20.457 peer-reviewing?

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 09:31:38 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 457.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 09:25:29 +0000
         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
         Subject: peer-reviewing?

Arriving in today's small batch of messages from Humanist is an
invitation to attend KCPR2007, the 2nd International Symposium on
Knowledge Communication and Peer Reviewing,
http://www.info-cyber.org/kcpr2007/. In the background statement for
the conference strong statements are made against the process of
peer-reviewing. Most if not all of these statements are made in the
context of the physical or biomedical sciences, in which (I would
assume) competition is far sharper than in the humanities, where
getting there first is not much of an option. Perhaps, then, it is
not surprising that my own experience with peer-reviewing, both as a
reviewer and as one reviewed, is much more positive than the
experiences which would appear to motivate KCPR 2007.

Even so, I wonder if it is fair to put the blame on peer-reviewing,
which is bound to turn up human failings and perversities. I also
wonder if, given our greater diversity in ways to publish now that
the Web provides them, a cogent solution to whatever problems is to
use that diversity. J. Scott Armstrong (Warton School, Penn) argues,
for example,

>Peer review improves quality, but its use to screen papers has met
>with limited success. Current procedures to assure quality and
>fairness seem to discourage scientific advancement, especially
>important innovations, because findings that conflict with current
>beliefs are often judged to have defects. Editors can use procedures
>to encourage the publication of papers with innovative findings such
>as invited papers, early-acceptance procedures, author nominations
>of reviewers, results-blind reviews, structured rating sheets, open
>peer review, and, in particular, electronic publication. Some
>journals are currently using these procedures. The basic principle
>behind the proposals is to change the decision from whether to
>publish a paper to how to publish it.

("Peer Review for Journals: Evidence on Quality Control, Fairness,
and Innovation", Science and Engineering Ethics 3 (1997): 63-84,



Dr Willard McCarty | Reader in Humanities Computing | Centre for
Computing in the Humanities | King's College London |
Received on Tue Feb 20 2007 - 04:40:22 EST

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