Quick Thoughts on Peer Review...

Motherboard has posted an interesting piece on an "article" that was published in Science Bulletin. This Monckton character has a well-documented history of espousing junk science, so how on Earth did this pass the editorial process?

It looks like it was rushed through review, and doesn't look as though it was thoroughly vetted by actual scientists.

For those preparing work for publication, here are a few thoughts:

  • Scrutinize the journal's board of directors. Do you recognize names on that list? Are there theorists on the board actively publishing in your field?
  • There is no professional distinction anymore between digital and print publication. In fact, if you actually want folks to read your work, you might simply target digital publications from the start.
  • If you are publishing in the digital humanities or humanities computing, Penn's CFP Web site is a great resource.
  • Any reputable publication will take your essay through anonymous peer review.
  • Be respectful of the guidelines, and contact the editor if you have any questions on special features of your piece. I've found editors to be quick and helpful when fielding such inquiries.
  • Be careful about the rights you are assigning. If you want to republish your article, you might have some issues if your journal takes your rights.
  • This is just me, but I'd never pay even a single dollar to a journal to read my essay. I get a solicitation or four every day in my Outlook inbox for these publications, and I just shoot them into the trash. That's not only an expensive route to publication, but it's actually not a boon to your C.V. either. 
In order to maintain a vibrant marketplace for theory and analysis, publications have to shoot for quality, consistency, and accuracy. Try to find places that will publish you quickly in digital formats, are read (and governed) by people in your field, and who take your piece through at least some moderate level of peer review.

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