The 19th – 25th September is the Scholarly Kitchen’s Peer Review Week. As the Chefs note in their blog of 19th July, “Peer Review Week 2015 was a small, experimental, toe-in-the-water kind of event. But it struck a chord with many individuals and organizations.” So, after the initial tentative outing, we at UWP are thrilled to see the event taking the plunge in its second iteration, and hope it will now become a permanent feature of academic life.
When I talk to ECRs about the academic publishing process, I always note that peer reviewers are the unsung heroes and heroines of the academic world, who spend many precious hours reading and reviewing proposals and manuscripts through their dedication and passion for their discipline, with little reward and recognition. It goes without saying that peer review plays an absolutely integral and vital part in the scholarly ecosystem, ensuring quality control, but also providing invaluable feedback, advice and guidance to authors. For ECRs, a peer review can play a key part in the transformation of a thesis into a cutting-edge monograph, thus contributing to the scholarly debate by teasing out the potential and offering a pathway to making the leap from doctoral dissertation to published work.
We are always very appreciative of the generosity and expertise of our reviewers, whose input can’t be underestimated, and can lead to a first book contract, job offer, tenure or REF success. Of course, experienced and much published academics also benefit from the peer review process, with the objectivity, observations and suggestions which the process brings.
It’s heartening to see, then, mechanisms developing to recognise the contribution of peer reviewers. Much talk nowadays is about building a research profile, and for researchers to say that they peer review for academic presses can only enhance and optimise their profile. So, thank you/diolch, UWP reviewers, we wouldn’t be able to publish without you.
Sarah Lewis, Head of Commissioning