Anonymity of peer review reports ‘definitely’ enables egregious behavior

8 Jul

“anonymized peer-review seemed to bring out something vindictive in almost half of referees”
I certainly have has that experience. The peer review system is in need of serious reform. Another, emerging issue, is how peer review is counted as part of academic workload. If your university gives you little credit for serving as a peer reviewer, then you are essentially engaging in unpaid labor. The incentives for being a reviewer are declining. One possibility would be to create a network of certified peer reviewers who would be appropriately compensated and could ensure greater diversity.

Feminist Philosophers

Added, from Jenny Saul: “Those who want more will want to look at Carole Lee and Christian Shunn’s paper on philosophy review practices. A key point that comes out there is how much nastier philosophers are than other reviewers studied.”

In the last couple years, I have presided over or assisted in peer-review processes for journal issues, anthologies, and conferences in Philosophy, with one consistently repeated shock across all venues, at least in my limited experience so far: It seemed to me as if anonymized peer-review seemed to bring out something vindictive in almost half of referees. Everyone who’s had an infamous “Reviewer #2” experience may be nodding right now, but I did not expect this. (I’ve gotten my own wee share of mean reviews, yes. But I am still surprised.) It caused me to seriously question whether doubly anonymous peer review is proven to be effective and good. I also thought that perhaps…

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