I’m hoping to spend some time talking about mechanisms for transforming peer review practices and understandings via open social publishing systems. In October 2009, I published a draft of my book, Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy, online for open review. The process has been extremely productive, and I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback, but it’s left me with three key questions about how to transform something like CommentPress into a viable mode of open peer review:
(1) How do we create the drive within communities of practice to participate in these reviews? I’m still amazed how many people contributed to mine, but it took a good bit of strategic planning at the outset.
(2) How can we ensure that the reviews we’re getting through a system like CommentPress don’t lose the real strengths of conventional peer reviews — the ability of a reviewer to think synthetically about the text as a whole? There’s at least the potential in a fine-grained commenting system of losing the forest in the trees.
(3) What kinds of technological or social additions can we imagine to such a system that might help review committees, publishers, provosts, etc., of the value of open review?
I’m certain that there are more questions to be asked, but these are the ones that have been most persistent in my mind. I’ll look forward to talking with you all about these things, and more!