Experimental Use of Blog-Based Peer Review Gives Mixed Results

Jeffrey R. Young, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Apr 02, 2008
Commentary by Stephen Downes

One of the things about pilot studies is that you create highly artificial circumstances. For example, if you pilot a blog-based peer review of one book, everybody looks at that book. This is very different from what would happen if every book were reviewed on a blog. Also, if you review one book, you have nothing like a network, community and infrastructure that builds up around the initiative. It just happens in isolation, without context. And indeed, one wonders whether you want things called 'books' and 'peer review' in an electronic publishing work at all. All of that said - having read the article I still don't see why the Chronicle labled an experiment in a failure ("it will not replace traditional blind peer review anytime soon," writes the author). The blog generated more comments, and sharper comments (despite the allegation that the reviewers, as 'self-selected', were kinder than anonymous reviewers would be.
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