Peer Review in Academic Promotion and Publishing: Its Meaning, Locus, and Future
A Project Report and Associated Recommendations, Proceedings from a Meeting, and Background Papers
Authors: Diane Harley and Sophia Krzys Acord
Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines(link is external)
Diane Harley, Ph.D., Senior Researcher and Principal Investigator; Sophia Krzys Acord, Ph.D.; Sarah Earl-Novell, Ph.D.; Shannon Lawrence, M.A.; C. Judson King, Professor, Provost Emeritus, and Principal Investigator
With generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation(link is external), the Center is continuing its research into the most pressing issues faced by universities as new forms of publication and scholarly communication emerge. Our work includes a number of past and present activities:
An Investigation of Peer Review in Academic Promotion and Publishing: Its Meaning, Locus, and Future
This project is under the direction of principal investigator Diane Harley.
In 2009 and 2010, we hosted a number of meetings with experts to explore how peer review relates to scholarly communication and academic values. The topics covered included assessing various forms of peer review and which are needed for specific academic purposes (e.g., advancement, publishing, extramural funding, national and international stature). Additionally, a considerable amount of time was spent discussing the perception that, although peer review represents the best available system, there are nonetheless a multitude of problems with it.
Flowing from our research and discussions was a proposal that it would be useful to examine how separating the peer review process from publication, and vice versa, might most effectively and practicably be accomplished given the currently entrenched system of peer review (which is organized primarily by publishers but carried out by faculty). In October 2009, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded CSHE a grant to explore the ramifications of separating these activities and, perhaps, creating a research dissemination system that is informed by, but not necessarily fully combined to, its own formal peer review system. The report from this research is published here(link is external).
Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An In-depth Study of Faculty Needs in Seven Disciplines
In addition to the final report published in 2010, Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines(link is external) (2010), a summary of the original project proposal and an Interim Report: Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication, published in 2007, are available online.
This project, which extended and complemented our first phase of research discussed below, focused on fine-grained analyses of faculty values and behaviors throughout the scholarly communication lifecycle, including career advancement, sharing, collaborating, publishing, resource generation, and engaging with the public. The goals of this project, conducted between 2007 and 2009, were to map and assess systematically:
The current and evolving scholarly communication needs of researchers in seven selected academic fields: archaeology, astrophysics, biology, economics, history, music, and political science. Our focus is on assessing scholars’ attitudes and needs as both authors and users of research results;
The capabilities of various traditional and emerging models of scholarly communication and publication for meeting those needs; and
The likely future scenarios for scholarly communication (by field), and how those scenarios might be best supported by institutional organizations and units (e.g., departments, libraries, commercial publishers, societies, etc.).
The research is based on the responses of 160 interviewees across 45, mostly elite, institutions in the seven fields. The report includes an overview of our results and conclusions and seven thickly described case studies corresponding to the seven disciplines. Each of the case studies is further divided into six broad and overlapping sections: tenure and promotion, publishing practices, sharing, collaboration, generation and use of resources, and public engagement.
The Influence of Academic Values on Scholarly Publication and Communication Practices
Our planning grant, overseen by principal investigator Jud King and Principal author and researcher, Diane Harley, focused on the importance of faculty values and the vital role of peer review in faculty attitudes and actual publishing behavior. The materials emanating from the first phase of the research (which investigated Anthropology, Biostatistics, Chemical Engineering, English Language Literature, and Law and Economics) are available online:
Publications include a Final Report: Scholarly Communication: Academic Values and Sustainable Models, and a Planning Proposal (pdf)
Seminar Series on the Future of Scholarly Communication (2004-2009)
CSHE hosts talks and seminars on this topic regularly. If you are interested in being added to CSHE's events announcement list, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail).