using

> proofs containing printers’ errors, and in each case

> rather than returning to his original reading Joyce

> builds upon the error to make something new and,

> sometimes, inferior.

 

But Stone and I, if I may speak for him, are talking about the many manifest errors in Q1. By “travesties” I take the whole of the corruption into account. The few examples I’ve discussed can’t be isolated without missing the point. A possibility that Shakespeare so treated Q1 after 1608 while making both profound and faulty changes isn’t a probability. Stone does a good job on Q1 errors compounded in F. I doubt these compare to Ulysses. Though I wouldn’t necessarily suppose a revising author would return to his original reading, that’s more likely than what happens in F. I chose the “take up” example not for its strength, though it’s telling enough, but for its category (Qu & Qc unnoticed in Urkowitz). There are lots more. For instance, Stone adduces error at Q1 5.3:

 

   Her.  What are you? your name and qualitie?

And why you answere this present summons. 2779

   Edg.  O know my name is lost by treasons tooth.

Bare-gnawne and canker-bitte, yet are I mou't

Where is the aduersarie I come to cope with all.

   Alb.  Which is that aduersarie?                  (Gloster,

   Edg. What's he that speakes for Edmund Earle of

   Bast. Him selfe, what saiest thou to him?

   Edg.  Draw thy sword.

That if my speech offend a noble hart, thy arme

May do thee Iustice, here is mine.

Behold it is the priuiledge of my tongue,

My oath and my profession, I protest, . . . 2790

   Bast. In wisdome I sholud aske thy name, . . . 2801

By right of knighthood, I disdaine and spurne      2804

 

F makes a number of changes, including in these lines:

 

   Edg. Know my name is lost

By Treasons tooth: bare-gnawne, and Canker-bit,

Yet I am noble as the Adversary

I come to cope. . . .                                  F, 3073

   Bast. What safe, and nicely I might well delay,

By rule of Knight-hood, I disdaine and spurne: 3101

 

> It is obvious that By is a mistake for My. Edmund is

> saying that he waives his right, by the rules of trial

> by combat, to know the identity of his appellant

> (Edgar). . . . But in F the misprint By is overlooked

> and preserved. Two consequences follow: (a) the

> phrase 'by right', being unidiomatic, must be modified,

> and (b) the verbs 'disdain' and 'spurn' must be supplied

> with an object. An extra line comes in aid, and, in the

> event, the unnecessary effort results in confusion . . . .

> What must refer to the coming combat, yet that is not

> the object of Edmund's disdain, as the structure of the

> sentence seems to imply. The sense requires 'delay'

> as an object, or the predicate 'to do so' after 'spurn'.

> More significant, however, than the muddle itself

> is the clear evidence that a misunderstanding has

> initiated it. There can be no question but that F's

> extra line was inspired by a failure to identify the

> corruption in Q (Stone, 69).

 

Oxford and Cambridge accept Stone’s emendation; I think it’s right. F was trying to manufacture sense from an error, which could well be a mishearing: That is compatible with shorthand, where the phrase ‘By right’ might be heard instead of ‘My right’; more so if Kemp had a cold. In Bordeaux the scribe apparently used the same symbol for b and p in order to keep ambiguity from slowing him down. Errors resulted, but the time-saving value outweighed the down-side. However, I would not claim ‘By’ for ‘My’ as meaningful evidence for shorthand. But it is good evidence that F depended even on the Q errors. Stone notes too that bad punctuation is inherited by F, where

 

O know my name is lost by treasons tooth.

Bare-gnawne and canker-bitte,' Q1

 

is similarly punctuated in F but should be written, as per Theobald:

 

O know my name is lost,

By treasons tooth bare-gnawne and canker-bitte,

 

I think the next words of the speech are also indicative of confusion for the F reviser, whoever he was (not Shakespeare); which had me going for a while:

 

. . . yet are I mou't    Q1

Where is the aduersarie I come to cope with all. 

 

Yet am I Noble as the Adversary          

I come to cope.         F

 

Q1 is senseless until one realizes ‘ere’ is spelt ‘are’, when “Yet before I say why I answer the summons (move it), where is the creep.” Edgar’s sword was his badge, the privilege of his ‘quality.’ The sword served to dare Edmund on the one hand and keep the mask on the Lone Ranger on the other. “Noble as Edmund” would blow the cover. But F’s reviser couldn’t figure it out so he changed the dialogue: ‘yet are I’ became ‘yet am I’. Besides, he had to fix the meter.

 

Now, we can multiply inherited corruptions; how many will convince the revisionists among us? Gabriel Egan agrees (apparently) that Q1 itself was revised to F. Most scholars have compromised: Shakespeare’s foul papers—Q copy—served first to produce the F-like promptbook, which shared copy-duty with Q2 to get F. That simply bypasses the mass of corruption in Q.

 

Gerald E. Downs 

 

The Secret Player by Jinny Webber

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0312  Monday, 23 July 2012

 

From:        Jinny Webber <  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Friday, July 20, 2012

Subject:     The Secret Player by Jinny Webber

 

[Editor’s Note: Last week’s announcement of the publication of SHAKSPERean Jinny Webber’s The Secret Player did not include the information about purchasing the book. It is included below along with the original announcement. –Hardy]

 

The Secret Player by Jinny Webber, will be published August 6, 2012. The first of a trilogy, it begins the story of the actor Alexander Cooke, player listed in the First Folio who is credited by Edmund Malone as originating Shakespeare’s principal female roles. The fictional twist: in this story, Alexander Cooke was born female. 

 

Copies ordered from the website before the release will be discounted: www.NebbadoonPress.com; Kindle and Nook versions available online after that date. 

 

The Secret Player: Book orders should be placed at www.ShakespeareanTrilogy.com

 

Cover: The Secret Player (2.51 MB)

 

CFP: 2012 OVSC

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0311  Monday, 23 July 2012

 

From:        Joseph Sullivan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         July 20, 2012 11:19:40 AM EDT

Subject:     Updated CFP: 2012 OVSC (deadline 8/31)

 

Extreme(ly) Shakespeare(an)

The 36th Annual Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference

October 18-20, 2012 Marietta College

 

The planning committee of the Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference seeks proposals for papers or panels from across today’s theoretical and methodological landscape that engage some facet of the amalgam “Extreme(ly) Shakespeare(an).” “Extreme Shakespeare” alludes to the wide variety of extremities that can be found in Shakespeare’s work. It brings to mind those occasions where the playwright demonstrates either a lack of regard for or a lack of control over the principles of proportionality and balance, to the degree either of those principles were prioritized by dramatists of the early modern period. Of course, extremity is an inherently relative value, which leads to a second facet of the amalgam open to conferees. “Extremely Shakespearean” refers to the fundamental characteristics of Shakespeare’s art, craft, thought, philosophy, etc. How might we best operationalize the term “Shakespearean”? What quality or qualities should we identify as the quintessence of Shakespeare’s work? Conversely, where do we observe Shakespeare at his least Shakespearean? Have we in the past, do we now, and/or might we ever share a persuasive understanding of what constitutes the most significant attributes of Shakespeare? Is the pursuit a noble quest, or a fool’s errand?

 

The OVSC publishes a volume of selected papers each year and conferees are welcome to submit revised versions of their papers for consideration. Students who present are eligible to compete for the M. Rick Smith Memorial Prize.

 

2012 Plenary Speakers:

Ralph Alan Cohen (The American Shakespeare Center and Mary Baldwin College)

Lina Perkins Wilder (Connecticut College)

 

Featured conference events will include a site-specific production of Hamlet staged by the Marietta College Theatre Department as well as an Esbenshade Series performance by the Baltimore Consort. Other conference events will include a night owl screening of Coriolanus, an evening reception at a local establishment, our annual luncheon, coffee, tea and snack breaks that will have you stuffing your pockets “for later,” and all the October foliage your eyes can possibly take in.

 

The final deadline for abstracts and panel proposals is August 31st. All submissions and inquiries should be directed to Joseph Sullivan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by mail to Joseph Sullivan / English Department / Marietta College / Marietta, OH 45750.

 

http://www.marietta.edu/departments/English/OVSC/

Peer Reviews and Shorthand

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0310  Friday, 20 July 2012

 

[1] From:        Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 19, 2012 11:04:35 AM EDT

     Subject:     Re: Peer Reviews and Shorthand 

 

[2] From:        Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 19, 2012 1:37:00 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shorthand 

 

[3] From:        Jim Marino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 19, 2012 2:43:49 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shorthand 

 

[4] From:        Nick Ranson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 19, 2012 4:36:19 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shorthand 

 

[5] From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 19, 2012 5:24:51 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shorthand 

 

[6] From:        Tom Reedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 19, 2012 5:39:08 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shorthand 

 

[7] From:        Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 20, 2012 4:42:03 AM EDT

     Subject:     Shorthand 

 

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

From:        Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         July 19, 2012 11:04:35 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: Peer Reviews and Shorthand

 

Dear All,

 

First, I have to disagree with the august Harry Berger, Jr. about the continuation of the SHORTHAND string. Sometimes it takes a while for the story to tease its way out into the air, and I think that’s beginning to happen now.

 

Unlike Paul Werstine, who seems to have transmuted “narrative” into a four-letter word, at least in Shakespearean textual discourse, I have always found narratives to be among the best of our explanatory tools. I learned my bread and butter for several decades mostly teaching writing; I learned that often we make sense out of disparate data by forming a narrative that will help us make pattern out of the fog. We may be dead wrong, “a bush becomes a bear,” but given the time and space to sort out competing narratives we become wise. I think it is Stephen Booth “On the Importance of HAMLET” who points out that we hear and agree with Hamlet’s line about death being “that bourne from which no traveler returns” even as we saw and at least fictively believed that there was a ghost tromping across the stage before us a little earlier in the play. “No traveler returns” AND we just saw such a returned traveler. Booth points out that the mental phenomenon of holding these contradictory, indeed irreconcilable, items in our heads at the same time gives rise to the feeling of acrobatic mental capacity. He says, ever memorably, transmuting the voice-over from Olivier’s film, “Hamlet is the tale of an audience that cannot make up its mind.” The extravagantly contradictory Shakespearean textual data tends to make us feel supremely agile as we negotiate it even while we appear to others to be clumsily stumbling BEEN there, done that. Still do.

 

In any case, reading Gerald Downs’s narrative about his experiences with peer reviews prompted my memories of similar stories. An essay sent to Shakespeare Quarterly in the 1980s sat with them for 18 months, came back with suggestion for revision, went back to them after a couple of weeks, and then sat again, this time for a mere 12 months before being rejected totally. I found an “elsewhere,” in a festschrift, not requiring the same kind of vetting. During a long elevator ride at an SAA meeting I asked another journal editor (dear Arthur Kinney) for advice about finding a place another essay. He said to send it to him, and he ended up printing it in ELR. And the SHAKESPEARE’S REVISION OF KING LEAR volume that Gerald Downs finds so erroneous went to nineteen different academic publishers (in the form of an abstract with a note explaining that I was sending the abstract around to many at once), out of which only one thought enough of the abstract to call for a view of the full text. Whew! I lucked out, and with Princeton University Press. That was in the late 1970s. So, the peer-review process isn’t ideal, but it does work often, and it ain’t the only game in town.  

 

But to turn propaedeutic for a moment, let me suggest to Gerald Downs and those who don’t know about them the Shakespeare Association of America’s annual meeting Seminars.  These are on any Shakespearean topic, and the SAA Board actively encourages any and all suggestions for possible topics. They offer a chance for withered minds like mine as well as to freshly sprouted sources of insight to exchange writings in advance of a meeting and then to come together for (often) animated conversations at the annual convenings of the tribe. Ann Jennalie Cook invented the form, and the richness of our contemporary community’s discourse had been made possible by them. They ain’t fail-safe, of course. I recall one dismal gathering in far-off Brisbane, Australia, where, rather than discussion, we dozen-or-so textual scholars who had traveled half-around the world to talk were punished with not one but two droning 45-minute summations of the submitted papers (which of course we had all previously read), intoned ex cathedra, interruptions NOT invited. Despite such failures of the scheme, usually we get to try out ideas and see reactions outside the hit-or-miss rigors of a peer review process.  

 

So these are some of my narratives. I still think Gerald Downs really can’t see either the forest or the trees, scouring other people’s work for what he finds are egregious errors. (His SHAKSPER review of Grace Ioppolo’s DRAMATISTS AND THEIR MANUSCRIPTS . . . for example—as his comments on my work, too—should encourage readers to look again at Ioppolo’s writing and mine and then to wonder how Downs gets what we write s-o-o-o-o bent out of shape.) And I’d encourage him to join up in the dance, swing those theories and evidences into the whirl, smiling, rather than despair. Ah, Cleopatra, my love; you greeted Antony with your wonderful embracing question: “Comest thou smiling from the world’s great snare uncaught?"  

 

Being wrong isn’t so bad, after all.  Boring, though, is so bad.  

 

Ever,

Steve Urwrongowitz  (Errwrongowitz?) (Errorowitz? )

 

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

From:        Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         July 19, 2012 1:37:00 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shorthand

 

>“Do I need to know this?” Etc. 

>

>Cheers

>John Drakakis

 

I love scholarly bickering. To me it’s all part of Shakespeare Studies. As are other things that I’m not interested in.

 

But I don’t suggest they not be discussed, I simply find ways to avoid them. 

 

The only posts I would ban (besides obvious spam) on a website I ruled would be posts that reduce to an expression of the desire that only posts I thought of value be allowed.

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Jim Marino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         July 19, 2012 2:43:49 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shorthand

 

As Gabriel says, Douglas Brooks is no longer alive to defend himself from Gerald Downs’ attacks on his character. And some of us were very, very fond of Douglas Brooks.

 

If Downs persists in this behavior, I will challenge him to a duel.

 

Jim Marino

 

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Nick Ranson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         July 19, 2012 4:36:19 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shorthand

 

I entirely echo John Drakakis’ comments: anyone else agree?

 

[5] -------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         July 19, 2012 5:24:51 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shorthand

 

Gabriel Egan’s advocacy of double blind peer review is spot on. Under the present regime, many insightful papers are denied publication because the author is relatively unknown or is not in need of support for a tenure application, while a piece of fluff dashed off by a “name” author could not possibly be denied publication.

 

The only thing in Gabriel’s post that I disagree with is his suggestion that the reviewer’s anonymity be lost if the paper is accepted for publication, and that the reviewer’s comments be published along with the paper.  It seems to me that such a scheme would open the door to a variety of other abuses.

 

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Tom Reedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         July 19, 2012 5:39:08 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shorthand

 

Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote:

 

<snip>

 

> Most publications can use pre-publication discussion. Obviously, some

>don’t get it. In that respect, peer review is not very efficient. Though not 

>inclined to publish, I have some recent experience trying; assuming for 

>the nonce that I have something of worth to say on topics of interest to 

>me, description of a peer review or two may be in order.

<snip>

> If one realizes van Dam was correct to see STM’s Hand D as that of a 

>copyist, the first part of a difficult question (What’s Hand D?) gets easy. 

>Over the years I wrote it up and showed two scholars in 1996, one of 

>whom suggested publication. His professional interest made me feel an 

>obligation; anyone wishing to follow up would have to wait on me. For that 

>reason (and to credit van Dam, whose work in general gets short shrift) I 

>rushed to submit a paper—in 2004.

>

> Studies in Bibliography (my 2d choice) undertook an eleven-month peer 

>review ended favorably by the same person who encouraged me 

>years earlier. Was I one to look a gift-horse in the mouth? It bothered me 

>to have a leg up, but that was justified by a number of improving revisions 

>and the essay was scheduled for printing in 2007.

> Because of a thread on this group, Douglas Brooks and I corresponded

>in 2004 and I showed him the article for some feedback—but declined his

>request to submit it to his journal for a peer review. It was under review 

>elsewhere and little thought was given to his offer. In 2007 he published 

>the essay without my knowledge. Why? Who knows. Once SB was told, 

>the essay was understandably withdrawn. I took it pretty hard, but 

>mention it now only because Brooks later confirmed that the piece got 

>no peer review. So much for twelve years in the making, yet I’m still 

>mulling over Hand D because it still hasn’t been figured out and it’s 

>pretty interesting.

<snip>

 

Jerry is right in at least four statements: Most publications could use pre-pub discussion; peer-review (especially in this day and age of the Internet) is not very efficient; he was done wrong on his Hand D paper; and the problems of Hand D are pretty interesting. 

 

In fact, I tried to have a discussion with him about his Hand D paper on another venue some years ago, but he abandoned the field before the discussion progressed very far. A few interesting conclusions were drawn, and for the amusement of those who like to read such things, if Hardy will pardon my hijacking of the thread, here’s a set of chronological links of the substantive messages (it’s a lot more interesting than the discussion—or whatever it is—that’s been going on for what seems like six months or better, but that’s just my opinion).

 

1st  message in the thread (mine): https://groups.google.com/group/ardenmanagers/msg/15683905923f181e?hl=en

2. Jerry’s response: https://groups.google.com/group/ardenmanagers/msg/f7316bb737c43217?hl=en

3.TR:  https://groups.google.com/group/ardenmanagers/msg/a1e0708911962674?hl=en

4. JD: https://groups.google.com/group/ardenmanagers/msg/b1771ee5293a2a40?hl=en

5. TR: https://groups.google.com/group/ardenmanagers/msg/6dcb609bda7099f2?hl=en

6. JD: https://groups.google.com/group/ardenmanagers/msg/484eb5d0bf7f54d2?hl=en

7. TR: https://groups.google.com/group/ardenmanagers/msg/1cd2fbbe5c95d221?hl=en
8. Peter Groves chimes in: https://groups.google.com/group/ardenmanagers/msg/7b4d2e33f2daf57d?hl=en

9. PG: https://groups.google.com/group/ardenmanagers/msg/19a0d0fef0a7cebb?hl=en

10. TR: https://groups.google.com/group/ardenmanagers/msg/0a9ca50819ec183f?hl=en&

 

Tom Reedy

 

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         July 20, 2012 4:42:03 AM EDT

Subject:     Shorthand

 

Gabriel Egan’s defence of peer review, let alone ‘double-blind peer review’, strikes me as extremely odd. What does he think editors are for?

 

Terence Hawkes

 

Shorthand

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0309  Thursday, 19 July 2012

 

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

     Date:         July 18, 2012 11:59:54 AM EDT

     Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Shorthand 

 

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

     Date:         July 18, 2012 12:36:53 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shorthand 

 

 

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

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

Date:         July 18, 2012 11:59:54 AM EDT

Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Shorthand

 

I have followed the strand on ‘shorthand’, not because I have anything to contribute to it, but because I had hoped to learn something. In Gerald Downs’ latest posting I read more about his frustrations with reviewers. Do I need to know this, no matter how much I might sympathise with his frustrations? I’m all for a little bit of ‘flaming’ and harmless banter on SHAKSPER, but this is now getting out of hand.  Can we return to the concise, genially professional comments of the sort that Harry Berger has helpfully offered that present a challenge succinctly and accurately, without telling us what he’s had for breakfast or who his latest enemies might be.

 

Cheers

John Drakakis

 

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

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

Date:         July 18, 2012 12:36:53 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Shorthand

 

I sympathize with Gerald Downs’s experiences with peer review. The system is indeed imperfect. In all my dealings with journals, as would-be contributor and editor, I have advocated the use of double-blind peer review which, when properly practised, ought to avoid most of the problems Gerald Downs has experienced. It wouldn’t help with what Downs describes as the behaviour of the late Douglas Brooks, but since Brooks is not alive to defend himself I don’t think we can usefully explore that case.

 

I was scandalized to be part of a conversation at the Washington DC meeting of the Renaissance Society of America earlier this year in which a scholar just embarking on his career who had been given guest editorship of a special issue of a major journal blithely admitted that he didn’t plan to put the contributions through any form of peer review. I’ve been toying with the idea of complaining about this to more than just my friends and relatives as I really think it shocking.

 

As an advocate of double-blind peer review, I am troubled by these sentences by Downs:

 

<< For that article one of the reviewers was (I'm sure)

Gabriel Egan, with whom I had discussed an earlier version.

He has now officially judged the essay and would rather

not discuss that which didn't pass peer review. >>

 

Naturally, Downs’s implication of impropriety on my part is painful to me. I’d very much like to know why Downs is sure the reviewer was me. If the journal revealed to him the reviewer’s identity, it should not have. If it’s merely his hunch, I’d like to hear the evidence on which the hunch is based. If Downs is willing to throw light on this, I’m willing to say whether I was the reviewer.

 

The peer-review process could, in my view, be more transparent. In particular, I think reviewers should lose their anonymity when articles are accepted, and their reports should be published along with the articles.

 

Gabriel Egan

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