Talking peer review series #2: Experiences in Optimizing Peer-Reviewing – A success story in five acts, three years, and two astonishing voting rounds

Peer review is a central scholarly practice, a practice that carries an enormous weight in terms of gatekeeping; shaping disciplines, publication patterns and power relations. It governs the (re)distribution of resources such as research grants, promotions, tenure and even larger institutional budgets. As such, it is crucial to deeply understand how it works in situated evaluation practices, and to continually rethink it to strive for its best, and least imperfect (or reasonably imperfect) instances. This new series on the blog, Talking Peer Review, is a means to do just that. You will find here reflections, reports, opinion pieces and, to bring in some metascience, reviews of the current state of the art in the arts and humanities disciplines. In this episode Anne Baillot, Professor in German Studies at Le Mans Université shares her and her team’s experiences on bringing open peer review to the annual conference of the German-speaking Digital Humanities association – in 5 acts. Her insights do not only shed light on some of the dramatic aspects of peer review and showcase why it is difficult to change ingrained, established practices; but also reveal how an empathetic, deeply sensible approach can foster meaningful dialogues across members of a scholarly association and can eventually lead to the redefinition of such practices along increased transparency and equity.