open peer review in practice

This is really a selfish proposal: I want to take advantage of Jack Doughtery being at THATCamp by having a conversation in which we rigorously analyze and critique the experience of conducting open peer reviews. Jack, with┬áKristen Nawrotzki, co-edited Writing History in the Digital Age, a volume of essays that was open peer-reviewed and that will be published by Univeristy of Michigan Press. I’ve guest-edited an issue of Shakespeare Quarterly on Shakespeare and Performance that went through an open peer review and, as an Associate Editor of SQ, have been involved with our earlier open peer review of an issue on Shakespeare and New Media and am currently involved with a soon-to-be-announced open-peer-reviewed issue. As far as I know, Jack and I are among the very very few people to have edited open peer review projects in the humanities (we are all, of course, indebted to Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s Planned Obsolesence, and maybe if the session happens and we tweet loudly enough, she’ll be able to be part of the conversation too).

I’d like to take a hard look at the actual practice of open peer review. What worked well and what didn’t? What changes would we make to the model we used? Is it sustainable, or under what conditions might it be sustainable? I’ve written about my experience, but I would benefit from a conversations with others about the nitty-gritty details and the larger questions about the value and use of open peer review in the humanities.

For some analysis that’s already out there, I recommend Jack et al’s recent post “Conclusions: What We Learned from Writing History in the Digital Age.” There’s also a cluster of essays at the Postmedieval Forum on “The State(s) of peer review.”

About Sarah Werner

I am the Undergraduate Program Director at the Folger Shakespeare Library and Associate Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly; I'm also in charge of the Library's research blog, The Collation. I write about early modern culture, book history, and cultures of reading on my own site, Wynken de Worde; I've spent a lot of time running an open peer review for a special SQ issue on Shakespeare and performance, and I'm the author of one book and the editor of another. Some of you know me as @wynkenhimself.

6 thoughts on “open peer review in practice

  1. Hi Sarah – we met briefly last year at CHNM 2011 and I look forward to a longer conversation with you and others on this topic this year. Perhaps my co-editor Kristen Nawrotzki will be able to join in from Germany, too. Thanks for suggesting it.

  2. I am very interested in attending this session. My colleague Trevor Getz and I are doing a World History project somewhat similar to Writing History utilizing the same platform. Having secured a contract from an academic press we are approaching making the project public. I would love to talk with you all about your past experiences with open peer review!

  3. Hi Sarah,

    I think this is a great idea for a session. Unfortunately I’m not going to make it to THATCamp this year, but I’ll be following along from a distance, so be sure to tweet any links to session docs or the like. One other project that is in the process of developing mechanisms for Open Peer Review and that has some experience in this area is the History Working Papers Project ( that’s being led by Tim Hitchcock (@timhitchcock) and Jason Kelley (@Jason_M_Kelly).

  4. As a contributor, I’d be happy to give my perspective too, if that helps. Trevor Owen will be at THATCamp and also contributed. I’m not sure from quick glance at the campers list who else may have.

  5. Pingback: Writing History in the Digital Age » THATCamp discusses open peer review & Writing History in the Digital Age

Comments are closed.