Revolution Lullabye

January 16, 2013

Selfe and Hawisher, Methodologies of Peer and Editorial Review: Changing Practices

Selfe, Cynthia L. and Gail E. Hawisher. “Methodologies of Peer and Editorial Review: Changing Practices.” College Composition and Communication 63.4 (June 2012): 672-698.

Selfe and Hawisher, in this section of a two-part symposium in CCC on peer review, describe the history and the changing nature of prepublication and postpublication peer review.  They explain the strengths and drawbacks of traditional double-blind or doubly anonymous peer review (in which both the author and reviewers remain anonymous to one another), and then describe how the advent of digital publishing and using electronic platforms for peer review has changed the process to be one that is more open and collaborative.  They draw on the “gift economy” argument by Kathering Fitzpatrick (Planned Obsolescence) to illustrate changing perceptions and expectations for academic publishing, such as a reconceptualization of copyright, access, and the ultimate purposes and aims of academic scholarship. In their study of peer and editorial review, they interviewed the editors of three digital presses and four online journals in composition and rhetoric in order to discover how the digital environment has changed peer review and publication. They find that online publications, especially ones that utilize coding, video, and audio features, allow for and perhaps even require a more collaborative and transparent relationship among the authors, editors, and reviewers than traditional anonymous peer review.

Notable Notes

challenge of digital publication: maintain integrity, professionalism

hierarchy of prestige of journals is maintained by senior scholars passing on preferences/expectations to junior scholars

citation indices only contain a small percentage of the field’s journals (684)

peer review relies on volunteer efforts to edit, review articles – time-consuming process that is not often recognized as part of scholarly work

Quotable Quotes

“A combination, then, of understanding review as a collaborative process supported by dramatic changes in digital communication has influenced many editors in the field to make reviews more open” (687).

“As should be quite obvious, this exploration of changing peer review practices and their consequences is just a beginning and has been helped immeasurably not only by colleagues who edit established journals but also by those who pioneer the creation of new venues through which the field may share its research and those who participate willingly within such experimental systems. We are convinced that only through such exploration and experimentation will we, as a large and complex profession, develop better, more productive, and more humane ways of dealing with the peer review of scholarship” (693).

May 18, 2011

Boyer, Response

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Boyer, Ernest L. “Response.” In Send Our Roots Rain.

Boyer argues that Kolvenbach’s address at the bicentennial convocation points out the key problems and challenges facing all institutions of higher education, not just Jesuit ones. He explains four themes that he believes are central to preparing students to enter and serve in the modern world: an awareness of the sacredness of language and an ability to be ethical, precise rhetoricians; a need to see the interconnectness of knowledge throughout the curriculum; an understanding that knowledge should be used to serve others and for greater human good; and an acknowledgement that the educated should protect those who are less fortunate.  Boyer argues that Jesuit institutions can give students the larger vision of what it means to be human: to serve others.

Notes and Quotes

“I am convinced that to achieve excellence, the nation’s colleges and schools must reaffirm the centrality of language. The Jesuits’ historic emphasis on rhetoric can lead the way. But in the Jesuit tradition, good communication means not just clarity of expression; it means integrity as well. In the Ignatian tradition language is a sacred act. So excellence in education means preparing students who are not just good writers and good speakers but good people too.” (11)


Four themes: the sacredness of language, shaping a curriculum with perspective, directing knowledge to human ends, confronting injustice

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