By: Sofie Wennström
In a recent blog post by the Scholarly Kitchen team, compelling arguments are made for institutions and funding agencies to start recognising the work done by academics that by tradition has been going on “behind the scenes”. Now, how does this relate to the library structures? Well, Stockholm University Press is currently building systems and procedures to form an infrastructure for high quality peer-review of books and journals in an international network together with our publishing partner Ubiquity Press. This endeavour includes a number of challenges and opportunities, but the infrastructure and guidelines for peer review in its purest sense for books and book chapters might be one of the trickest knots to untie. We need to build these best practices together with active researchers while we are also making the argument for them to support us with their time and effort. One of the most important ambitions with the Stockholm University Press project was laid out already last year in a presentation at the Library Publishing Coalition Forum: http://jlsc-pub.org/lpc14/14/
The peer review practices for journals are already well known by most scholars (if not, they¹ll have to learn eventually), even if the processes may vary somewhat between different disciplines. The aim of Stockholm University Press is to use experiences and guidelines for peer review developed for journals and turn them into something useable and workable for monographs and book chapters as well. We believe this will contribute to the scholarly community by creating incentives for a further focus on the rigour of the peer review as well as further developments in how the work is valued. Some of our efforts will be put into the infrastructure of the process, to ensure that the activities can be recorded and measured, but the other part is to collaborate closely with the scientific community in the creation of best practices and learning about these. If we can show the data built into these processes, we hope that the evaluation committees and governing boards of institutions and funding agencies will start to see the usefulness of it and then build in rewards for scholars in the future to complete the ecosystem. As always, it is hard to be a pioneer, and there will be a lot of work before we can see the result, but we are firm believers still.
Links for further reading: