A new project is looking at the concept and viability of open peer-to-peer review for scholarly articles. This type of review, also known by the nickname P2P, allows anyone who's interested in an academic subject the chance to weigh in on scholarly content before it's published.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently gave a $50,000 grant to New York University Press and MediaCommons. The grant money will allow the two organizations to form an advisory board of six scholars to take a critical look at open peer-to-peer review. The results will be published in a white paper.
Open peer-to-peer review differs from what may be considered the "typical peer review process" because the identities of those providing feedback are no longer anonymous. The use of anonymous reviewers has been criticized for its lack of accountability and possible bias.
Open peer-to-peer review is generating quite a bit of interest in the humanities lately, according to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle highlighted an instance where the Shakespeare Quarterly opened itself up to an open peer-to-peer review for its special issue on Shakespeare and new media. The review apparently went well and the journal is trying it again in an upcoming issue examining Shakespeare and performance.
A press release from New York University Press quotes the dean of the Division of Libraries, Carol A. Mandel, as stating, "Peer review is considered the backbone of academic publishing. It is the vetting process for the selection of publishable works and the means by which scholars offer critical feedback prior to publication. However, scholars today connect with their peers via the Internet, and they naturally want to extend their online networks to the peer review process."
The release from the New York University Press did not give a deadline for the White Paper publication but stated the results will "of course be made available for open peer review."