MediaCommons, Shakespeare Quarterly, and Open Review
by Kathleen Fitzpatrick — Modern Language Association
July 27, 2010 – 11:25
Today’s Chronicle of Higher Education brings us a wonderful article from Jennifer Howard, exploring our recent experiment in open peer review, conducted on behalf of the eminent journal, Shakespeare Quarterly. This review process, which is at the heart of MediaCommons Press’s experiments in new modes of publishing for scholarship, has been so successful for SQ that, as the article notes, the journal’s editors plan to use it again for future special issues.
One interesting point in the article is the comparison between the Nature experiment with open review conducted in 2006 — an experiment declared by its editors to have been a “failure,” and used by many in scholarly publishing since then as evidence that open review can’t work — and the SQ review. Howard notes one participant’s sense the “the humanities’ subjective, conversational tendencies may make them well suited to open review — better suited, perhaps, than the sciences,” and yet, of course, the humanities have in general been very slow to such experimentation.
We at MediaCommons are extremely proud to be taking the lead in developing new models for transforming scholarly communication in the humanities, and we’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with a journal as important as Shakespeare Quarterly, modifying the open review process that we used (and advocated for) with my own Planned Obsolescence for the journal’s needs. Thanks to SQ’s editors, and especially special issue editor Katherine Rowe, for making such a successful experiment possible.
We very much look forward to collaborating with scholars, journals, and presses on future such projects!