Reaction to Our Peer Review Panel

After delivering my talk as part of a panel on academic peer review at the Modern Language Association annual convention yesterday, I felt extremely let down. I did not feel I had read well, and had fumbled the questions afterwards. Part of the problem was that I delivered the talk via Skype and was unable to see or hear the audience (the computer’s camera in the room was directed to the podium and away from the audience). That was disorienting, to say the least.

Another problem was that I followed Cheryl Ball, editor of Kairos and at least six times as competent as I am. And was followed by Allen Mendenhall, a lawyer and PhD student in English, also better than I am. Even the moderator, my colleague Sean Scanlan, knows more about the issue than I do–and did a great job handling the panel.

Today, then, I was a little shocked to read Scott Jashik’s article on the panel on Inside Higher Ed. He makes me wish I could have been there in person. I am pleased that he could see beyond my stuttering delivery to the point I was trying to make.

The issues surrounding blind peer review are complex and daunting. Perhaps our panel, along with Jashik’s article, do provide some small movement towards resolving them.

I hope so.

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