Peer Review, Open Scholarship, and the Digital Humanities

Peer review is the sine qua non of the academy: we use it in nearly everything we do, and cannot imagine what scholarship would be without it. But for such a crucial component of the ways that we work, none of us are wholly satisfied with it, either. Moreover, conventional forms of peer review are often misaligned with the kinds of open scholarship being produced in the digital humanities. This talk takes a brief look at the history and the present criticism of peer review as a means of exploring its future, particularly as scholarly publishing moves increasingly online: what might peer review that took advantage of the reputation economies developed within networked communities look like, and how might it help scholarly communication flourish?

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Ph.D.

Director of Scholarly Communication, Modern Language Association (MLA)

Kathleen Fitzpatrick is Director of Scholarly Communication of the Modern Language Association, and Professor of Media Studies (on leave), Pomona College. She is author of Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy, published in 2011 by NYU Press and previously made available for open peer review online: (, and of The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television, published in 2006 by Vanderbilt University Press. She is co-founder of the digital scholarly network MediaCommons (, and has published articles and notes in journals including the Journal of Electronic Publishing, PMLA, Contemporary Literature, and Cinema Journal.