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Peer Review in the Age of Digital Humanities - Roopika Risam
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Peer Review in the Age of Digital Humanities - Roopika Risam


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  • 1. Peer Review in the Age of Digital Humanities Roopika Risam Salem State University Twitter: @roopikarisam
  • 2. Peer Review in Print Double-blind peer review remains the gold standard for validating scholarly work Value accrued by scholarship has traditionally flowed mono-directionally from peer review Primacy of print-based peer review practices are reinforced by hierarchies governing academic hiring and tenure and promotion
  • 3. Peer Review’s Digital Problem Conventions governing the gatekeeping of “scholarly” work are increasingly mismatched to the digital milieu Digital scholarship requires both consideration of factors that distinguish it from print scholarship and a new approach to vetting digital work
  • 4. Beyond Formats Digital scholarship raises questions of medium or platform Digital academe raises questions of epistemology Digital scholarship is not simply print scholarship gone digital but redefines genre and gives rise to its own conventions
  • 5. The Luddites Speak E-journals marked an early foray into digital platforms for academic work Online journals raise concerns that recourse to the digital decreases scholarly merit, even when the journals have review boards Many e-journals reproduce the hierarchies and values of print knowledge, relying on traditional notions of what academic work looks like
  • 6. Affordances of the Digital Scholarly publishing has responded with greater interest in open access Digital platforms have made the creation of new journals possible Journals often use digital platforms to distribute articles ahead of the publication lags that accompany born-print journals
  • 7. Digital Differences Digital scholarship is often collaborative, rarely finished, and frequently public These qualities render digital work not readily legible to hiring or tenure and promotion committees Consideration of these differences is central to scholarship in the 21st century
  • 8. Digital Collaborations Digital scholarship is often collaborative Creation and distribution of print knowledge in the humanities is usually solitary Collaborative work allows scholars to combine skills, perspectives, labor, and time Pitfall: Evaluating individual contributions in hiring or tenure and promotion is difficult
  • 9. Digital Ends Digital scholarship is rarely finished Digital projects may exist in phases or be perpetually in progress There is often no single event comparable to submitting a manuscript for review Pitfall: Digital projects require new approaches to linear conventions of scholarly time
  • 10. Digital Publics Digital scholarship is frequently public Scholarship in the humanities traditionally relies on private labor Public components of print scholarship are encoded in rituals: talks, symposia, panels Pitfall: Differences of privacy and publicness for print and digital scholarship cleave to status and prestige
  • 11. Radical Digitality Digital scholarship threatens to displace a benign academic who does not trouble the value and status of print knowledge The digital scholar is a radical actor, part of a growing trend in academic discourse that requires rethinking of the production of academic value
  • 12. Making the Digital Legible Tracking citations, grants, and usage statistics DHCommons Anvil Academic Redefining evaluation Attending to particulars of the digital as affordances