Sunday, April 27, 2008

Peer-reviewer personae

Josh Gunn over at The Rosewater Chronicles has an excellent post about the various critical personae one might encounter in the process of double-blind academic peer-review. He classifies them (us?) as "gushers," "assassins," "turf pissers," and "empaths." My favorite characterization (although probably my least favorite type of reviewer) has to be the "naysayer," whom Josh describes like this:
The Naysayer: Nothing of quality or interest has ever been published in the field, and your essay is no exception. Communication Studies is a sub-par and parasite field, and your essay continues this horrible, alien existence. The Naysayer wanted to be a philosopher or studied comparative literature, but reluctantly took a position in Communication Studies out of necessity. S/he is bitter about being in Comm, and will take it out on you—especially if you take up concepts from high theory or philosophy.

I'm sure anyone who's been through the gauntlet of double-blind peer review has encountered at least one cranky naysayer in her or his lifetime, and probably one or more of the other characters as well. I only wish there were more gushers and empaths out there. Too often, I find, academic peer-review seems as much about hazing as it does about ideas and execution--and I say that as someone who's enjoyed reasonably good success at getting published.

Anyway, be sure to check out Josh's post and the lively discussion that follows. Great stuff.

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