I’ve written before about studies that have investigated the process of peer review – the system by which researchers assess the quality of each other’s work. The results of some of those studies suggest that a process that is supposed to be neutral and anonymous is anything but. Now there is a new study of research published in peer-reviewed academic journals that suggests journal articles may play a role in maintaining power and resource imbalances between universities and researchers.
Among my own colleagues, the longest time it took anyone to get an article published (at least that I’m aware of) was four years – and that was from submission to acceptance at one journal. Success in academic work requires a lot of qualities, but clearly patience and persistence are among the most important.
(Thanks to The Monkey Cage blog, where I found the post that led me to Nate’s story.)
During conference season, when you’re rushing from session to session, peer review is something you often hear about in snatches of conversation as you’re running by. “[Professor X] must have reviewed that paper, otherwise it would have been accepted”. Or “I knew getting in at [Journal Y] was a problem because they don’t like [Theory Z]”.
Peer review can have a really big effect on someone’s academic career, because (more…)