LINGUIST List 15.182

Mon Jan 19 2004

Disc: New: Blind Peer Review

Editor for this issue: Sarah Murray <>


  1. Martin Haspelmath, Disc: New: Blind Peer Review

Message 1: Disc: New: Blind Peer Review

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 16:06:45 +0100
From: Martin Haspelmath <>
Subject: Disc: New: Blind Peer Review

Re: Ronald Sheen's <> posting on a New Website to
Discuss Blind Peer Review (LINGUIST 15.118)

I think Ronald Sheen is right in suggesting that some kind of
independent evaluation of the performance and fairness of scientific
journals would be welcome. Scientometrics routinely measures the
impact of journals, but it would be good to also have an independent
measure of the quality of the editorial and reviewing process.
Especially in view of the soaring journal prices, are we really
getting the quality that Publishers say only they can guarantee?

It may be hopeless to try to systematically evaluate the fairness of
reviewers' argumentation (apparently Sheen's main goal), and one can
always point to the availability of competing journals if a particular
approach does not seem to find favor in a particular journal.

However, another VERY important factor is the speed of evaluation. It
would be good to know in general which journals are the fastest and
which are the slowest in evaluating submissions. I'm sure that the
slowest journals would soon have a shortage of submissions, and they
would try to become faster. Competition in this area would be very

I find it very worrying that some of the most prestigious journals in
linguistics reportedly take between 6 and 12 months to get reports
from two or three reviewers, even though these reviewers are asked to
send their reviews within eight weeks. I can't believe that it should
be impossible to reduce these times considerably, especially for the
more prestigious journals (because reviewers presumably make reports
for these journals higher priority).

Does anybody know if other fields (especially those where journals 
cost a lot more than in linguistics) have independent journal evaluation
procedures of the kind I'm envisaging? Any other ideas?

-Martin Haspelmath

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