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MediaCommons, Open Review, and the New York Times

[Crossposted from MediaCommons.]

The open review experiment conducted by MediaCommons on behalf of Shakespeare Quarterly continues to make a splash. Previously covered by Jennifer Howard in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the experiment has now led to a front page story in the New York Times looking broadly at the ways that peer review is being opened up through projects such as ours and the Center for History and New Media’s Hacking the Academy.

We’re ecstatic to have gotten this attention. Now we hope to follow through. If you have an account here, you can already create a scholarly profile, publish your own blog, and build a research network. We’re taking proposals for projects that our network members want to develop under our auspices, and we’re also looking for submissions for MediaCommons Press. Get involved with us here, and help us build the future of scholarly publishing.

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    See: Peer Review Reform:

    Harnad, S. (1978) Inaugural Editorial. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1(1).

    Harnad, S. (ed.) (1982) Peer commentary on peer review: A case study in scientific quality control, New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Harnad, Stevan (1985) Rational disagreement in peer review. Science, Technology and Human Values, 10 p.55-62.

    Harnad, S. (1990) Scholarly Skywriting and the Prepublication Continuum of Scientific Inquiry Psychological Science 1: 342 – 343 (reprinted in Current Contents 45: 9-13, November 11 1991).

    Harnad, S. (1996) Implementing Peer Review on the Net: Scientific Quality Control in Scholarly Electronic Journals. In: Peek, R. & Newby, G. (Eds.) Scholarly Publishing: The Electronic Frontier. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. Pp 103-118.

    Harnad, S. (1997) Learned Inquiry and the Net: The Role of Peer Review, Peer Commentary and Copyright. Learned Publishing 11(4) 283-292.

    Harnad, S. (1998/2000/2004) The invisible hand of peer review. Nature [online] (5 Nov. 1998), Exploit Interactive 5 (2000): and in Shatz, B. (2004) (ed.) Peer Review: A Critical Inquiry. Rowland & Littlefield. Pp. 235-242.

    Harnad S. (2002) BBS Valedictory Editorial (2002) Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24

    Harnad, S. (2003) PostGutenberg Peer Review the invariant essentials and the newfound efficiencies

    Harnad, S. (2009) The PostGutenberg Open Access Journal. In: Cope, B. & Phillips, A (Eds.) The Future of the Academic Journal. Chandos.

  2. Thanks so much for your input. The point, of course, is that we’re in the process of developing those standards. Simply sitting back and saying “we don’t know how to do/judge this yet” isn’t sufficient. These experiments are precisely tests in the direction of creating a more fruitful, sustainable peer-to-peer review system.

  3. Best of luck. The testing is welcome. Just don’t declare victory till sustainability, scalability and quality have been demonstrated. The trouble is that just about everything new seems to work for a while!

    Suggest looking at the outcome of other, similar open review experiments that have been tried in the past 10 years (there have been quite a few).

  4. Gee, thanks for the recommendations. In fact, I’ve written a book about this issue — Planned Obsolescence — so I’m quite familiar with those experiments. I did my homework. And if you look at my bibliography, you’ll even see that I’ve read your work besides. Perhaps you might do me the courtesy of reading some of mine.