COM690 Study Guide


Abu-Saad, I. (2008). Where inquiry ends: The peer review process and indigenous standpoints. American Behavioral Scientist, 51(12), 1902-1918.


1. In what sense can academic peer review seem like a form of colonization?


2. What does Abu-Saad mean when he says that Whiteness is "the invisible human universal and its hegemony has been secured by its normalization as the cultural space of the West?"


3. What broader effects does academic colonization have?


4. What is standpoint theory?


5. What can standpoint theory do for peer review?


6. How does the dominant standpoint regard academic research?



Atkinson, M., (2001). 'Peer Review' Culture, Science and Engineering Ethics, 7, 193-204.


1. What does Atkinson mean when he says, "[P]eer review is remarkably unscientific?"


2. What does it mean to say that authors "peddle their work?"


3. Why does Atkinson think that the anonymity of reviewers undermines the credibility of peer review?


4. In what sense do different fields of inquiry constitute "different cultures?"


5. What does Atkinson mean when he says, "[T]he tag 'peer' carries the subtle connotation of 'equal among the upper crust'?"


6. In what ways does "editorial regulation lean towards conservatism?"


7. What hampers the research and analysis of peer review itself?


8. What, according to Atkinson, is the "fundamental problem with peer review?"


9. What are the three components of the filtering problem of peer review?


Bence V, Oppenheim C, (2004). The influence of peer review on the research assessment exercise, Journal Of Information Science 30 (4): 347-368.


1. What are the four main functions of scholarly communication?


2. What in the traditional model of scholarly communication is "the simple ‘buyback’ lament that libraries and universities have been claiming?"


3. What are some of the problems that Bence identifies with the peer review process?


4. What are some alternative models of the editorial process?


5. What are the advantages and disadvantages of peer review?


6. How does the peer review process violate the scientific community's ideal of "the open sharing of knowledge?"


7. What are the stages in the traditional peer review process?


8. How does open access differ from the traditional peer review process?


9. What are the two dominant methodologies used to quantify the quality of published research?


10. What are some problems associated with the use of citations and journal impact factor?




Bledsoe, C., et al., (2007). Regulating Creativity: Research and Survival in the IRB Iron Cage, Northwestern University Law Review 101(2): 593-642.

1. What damage does Bledsoe hold IRBs responsible for?


2. What First Amendment notion does Bledsoe invoke in their critique of IRBs?


3. What particular group of research disciplines does Bledsoe focus on and why?


4. What characteristics of functioning IRBs make them difficult to analyze and assess, according to Bledsoe?


5. What correlation does Bledsoe draw between the level of NIH funging for research over the years and the extent of IRB oversight on that research?


6. How does Bledsoe use the notion of serendipity to assess the impact of IRBs on the research enterprise?


7. In what sense does an IRB create an "iron cage?"


8. Why does Bledsoe put so much emphasis on the definition of the word research?


9. What is problematic about compliance with IRB decisions?


10. What is the deterence effect that IRBs have on research?


11. What is the IRB's effect on teaching in a research university?


12. What is consensual censorship, and how does it resolve the tension between researchers and an IRB?


13. In what sense is a research protocol a legal contract?


14. What is problematic about the medical orientation of most IRBs?


15. In what ways can IRBs create rather than reduce risks for research subjects?



Charlton, BG, (2004). Conflicts of interest in medical science: peer usage, peer review and 'Col consultancy', Medical Hypotheses 63 (2): 181-186.


1. Why is the issue of conflict of interest so important to scientists?


2. What does Charlton mean by the phrase "peer usage?"


3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of peer usage?


4. How does Charlton describe peer review, and how does it differ from peer usage?


5. What are the advantages of peer review?


6. What the limitations of peer review?


7. What does Charlton think of conflict of interest declarations in the text of a published research paper?


8. What does Charlton propose for policing conflict of interest?


9. What analogy does Charlton draw between the appeal of a conflict of interest consultancy service and the traditional appeal among scientists of data transparency?



Flowerdew, J. (2001). Attitudes of journal editors to nonnative speaker contributions. TESOL Quarterly}, 35(1), 121-150}.


1. What challenges do non-native speakers encounter in scholarly publication?


2. What can non-native speakers bring to scholarly publication?


3. What is Flowerdew's research question?


4. What is Flowerdew's research method?


5. What are some of Flowerdew's findings?


6. What problematic aspects did Flowerdew note in the manuscripts of non-native speakers?


7. What positive aspects did Flowerdew note in the manuscripts of non-native speakers?


8. What implications does Flowerdew offer for his findings?



Gross, Alan, (1990). Peer Review and Scientific Knowledge, in The Rhetoric of Science, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


1. What criteria of Habermas's ideal speech situation does Gross invoke for analyzing the peer review process?


2. How does an actual peer review exchange violate the criteria of the ideal speech situation?


3. What power differentials exist among the key players in the peer review process?


4. What paradox arises when the peer review process is viewed through the lens of the ideal speech situation?


5. What does Gross mean when he says "scientific reports are cognitive" but "peer review documents are regulative?"


6. Are the power differentials in the peer review process fair to the author?



Harrison, C. (2004). Peer review, politics and pluralism, Environmental Science & Policy, 7 (5): 357-368


1. In Harrison's apology for publishing Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist, what evidence is offered for fostering and sustaining "a generally interested and open debate?"


2. What rebuttals does Harrison acknowledge about the peer review of Lomborg's book?


3. What repostes does Harrison offer for these rebuttals?


4. What is the crucial broader question about peer review that Harrison asks?


5. What cases of political interference of scholarly publication does Harrison offer?


6. What value does Harrison see as foundational to scholarly publication?



Mallard, G., Lamont, M., & Guetzkow, J. (2009). Fairness as appropriateness: Negotiating epistemological differences in peer review. Science Technology Human Values, 34(5), 573-606.

1. What does Mallard mean by the phrase "epistemological styles?"


2. What two extreme positions are indicative of the diversity of theoretical styles?


3. What is Mallard's research question?


4. What method did Mallard use to answer his research question?


5. How did Mallard analyze the interview data?


6. What does Mallard mean by the phrase "constructivist style?"


7. What does Mallard mean by the phrase "comprehensive style?"


8. What does Mallard mean by the phrase "positivist style?"


9. What does Mallard mean by the phrase "utilitarian style?"


10. What does Mallard mean by the phrase "cognitive contextualization?"



Melero, R., & Lopez-Santovena, F. (2001). Referees' attitudes toward open peer review and electronic transmission of papers. Food Science and Technology International, 7(6), 521-527.


1. What is Melero's research question?


2. What does Melero say about the research on the quality of blinded reviews of manuscripts as compared to open reviews?


3. According to Melero, what are the advantages and disadvantages of blinded reviews and open reviews?


4. What is Melero's research methodology?


5. What is Melero's conclusion about peer review?



Patton, D. E., & Olin, S. S. (2006). Scientific peer review to inform regulatory decision making: Leadership responsibilities and cautions. Risk Analysis: An International Journal, 26(1), 5-16.

Riisgard HU, (2004). Peer review: journal articles versus research proposals. Marine Ecology-Progress Series 277: 301-309 .


1. In what sense must research proposals be judged subjectively but research papers be judged objectively?


2. Why are researchers ethically obligated to participate in the peer review of others' research?


3. What practical aspects of peer review mitigate a researcher's obligation to participate in it?


4. What are some qualitative differences between peer review of research papers and that of research proposals?


5. What are the advantages and disadvantages of remuneration for peer reviewers?


6. What are some of the more far-reaching consequences of proposal reviews?



Shimp, CP, (2004). Scientific peer review: A case study from local and global analyses, Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 82 (1): 103-116.

1. Why does Shimp make a point of his premise, "[T]here is no scientific theory of scientific
peer review?"


2. What is a paradigm and how does Shimp apply it to his analysis of the peer review process?


3. How does Shimp use the notion of the "reversible figure" to explain a paradigm clash?


4. What recommendations does Shimp have for peer review, given the presence of a paradigm clash between a reviewer and a reviewee?



Singleton, A., (2004). Data protection and peer review. Learned Publishing 17 (3): 195-198.


1. What is Singleton referring to in the peer review process when he uses the phrase "data protection?"


2. What norm of science might seem violated if such data were made public?


3. What could an editor face if an author whose paper was rejected demanded to see the editorial file on his submission?


4. How might authors discover the identity of their reviewers even when they are blinded?


5. What negative consequences does Singleton fear from the loss of the "confidential component" in peer review?


6. What positive consequences does Singleton suggest from the loss of the "confidential component" in peer review?



Souder, L. (2010) A rhetorical analysis of apologies for scientific misconduct: Do they really mean it? Science and Engineering Ethics, 16 (1), 175-186.


1. Besides correcting the scientific record , what other function does Souder claim for a published letter of apology for research misconduct or retraction?


2. What does Souder imply about apologies when he refers to them as "speech acts?"


3. Why does Souder claim to analyze apologies as dialogues?


4. What aspect of the apologies does Souder examine?


5. What general conclusion does Souder reach about the apologies for misconduct he has collected?


Spier, R. E., (2002). Peer Review and Innovation, Science and Engineering Ethics, 8, 99-108.


1. How does Spier define the term peer?


2. How does Spier define the term innovation?


3. How does Spier describe the peer review process of articles for publication in academic journals?


4. What does Spier mean by the "me-tooism approach" to research?


5. How do peer reviewers respond to innovation?


6. What is an ethical issue peculiar to reviewers of grant applications?


7. What characteristic of good science "in the hands of some, if not most, peer
reviewers raises the spectre of instant rejection?"


8. How do applicants for grants "finesse the peer review process?"


9. How does the fact that "peer reviewers are taxpayers" affect their attitudes towards innovation?


10. What recommendations does Spier have for offsetting the conservative impulses of peer reviewers?



Stamps, A.E., (1997). Using a Dialectical Scientific Brief in Peer Review, Science and Engineering Ethics, 3, 85-98.


1. What does Stamps mean when he says, "Peer review is conceived as a dialectical process?"


2. Why, according to Stamps, does the peer review process need streamlining?


3. How does Stamps adapt the legal practice of briefs to scientific peer review?


4. What does Stamps list as factors that affect the judgments of the merits of papers?


5. What does Stamps mean by the "dialectical scientific brief?"


6. How does the dialectical scientific brief differ from "the typical journal procedure?"


7. In what two qualitative ways can a scientific brief assist an editor in weighing the arguments between a reviewer and an author?


8. In what quantitative ways can a scientific brief assist an editor in weighing the arguments?


9. What uses does Stamps attribute to scientific briefs for authors?



Turcotte, C., Drolet P, Girard M. (2004). Study design, originality and overall consistency influence acceptance or rejection of manuscripts, Journal Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia-Journal Canadien D Anesthesie 51 (6): 549-556.


1. What makes Turcotte's study of peer review different from other studies of the same topic?


2. What factors in the peer review process does Turcotte seek to correlate?


3. What is the standard procedure for peer review observed by Turcotte's journal of interest?


4. What positive correlations arise from Turcotte's study?


5. How does Turcotte interpret the correlation between more negative reviewer comments and more likely editorial acceptance?


6. What import does Turcotte claim for his study of the peer review process?



van Rooyen, S., Godlee, F., Evans, S., Black, N., & Smith, R. (1999). Effect of open peer review on quality of reviews and on reviewers' recommendations: A randomised trial. British Medical Journal, 318(7175), 23-27.


1. Why did the British Medical Journal decide "to experiment with open peer review?"


2. What was van Rooyen's implied research question?


3. What was van Rooyen's research methodology?


4. What seven aspects of the review process did van Rooyen assess on a five-point Likert scale?


5. What is van Rooyen's conclusion about open peer review?


6. What does van Rooyen mean by the phrase "Hawthorne effect?"


7. What does van Rooyen say would outweigh any practical concerns against implementing a system of open peer review?


Wager, E., Fiack, S., Graf, C., Robinson, A., & Rowlands, I. (2009). Science journal editors' views on publication ethics: Results of an international survey. Journal of Medical Ethics, 35(6), 348-353.


1. What is Wager's research question?


2. What is Wager's research method?


3. What are some of Wager's findings?


4. What conclusions does Wager reach?


5. What are the various ethical issues in scholarly publication that Wager includes in his survey?



Walsh, E., Rooney, M., Appleby, L., & Wilkinson, G. (2000). Open peer review: A randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 176(1), 47-51.


1. What were Walsh's research questions?


2. What was Walsh's research methodology?


3. How did Walsh assess the quality of the reviews?


4. What effect on the recruitment of reviewers does Walsh posit for requiring signed reviews?


5. What effect did signed reviews have on their quality?


6. What effect did signed reviews have on their tone?


7. What effect did signed reviews have on their time to complete?


8. What effect did signed reviews have on their likelihood to recommend rejection?


9. What reasons does Walsh give for the feasibility of implementing an open peer review system?


10. What caveats does Walsh offer for implementing an open peer review system?



Weber, E. J., Katz, P. P., Waeckerle, J. F., & Callaham, M. L. (2002). Author perception of peer review: Impact of review quality and acceptance on satisfaction. Journal of the Amercian Medical Association, 287(21), 2790-2793.


1. What is Weber's research question about the peer review process?


2. How did Weber go about answering the research question?


3. Whom did Weber exclude from their sample of research subjects?


4. What correlations emerged from Weber's data?


5. Given the fact that most hopeful authors will be unhappy with the editorial decision, what duty does Weber impose on journal editors?


6. What parallel does Weber draw between the peer review process for scholarly publication and the interaction between health care professionals and their patients?


7. What limitations does Weber admit about their study?


8. What does Weber ultimately hope to improve through her study?



Weisse, A., (2009). I Was a Mole in an IRB.Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 52(3), 435-41.


1. What are some of the crucial events in the history of human subjects research that led up to the formation of the IRB system?


2. What IRB issues does Weisse recount from his own research experience?


3. What was Weisse's original strategy for researching and assessing the IRB system?


4. What was the constituency of Weisse's IRB committee?


5. What are the three types of review in IRB proceedings?


6. What is the typical process of an IRB meeting?


7. What are some problems that Weisse identifies in the IRB process?


8. What are Weisse's conclusions about IRBs?



Wellington, J., & Nixon, J. (2005). Shaping the field: The role of academic journal editors in the construction of education as a field of study. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 26(5), 643-655.


1. What, according to Wellington, has a "pivotal role in defining not only the broad parameters of educational studies, but also the specific subfields within those parameters?"


2. What is Wellington's research question?


3. What is Wellington's methodology and his relationship to his research subjects?


4. What is meant by the term illusio in the context of academic publishing?


5. In what sense is academic publising like an ecological system?


6. What labels emerge from Wellington's interviews for the ways that editors refer to themselves?


7. In what ways can the process and experience of rejection be benign?


8. What tensions does Wellington perceive in the various roles that editors take on?


9. What does Wellington think would effectively challenge "the collusive tendencies implicit in the 'illusio'?"



Williams, HC. (2004). How to reply to referees' comments when submitting manuscripts for publication, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 51 (1): 79-83.


1. What is the gap in the literature on peer review that Williams is trying to address?


2. What does Williams base his assertions on?


3. What are three possible editorial responses to an author's submission of a manuscript?


4. What are Williams's "three golden rules" and how do they apply to the three editorial responses to a manuscript submission?


5. What is problematic about resubmitting a manuscript elsewhere.


6. What does Williams mean by "answer completely?"


7. What does Williams mean by "answer politely?"


8. What does Williams mean by "answer with evidence?"


9. What advice does Williams have when referees offer conflicting views?


10. What advice does Williams have when referees are wrong?


11. What advice does Williams have when referees are rude?


12. What advice does Williams have when editors ask for a 30% reduction in your manuscript?


13. What is Williams's "secret of a successful resubmission?"



Wilson, J.R. (2002). Responsible Authorship and Peer Review, Science and Engineering Ethics, 8, 155-174.

1. According to Wilson what "standard procedures of peer review" did the cold fusion researchers violate?

2. What two communities in the field of scientific research do peer reviewers serve?

3. What general function does the peer review system perform for science?

4. What are some things that peer review can not do?

5. What five shortcomings of peer review does Wilson identify?

6. What three questions about a piece of research offered for publication should a peer reviewer try to answer?

7. What three questions about a research funding proposal should a peer reviewer try to answer?

8. Why is it important that peer reviewers of research funding proposals tolerate dissent?

9. How should peer reviewers be managed for optimum performance?