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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Peer Review and Hypocrisy

Since I don't subject myself to peer review that much, there is a certain hypocrisy in [people like me] advocating it. Once I got to the point where I could publish enough by invitation, and promotion was not an issue, I didn't do nearly as much submission where I would be read blindly. Even when I publish in peer-review journals, it is still by invitation. I get suggestions, but am never rejected, and generally I am able to circumvent the worst aspects of the system. Yet I still want my junior colleagues to go through this process. Fish infamously argued that senior people should be able to enjoy the benefits of their stature to publish more easily, and in fact we do, simply because any senior person with a substantial rep can simply not go through blind peer review any more.

The PMLA was the worst, in that I got a good but not thrilling article published there, but they would reject all the much more brilliant work I submitted. It seemed a system geared toward the canonical and boring or the politically edgy, with not as much room for the stuff in the middle. I got my PMLA on my cv, so I can't complain, but why couldn't it have been something better?

2 comments:

profacero said...

Actually, I submitted something to the PMLA and in readers mentioned me by name in their reports. These were also signed, so I knew who they were, and to this day I don't know whether this was an error or not. Anyway it was actually sort of a nice experience and it turned me against blindness or the pretense of it. I am perhaps odd in this way since I am not nearly upset by disagreement as some people sem to be.

Professor Zero said...

p.s. "...why couldn't it have been something better?"

You know the answer - because PMLA is like that. It gets so staid sometimes I'd almost rather read a conservative gallery catalog or something.