SCS-52: Peer Review: Present Tensions, Future Directions (Joint AIA/SCS Workshop)

  In-Person   AIA Session   SCS Session   Workshop


Colin Whiting, Dumbarton Oaks; Jennifer Sacher, American School of Classical Studies at Athens; Sam Huskey, University of Oklahoma


Ellen Bauerle, University of Michigan Press; Emma Blake, University of Arizona & AJA; Sam Huskey, University of Oklahoma; Sarah Murray, University of Toronto & JMA; Sarah Nooter, University of Chicago & CP; Jennifer Sacher, ASCSA & Hesperia; Colin Whiting, Dumbarton Oaks & DOP; Lin Foxhall, University of Liverpool & JHS


We all know what the peer review process generally consists of: two or three anonymous scholars evaluate an anonymous new book or article manuscript and offer feedback to help the author develop their work and help the publisher decide if the work merits publication. Does this system work? What can we imagine in its place? For many authors who are under the pressure to "publish or perish," peer review is seen as an obligation that must be cleared as quickly as possible rather than a chance at significantly reworking and improving a manuscript. Rather than a dialogue or process, peer review is seen as a challenge or trial. Nor are all reviews created equal. Some reviewers may offer copious amounts of advice and citations, while others may be so terse as to be meaningless; some may offer insights that could only come from reading a manuscript with fresh eyes, while others suggest additions of only tangential relevance or provide a list of typos. "Reviewer 2" is a running joke among academics, but for many scholars, an overly harsh, abusive, or biased review is no laughing matter. What can authors and editors do with these reviews? How can we encourage more constructive reviewing practices? Reviewers, too, are also facing increasing demands on their time, and performing peer review is generally not considered for hiring, tenure, or promotion. As the pressure to publish increases, so do the number of submissions in need of peer review, but many peer reviewers have observed that the recent increase in the number of submissions is not matched by an increase in the overall quality of submissions. What might the future of peer review look like, for traditional and non-traditional publications? What would a world without peer review look like? Panelists at this workshop include editors and scholars. Before an open-ended discussion, each will first deliver a brief set of remarks, covering what they expect when they ask for a peer review or when they sit down to write a peer review; what they consider to be the biggest problems in the current peer-review model; and where they see the state of peer review in the near future.