Managing the growth of peer review at the Royal Society journals, 1865-1965
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This article examines the evolution of peer review and the modern editorial processes of scholarly journals by analyzing a novel dataset derived from the Royal Society’s archives and covering 1865 to 1965, i.e., the historical period in which refereeing (not yet known as peer review) became firmly established. Our analysis reveals how the Royal Society’s editorial processes coped with both an increasing reliance on refereeing and a growth in submissions, while maintaining collective responsibility and minimizing research waste. By engaging more of its fellows in editorial activity, the society was able to establish an equilibrium of number of submissions per reviewer that was relatively stable over time. Nevertheless, our analysis shows that the distribution of editorial work was significantly uneven. Our findings reveal interesting parallels with current concerns about the scale and distribution of peer-review work and suggest the strategic importance of the management of the editorial process to achieve a creative mix of community commitment and professional responsibility that is essential in contemporary journals.
Fyfe , A , Squazzoni , F , Torny , D & Dondio , P 2019 , ' Managing the growth of peer review at the Royal Society journals, 1865-1965 ' Science, Technology and Human Values , vol. Online First . https://doi.org/10.1177/0162243919862868
Science, Technology and Human Values
Copyright The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
DescriptionThis collaboration was supported by the COST Action TD1306 “New Frontiers of Peer Review” (PEERE). The historical research for this paper was supported by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council, grant AH/K001841, “Publishing the Philosophical Transactions, 1665-2015.”
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