Welcome to Palgrave Macmillan’s trial of open peer review for scholarly books.
Open peer review can refer to any model which increases transparency in the peer review process. We’ve placed selected book proposals and associated sample chapters on this publicly-accessible website and are inviting comment from anyone who feels they can contribute to the development of these works.
Why experiment with open peer review?
Peer review is at the heart of academic publishing. However, ‘traditional’ single- or double-blind peer review, while effective in many ways, has limitations.
We think that there may be benefits to a peer review process which requires greater accountability from reviewers, offers the possibility of additional perspectives, and has a greater focus on developing works and encouraging debate.
Forms of open and interactive peer review are now widely used in science publishing, but are still rare in the humanities and the social sciences. This will be the first trial to invite open comment on and review of scholarly book proposals, and the first to investigate how open peer review can contribute to the development of scholarly books at such an early stage in the writing process.
Selecting works for this trial
We’ve focused on three disciplines: culture and media, sociology, and economics. Within these areas, Palgrave Macmillan’s editors have selected proposals on a number of grounds: we have prioritised interdisciplinary work, work with policy implications, and work which is itself concerned with digital behaviours and communication, since we felt these topics might benefit most from exposure to a wide range of perspectives, and would be conducive to discussion in this kind of forum.
All works chosen for the trial have already been through our usual single-blind peer review process and have been accepted and contracted for publication. Where the reviewers have agreed, we’ve posted the original reviews alongside the proposals and sample chapters, to provide some context and also as a catalyst for discussion. We would emphasise that we are fully committed to publishing all works included in the trial: we have confidence in the quality of the books proposed, and intend that the focus be on enhancing them further.
Join the debate
We see this trial as an opportunity to learn about what sort of feedback is possible and useful in this context and to contribute to the academic community’s understanding of open peer review. We don’t have a specific end in mind – this is a trial rather than a pilot – but the trial will certainly inform Palgrave Macmillan’s thinking about peer review.
If you’re interested in participating as a reviewer, we’d advise you start with our reviewer guidelines. We’d also love to hear your thoughts on the trial itself and open peer review more generally: you can join in the debate via the comment box below, or on Twitter using the hashtag #openpeerreview.
For information on previous trials and current uses of open peer review, see our selected bibliography.