Reimagining Peer Review (Office Hours Summary)

Learning Office Hours

“Reimagining Peer Review,” a co-presentation with Open Textbook Network, featured four guests who borrow from, disrupt, throw away, and shift elements of traditional peer review. They identified problems and discussed approaches to reimagining peer review.

This month, we were joined by Dan Rudmann (Associate Director, Community Outreach, punctum books), Catherine Ahearn (Head of Content, PubPub, Knowledge Futures Group), Karen Lauritsen (Publishing Director, Open Textbook Network), and our very own Zoe Wake Hyde (Assistant Director, Rebus Foundation).

Dan Rudmann described the review approach he takes in his role at punctum books. Every book is different, so there is no one standardized approach. This leads to a process that is reflective of the goals of each book. 

Catherine Ahearn picked up on the theme of being flexible with peer review. Failing to take into account the goals, the subject, and the audience of the book, leads to an undermining of the value of the book. 

“when we fail to take into account the subject matter, the goals, and the intended audiences of a publication, when we seek to put it through peer review, we also fail to fully support the work that has been done and we tend to undermine its potential value.” -Catherine Ahearn

Karen Lauritsen provided her understanding of how open textbooks creators can take on peer review. She told us about how faculty want to know more about the kind of peer review the book goes through, and how open textbooks can provide an alternative to the more opaque processes of commercial textbooks.

Zoe Wake Hyde talked about opening up the definition of what a reviewer is, allowing for, as Dan and Catherine described, a more customized peer review process. Like her fellow speakers, Zoe questions what defines the peer in peer review. 

Thanks to everyone who attended the session, and thanks to Dan, Catherine, Karen, and Zoe for taking on this sometimes controversial topic. As always, it’s a joy to work with the good people at OTN. Office Hours will be back in February for a discussion on classroom review. RSVP for “Facilitating Classroom Review of Open Textbooks” on February 20th at 2pm ET.

Read the transcript for “Reimagining Peer Review.”

Leave your comments about this Office Hours session on the Rebus Community Platform.

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