Thank you to Heather Staines from MIT’s Knowledge Futures Group for initiating this discussion in response to an invitation to participate in an open peer review process of the OA Main 2019 dataset and its documentation on the SCHOLCOMM list (the invitation was also sent to GOAL and the Radical Open Access List) and for permission to post her e-mails on Sustaining the Knowledge Commons.
Original e-mail (Heather Morrison to SCHOLCOMM, Jan. 7, 2020):
** January 15 suggested deadline **
This is a reminder that open peer review is being sought for the Sustaining the Knowledge Common’s project OA main 2019 dataset and its documentation. For those who may not have time for a thorough peer review, a set of 6 questions is provided and responses to any of the questions would be welcome. This is an opportunity to participate in an experimental approach to two innovations in scholarly communication: a particular approach to open peer review, and peer review of a dataset and its documentation. The latter is considered important to encourage and reward researchers for data sharing.
Although full open peer review is the default, if anyone would like to remain anonymous this should be reasonably easy to accommodate by having a friend or colleague forward your comments with an indication of their anonymity.
January 15 is the deadline but if anyone interested would like to participate and needs more time, just let me know. Thank you to those who have already provided comments.
Details and materials can be found here:
Dr. Heather Morrison
Associate Professor, School of Information Studies, University of Ottawa
Professeur Agrégé, École des Sciences de l’Information, Université d’Ottawa
Principal Investigator, Sustaining the Knowledge Commons, a SSHRC Insight Project
Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca
[On research sabbatical July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020]
Heather Staines, first response, Jan. 8, 2020:
I took a look at your open peer review survey. Very interesting!
I did a blog post during peer review week on collaborative community review. I thought you might find it interesting: https://thecommons.pubpub.org/pub/ek9zpak0/branch/1?access=fsivw788
Collaborative Community Review on PubPub · The Knowledge Futures Commonplace
I interviewed the authors of three MIT Press books (coming 2020) who used open peer review on our open source platform, PubPub. If this would ever be helpful for you in pursuing future surveys or experiences, please do let me know.
MIT Knowledge Futures Group
Heather Morrison response, Jan. 8, 2020:
Thank you, your blog post is very interesting.
I see tremendous potential for online collaborative writing and annotations. For example, last year I had students write crowdsourced online essays in class; students were asked to find one interesting recent article on privacy, prepare notes, and write a collaborative “current issues in privacy” in class. I have participated in online annotation peer review in the past.
However, I have some concerns about the annotation and collaborative writing approaches to peer review. My reasons, in case this is of interest:
An annotation approach, in my experience, invites and encourages wordsmithing and focus on minor issues and makes it difficult to contribute at a deeper level (e.g. issues of substance, critique of fundamental underlying ideas).
Depending on the project, individual, and group, the optimal approach might be collaborative writing or individual voice. In the area of open access and scholarly communication, I have a unique perspective and consider this my most important contribution. This gets lost in collaborative writing. For this reason, I write as an individual (or co-author as supervisor with students) in this area.
Although in the past I have participated in the online annotation approach to open peer review, I have been disappointed because my comments (well-thought-out comments by an expert in the field) have been ignored, not only dismissed but not even acknowledged in the final version. This is a waste of my time, and I argue that it is not appropriate to present a final version under such circumstances as having passed a peer review process. Also, in recent years I have noticed a tendency to require reviewers to agree to open licensing conditions that I have object to; this for me is sufficient reason not to participate. [A brief explanation of several key lines of argument on this topic can be found here].
One of my reasons and incentives for open peer review is to claim credit for this work; for example, this published peer review is an example of what I would like to gain from open peer review:
[Morrison, H. (2019). Peer review of Pubfair framework. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2019/09/24/peer-review-of-pubfair-framework/]
This is not for everyone, and I would not want to do this with every review, but occasional publication of such reviews opens up possibilities for study of the peer review process and allows me to appropriately claim my careful work in this area.
In the process of transforming scholarly communication I see fundamental questions about why we approach things the way we do, and how we might do things better, that I would like to see opened up for discussion. My blogpost / open invitation approach is deliberate; I consider development of platforms / checklist approaches as premature. This is developing technical solutions when, to me, we should be figuring out what the problems are.
This discussion should be part of the open peer review process. I am thinking of posting this response to my blog. May I post your e-mail as well?
Dr. Heather Morrison
Heather Staines, second response, Jan. 8, 2020:
Thank you for the quick and thoughtful response. Given some of your perspectives, you may also be interested in this companion piece, also from Peer Review Week, Making Peer Review More Transparent https://thecommons.pubpub.org/pub/kzujjdx8
I agree with you that there are challenges around an annotation-based approach. Prior to my role here at KFG, I was Head of Partnerships at Hypothesis (so I’m all about the annotation!). I continue to watch the evolution of annotation in the peer review space. Have you seen the Transparent Review in Preprints project: https://www.cshl.edu/transparent-review-in-preprints/?
I’m fine with your posting my previous (and current) emails, along with your responses. I hope we might cross paths sometime to discuss it further.
[square brackets indicates minor changes from original e-mails]