anthropoloblogolus

bolopolos

do we need peer reviewed blogs?

hell yes.

I can’t help but hurt myself.

[save me from my irrational self]

I’m starting to see the value of peer review. In fact, the way I see peer review is a lot like I see the blogsphere. Comments from your peers! Not strict control and set topics, but rather comments given on your work. So rock on peer review system, save me from my irrational self. Bring on the discipline. There certainly are times we could all benefit from feedback prior to sharing our thoughts. There’s also something to be said about worrying less about what others think, and more about just getting it out there! Peer reviewed blogging would simply give us more options. Having options is a great thing, and perhaps there is room for a middle ground between self-publishing and journal publishing.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. A peer-review reform could help a great deal. Blogging can actually make the process rather smooth, and there could be more incentives than “Promotion, Tenure, Reappointment.”
    Who knows, maybe some middle-ground between self-publishing and the typical forms of journal publishing may help solve multiple issues with the “publish or perish” model?

    Reply

  2. With so much reviewing and participation going on in the blogsphere, it’s interesting that anthro journals have such a hard time getting reviewers. Perhaps the problem is that the kinds of review they ask are too demanding for one person. I forget who said it on ted.com, but in a discussion about the open source movement a speaker argued that the distinguishing factor and benefit of open source is that one person can contribute a small bit of code, and never touch it again, whereas in traditional development a small group of programmers contribute everything. For peer review, this is perhaps the same situation. By opening up the review process, more contributors could offer small bits of insight (more frequently) instead of being forced to provide large commentaries (infrequently).

    Another angle: perhaps if a more accessible writing style was encouraged, people would be happier to read it. More people reading it would make it much easier to gather comments.

    Reply

  3. @OW Good point!
    (To prevent my post from being tagged, I’m not putting links as HTML. Feel free to edit or ask me to replace with a trackback.)
    The TEDtalk you mention is probably Clay Shirky’s:

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/clay_shirky_on_institutions_versus_collaboration.html

    And the “classic” reference on the topic is (anthro-trained) ESR’s description of Linus’s Law:
    “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus%27s_Law

    Your point about writing style relates to a reaction I tend to have. In fact, I think it’s indexing something deeper about form vs. content. Real academic peer-review should have to do with due dilligence and disclosure:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=66

    I tend to think like those people over at Language Log:

    http://158.130.17.5/~myl/languagelog/archives/001961.html

    There’s also the issue of status. “Peer” isn’t consciously used as a status term but, in the end, it has to do with some kind of social hierarchy. Those “peers” who matter aren’t fellow graduate students, when a given MA student submits a paper to a journal. It can hardly be a a non-academic professional in the field (who would likely have a lot to say about the topic) or the “native informant” of the pre-1986 ethnographic fieldwork practise. But it can be an emeritus professor, whose “peerness” is a little bit more difficult to argue.
    Professional academics tend to talk a lot about the practalities of having to review articles for publication. It usually comes down to discussion of the time it takes. But it may be about more than simple time-management. Yes, reviewing those articles takes time. Yes, people are over-extended already. But isn’t the peer-review system in need of a major overhaul regardless of the time pressure it puts on full-time tenure-track faculty members? If it really is merely an issue of time, just get Merlin Mann and David Allen to give you a workshop or something.

    http://www.43folders.com/

    http://www.davidco.com/

    Or do what most high-status people do: delegate! ;-)
    More seriously, there’s a lot of insight from OA, blogging, and Open Source which could alleviate many of the problems with the “publish or perish” system based on status-conscious “peer-review.” Who knows, maybe the antiquated “tenure” system could take advantages of the changes…

    Reply

  4. Catching up here! VERY sorry again about the slow responses, in the week I’ve been moving around I lost track of too many discussions.

    Once I lock down my proposal I’ll start going through these links. I’ve realized I’m doing too much at once, and I am forgetting to record bibliographic information on the go. My new strategy is to drop the references into Zotero FIRST, then read and process the material after! Hopefully I can work out a system/get disciplined enough before I end up with 1000 missing references.

    Sorry ranting here, but thanks again!

    Reply

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