That’s the question being posed by an unusual experiment that begins today. It involves a scholar studying video games, a popular academic blog with the playful name Grand Text Auto, a nonprofit group designing blog tools for scholars, and MIT Press.
This is like that experiment I heard about that would have allowed for post-publication comments on articles published in peer-reviewed journals like the AJPS, etc. (Whatever happened to that?) The difference, of course, is that the comments in this new experiment come before publication instead of after publication.
I imagine the difference is shown in how those polisci job market blogs (*the ones people keep telling me about*) have become an important resource for accurate and complete information about the markets.
In the case of publication, pre- information can be acted upon by the writer; post- information is also useful for the discipline, but not for the writer – unless that person is writing in that field continually. It also depends on commentators’ willingness and abilities to provide useful info, of course, but that’s a problem even in the case of double-blind peer review.
I like this:
Mr. Wardrip-Fruin’s friends have warned him that sorting through all those comments will take over his life, or at least take far more time than he expects. “It’s been said to me enough times by people who are not just naysayers that it is in the back of my mind,” he acknowledges. Still, the book’s review process “will pale in comparison to the work of writing it.”
He expects the blog-based review to be more helpful than the traditional peer review because of the variety of voices contributing. “I am dead certain it will make the book better,” he says.
I’m certain the book will be better, too – just not that it won’t take over his life.