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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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In this piece on the future of peer review for the British Academy, I assert that, in the humanities:

  • OA is not about abandoning peer review but it does provide the opportunity to rethink its role and our methods.
  • 67% of existing OA journals do not charge APCs and yet academics have tended to steer clear of them.
  • People opt for recognised outlets because of the (erroneously) perceived emphasis on publication venue by accreditation structures such as RAE/REF/tenure.
  • In the print world peer review was historically linked to page limits; these do not apply in the electronic realm.
  • Double blind review is a misnomer and even then preserved anonymity can be problematic.
  • The alternative is to publish everything that meets a certain threshold of academic soundness and to let readers decide what should last; in effect a kind of post-publication, or peer-to-peer, review.
  • This modification of peer review could lead to more collaboration and less insistence on an individual finished product.

The piece is available to freely download (as well as appearing in a hard copy edition), as is the whole collection. The piece is licensed under a CC-BY-NC-ND license.