Library Notes for Political Science

Teaching resources, news, and links to keep McGill’s Political Scientists informed

Peer review: introduction and questions

Posted by Megan on October 5, 2010

Peer review is the bread and butter of academia, and it’s an essential concept for students (academicians-in-training) to understand. This quick video produced by North Carolina State University Libraries is great for introducing the topic.

However helpful a five-minute overview might be, it’s not enough. Publishing models are changing, and the very concept of peer review is evolving.

A recent story in the New York Times, for example, discusses the new review model used by Shakespeare Quarterly, which takes a “crowd-sourcing” approach. Submissions are posted online and reviews solicited before being selected for publication.  [“Scholars Test Web Alternative to Peer Review” by Patricia Cohen, August 23, 2010]

A new initiative called Liquid Journals also spins the notion of peer review by bringing together scientific information at various points in the production process. According to Technology Review, “The Liquid Journals platform does not discriminate between peer reviewed and non peer reviewed papers, raw data sets and blog posts. The idea is that smart scientists can decide for themselves what belongs in their own liquid journal, and influential leaders and groups in the movement will organically accrue a readership to their journal according to the quality of the work they select.”

The natural sciences are further ahead in developing new publishing models to combat the academic publishing crisis, but the social sciences and humanities are also starting to explore new ways to communicate.

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