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Open Peer Review for the Humanities

What is Open Peer Review?

Permalink for this paragraph 0 Simply put, open peer review is the process of allowing one’s work to be reviewed by a wide audience.  It differs from “double-blind” review in that neither author nor reviewer is anonymous.  Furthermore, it opens review and comment to a much larger readership.  We all participate in open peer review from time-to-time without thinking about it.  For example, when we share our work at a conference, we are participating in a live version of the open review process.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 Digital open peer review is rapidly being accepted as a normal part of the scholarly production in the STEM subjects and in the Social Sciences.  Although it has not replaced more traditional forms of peer review, it has become a fixture of the academic publishing world.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 In the humanities, however, its impact is much less marked.  Not only have there been very few experiments in open peer review — Shakespeare Quarterly’s use of CommentPress being the most prominent — but there has been little work to assess the impact its eventual introduction will have on the humanities.  This is beginning to change.  A number of digital journals are in development including Open Canister, a media studies journal with which the History Working Papers Project is working closely.  Furthermore, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has recently funded a year-long study of peer-to-peer (P2P) review under the leadership of MediaCommons and New York University Press; while the Center for History and the New Media, has just announced its PressForward project, designed to incorporate online peer review within a wholly digital environment.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 So while open peer review has yet to substantially effect the humanities, it is set to become an important element of the humanities project in the next few years.

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