Amardeep Singh suggests that bloggers might benefit from some form of peer review:
The idea came to me as I’ve begun preparing a tenure file at my current university, acutely aware that my blog writing cannot be considered “peer-reviewed” publication by any current standard. Even the rewards of occasional Boing-Boing-ish popularity (my post on “Early Bengali Science Fiction” from awhile ago, for instance) do not help, since that is really popularity rather than review. But why not institute a review of some sort?
But how to go about it? Getting scholars to review academic work is often like pulling teeth: They all know it needs to be done, they know it’s important, but they’re going to put it off as long as possible. Singh thinks he has an answer:
My idea is to have a system of academic blog reviewing, where people self-select individual blog posts they’ve written for review by others, perhaps using a combination of Technorati tags and emailed links. The reviewers could consist of fellow bloggers (credentials no bar) as well as non-blogging academics in a given discipline, who would publish their reviews on a central site. The reviewers could choose to be “onymous” or pseudonymous (as long as it is a consistent pseudonym, and contact information is available to site admins), and be asked to write a significant evaluation to the post in question (say, 250 words). Other reviewers and readers of the reviews could also evaluate the reviewers’ comments, as a way of maintaining standards for reviewers. Troll-like, unfair reviews would be deleted, and their authors denied reviewing privileges.
He envisions this site as sort of an upscale Digg, where substantive criticism is preferred to “cool” or “not cool” rankings. I can imagine something like this working, but still I wonder if it might feel a bit too much like open peer review: unglamorous, and unrewarded. But what if participation in the peer review community were as valued as “publishing” there? While some bloggers may prefer to write and submit substantive posts, others may develop a knack for evaluating those posts, and if there were also a way to evaluate the evaluators, these reviewers might also be able to submit their work as part of a tenure file.
As I say in my open peer review post, all this is going to require a change in the way academic rewards are meted out, and changing that system is always slow going. But perhaps as more people like Singh make their way into the upper echelons of academe, we’ll see something like Singh’s vision implemented.
One other note: a commenter mentioned the ScienceBlogging anthology as an example of peer-review of blog posts in action. Maybe other disciplines should consider something similar.
(via Peer to Peer)