A Public Service Announcement! ;)

A Public Service Announcement! ;)

Friday, May 21, 2010

God Giveth; God Taketh Away

I've come to see all professional organizations and the peer review process in general as whimsical Greek gods with chronic flare-ups of schizophrenia. Sometimes you are deemed worthy by them, but you're just as likely to be ignored altogether, even if you worship them dutifully (play on words there with "duty," as in "pay your annual dues") or to be unequivocally fucked with, smote with little regard to what might seem like logic.

To wit, almost 24 hours after learning that my edited collection has become an NCTE bestseller (gods giveth), I learn that an article I submitted to a high-end NCTE journal will not be published (gods taketh away) -- despite 2 of 3 peer reviewers giving it positive marks.

But, two editors plus one negative review =3, and 2 positive reviews makes the score 3 to 2, right?

What makes this more frustrating is that this is not the only time a major NCTE entity has turned down work of mine by agreeing with the more aberrant opinion of peer reviewers while ignoring the more consistent remarks of others.

The upside is that at least I did receive evidence of the article being peer-reviewed, which sometimes isn't even the case with certain journals, which will send you a sort of "Dear John" form letter listing the possible reasons your article didn't make it.

And, with two positive reviews, I feel the article will find a home somewhere good. The editors even suggested I could resubmit the article to their journal again if I wanted to revise in ways that gelled with the one reviewer's opinions (but ignored the other two's, apparently). Further, every review tells you something about your work or how people see it (or choose to see it) and the different scholarly agendas that are available and being privileged.

It just bothers me that I have multiple experiences with the same general entity where I've sent work through the peer review process only to get results that seem to negate the experience and purpose of peer review to begin with.

I think that is a fair complaint.

1 comment:

nyrdyv said...

Is it just me or does Hercules look just a little too dweeby here?


Steven G. Willis