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Web Reviews for Journal Submissions

This day had to come. Some journals are experimenting with online submissions and online reviews in the process of accepting pieces for publication. Here’s a piece by Patricia Cohen at NYTimes describing the process.

For professors, publishing in elite journals is an unavoidable part of university life. The grueling process of subjecting work to the up-or-down judgment of credentialed scholarly peers has been a cornerstone of academic culture since at least the mid-20th century.


Now some humanities scholars have begun to challenge the monopoly that peer review has on admission to career-making journals and, as a consequence, to the charmed circle of tenured academe. They argue that in an era of digital media there is a better way to assess the quality of work. Instead of relying on a few experts selected by leading publications, they advocate using the Internet to expose scholarly thinking to the swift collective judgment of a much broader interested audience.

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posted August 26, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Interesting. In one sense the article is public and published as soon as it goes on-line for comment. This would be a problem in some fields. But it is already common practice in a more ad hoc less controlled fashion in some areas of physics.

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Scot McKnight

posted August 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm

As I read the article, I wondered this but assumed this wasn’t a fully public online publication but limited to a group who could legitimately evaluate.

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Win V

posted August 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Interesting. The internet was invented for two main purposes – essentially creating a military communications network that would survive a nuclear assault and scientific collaboration (and this was mainly to alleviate the problem of limited access to super-compute nodes at the universities). This is why the first interconnected computers were funded by DARPA and connected at universities (UCLA and Stanford, specifically) to create ARPA-Net.
Given that, it seems only natural this would occur. I’m actually surprised it’s taken this long! Scientists have been using the internet for collaboration since the beginning, so it seems perfectly logical!

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Joshua Wooden

posted August 26, 2010 at 8:22 pm

As a lowly, pee-on undergraduate, I feel unqualified to engage in this discussion. But I do have to say- it really takes the whole, I don’t know, scholarliness out of submitting ones work if it is not evaluated by others who are also experts in the field. What is the benefit of submitting this kind of work online?

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Scot McKnight

posted August 26, 2010 at 9:52 pm

There is a panel of experts along with a bundle of others who read it; it’s not just thrown open to the Web.

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Sexy Hairstyles

posted August 27, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Why do some owe money and others get a refund for their taxes?

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posted August 27, 2010 at 4:02 pm

This is related to higher education…not taxes…?:-)
Scot, have you seen this story about Bill Gates’ favorite teacher?
Is the higher ed cost bubble ready to pop?

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