An experiment in having a book peer-reviewed online has concluded, and the results are detailed in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The book entitled Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies,” examines the importance of using software design and traditional media-studies methods in the study of video games. MIT Press was willing to try the blog-based peer review but only if it could conduct a traditional peer review as well.

The author summarized the results thusly:

“The blog commentators did a better job giving detailed advice on individual paragraphs and sections, while the traditional peer reviewers gave better advice about the overall structure of the book.”

Also, the book author notes, blog criticisms were more pointed and detailed than traditional reviews.

Overall, this appears to be a new option, not a replacement. Also, depending on how the blog is configured, not all comments to the author need be made public, an option not discussed in the Chronicle article. Finally, the issues raised recently about protecting peer-reviewer identities and records bear some consideration.

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.