‘The limitations to our understanding of peer review’

Jon Tennant and Tony Ross-Hellauer, in a new preprint on SocArXiv:

As a core component of our immense scholarship system, it is routinely and widely criticised. Much ink has been spilled on highly-cited and widely-circulated editorials criticising or championing peer review. A number of small- to medium-scale population-level studies have investigated various aspects of peer review’s functionality; yet the reality is that there are major gaps in our theoretical and empirical understanding. Research on peer review is not particularly well-developed, often producing conflicting, overlapping, or inconclusive results, and seems to suffer from similar biases to much of the rest of the scholarly literature.

They float the idea of a new ‘peer review studies’ field. The 2017 paper that Tennant, Ross-Hellauer, and an army of co-authors used to outline an array of possible peer-review futures is a good charter for their proposed field.

read more

‘A University Press Goes Private, And No One is the Wiser’

Guy Geltner, commenting on the stealthy privatization of Amsterdam University Press:

The corporate, market-blindness leading this process on the UvA’s part underscores its dismissivness of the needs and concerns of the academic community, above all in the social sciences and humanities (SSH). It also betrays a lack of transparency in the UvA’s handling of the affair as well as a cavalier attitude towards the commodification of scholarship. I, for one, hope that SSH scholars—the myriad editors, reviewers, board members and authors on whose tax-paid work the press’s success relies—will take stock of what is being promoted behind their back yet ostensibly on their behalf, namely a business model built on ignorance and exploitation. The [University of Amsterdam] has consciously lent it a hand, allowing some fishy business to go on as usual (with apologies to the fish).

The licensing agreement—by which the now-private Press gets to keep using the University’s name and logo—is reminiscent of the shady non-disclosure of Knowledge Unlatched’s pivot to profit.

read more

‘Collaboration without Elsevier is the key to open access and open science’

Jon Tennant, in a reposting of his comments on a disingenuous, Elsevier-penned Times Higher Ed piece:

When Elsevier uses words like ‘sustainable’, I do not think it means what it thinks they mean. The term ‘sustainable’ means maintaining Elsevier’s 37% profit margins and projected growth. Everyone else means not wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and more on a for-profit publisher that continues to aggressively mislead its customers, and lobby against progressive OA models, when a number of better, non-profit, community-led initiatives exist.

Tennant is—as he should be—merciless.

read more

‘Open Insights: An Interview with Janneke Adema and Sam Moore’

Janneke Adema and Sam Moore of the Radical Open Access Collective, in an Open Library of Humanities interview:

OLH: How does a radical approach to open access empower researchers in the Global South, and those outside of traditional institutional frameworks?

JA & SM: We would rather emphasise the opposite: it is researchers in the Global South and those outside or on the fringes of institutions (so-called para-academics) that empower the open access movement and scholarly publishing more in general. Dominique Babini has for example stressed that “the international community would do well to follow the examples of initiatives in Latin America, where open access is already the norm and where costs are shared among members of scholarly communities to ensure lasting impact”. In Latin America, Babini points out, the cost of publishing has always been an integral part of the cost of research, where it is universities and academic societies, not commercial publishers that predominantly publish journals and books. There is also the example of sustainable publishing platforms and models developed here, based on cost sharing, in opposition to the commercial enclosures APCs impose for example.

The whole interview is worth a read.

read more

‘Fitting the mould – What the European Commission’s second tender for an Open Research Publishing Platform tells us about the future of scholarly communication’

Bianca Kramer, on the European Commission’s second go-around on its RFP for a preprint platform:

The use of proprietary technology is now allowed, with the Commission only requiring a non-exclusive license for the duration of the contract, and longer only for specific customizations. In addition, the handover will now only include the content of the platform as well as specific customizations, with the goal of transferring them to another publishing infrastructure if desired by the Commission.

The EC seems content to sacrifice OA infrastructure for OA content.

read more

Jeff Pooley is professor of media & communication at Muhlenberg College and director of mediastudies.press, an open access scholarly publisher.

pooley@muhlenberg.edu | press@mediastudies.press

Humanities Commons
Google Scholar



A non-profit, scholar-led publisher of open-access books and journals in the media studies fields

History of Media Studies

An open access, refereed academic journal
Founding co-editor


The open archive for media, film, & communication studies
Founding co-coordinator

Open Access in Media Studies

Topromote open access publishing in the field of media studies
Founding co-editor

Annenberg School for Communication Library Archives

Archives consulting, Communication Scholars Oral History Project, and History of Communication Research Bibliography & Archival Directory