[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Peer-Editors and Peer Review

I think Stevan is probably right about emphasizing the importance 
of scholars serving as editors (rather than "professional 
editors") in journal publishing in order to uphold standards of 
scholarly excellence. but i would also urge that the system for 
book publishing is more complex in this respect as it is a 
complicated and dynamic mixture of input from three different 
kinds of major players--the publishing house's acquiring editors, 
the "expert" peer reviewers chosen by them, and the faculty 
editorial boards that serve as the final authority in determining 
what gets published at university presses--each of whose 
perspectives is important to making the best decisions. I explain 
this system in my 1999 essay on "The 'Value Added' in Editorial 
Acquisitions" in the Journal of Scholarly Publishing, if anyone 
is interested. It can be accessed here: 

The difference between these two systems of editorial 
decisionmaking is ill understood outside of the publishing 
industry (and sometimes even within it!), and proposals to 
disintermediate the system for book acquisitions in the 
open-access environment by relying only on peer review as done in 
the journals arena are seriously off base, IMHO.

Sandy Thatcher

>> Dear Steven,
>> I believe what is missing from nearly all conversations about 
>> scientific publishing, including the [editorial cited] below, 
>> is the importance of editors.
>Johnston, Mark (2009) Editorial:  Reclaiming Responsibility for
>Setting Standards. Genetics 181: 355?356 DOI:
>Dear Mark,
>I agree completely that a qualified and conscientious editor who 
>reviews the submissions, selects the peer reviewers, and 
>adjudicates the reports and revisions -- the "primus inter 
>pares" to whom both authors and referees are answerable -- is an 
>essential component of peer review, as you state in your 
>informed and impassioned editorial, cautioning against journals 
>run instead by professional editors rather than practising 
>scientists and scholars.
>>  Everyone bows to peer-review, but few seem to understand or
>>  acknowledge the importance of editors to distill those
>>  reviews and adjudicate the reviewers" opinions.? That is the
>>  real (and essential) role of journals.
>You are absolutely right. Peer review is only as effective as 
>its editor. (And once text-generation, access-provision and 
>archiving is offloaded onto institutional repositories, peer 
>review -- including the crucial role of the primus inter pares 
>-- will be not only the real and essential function of journals, 
>but the only one.)
>>  The lengthy thread [here] only alludes to (quite briefly) the
>>  importance of editors for marshalling fair and effective peer
>>  review:
>>> SH: "what"s important is that it really provides answerable, 
>>> interactive peer review, as a precondition for certification 
>>> at the body"s known quality level"
>>  I attach my [editorial on] the importance of (peer) editing to science.? I
>>  sincerely believe peer-editing is the foundation of science and must be
>>  defended. http://www.genetics.org/content/181/2/355.full
>Bravo for your editorial. I think Open Access can help restore 
>the peer-editor to the role they had played in the best journals 
>(and, in a few, still do), by focusing journal publication on 
>its sole essential function in the online/OA era.
>Stevan Harnad
> > Sincerely,
> >
> > Mark Johnston
>>  Mark Johnston
>>  Editor-in-Chief
>>  GENETICS (the peer-edited journal of the Genetics Society of America)
>>  http://www.genetics.org