Pre-publication Peer Review
The quality, comprehensiveness, clarity, and currency of open textbooks are often called into question because of a lack of understanding about how OER are created. Foregrounding the peer review process is an important way to dispel these notions, while also ensuring the high quality of your text. As a publicly visible indicator, peer review also signals to potential adopters that this content is suitable for classroom use.
- Review allows experts to share their knowledge. Beyond the credibility that they provide, peer reviewers’ critical feedback and suggestions tend to improve the resource for its intended audience.
- Decide early on what you need from this process. Determine your goals and expectations before you bring on reviewers, so they can focus on giving you exactly what will be most useful.
- Be aware of the differences in perception attached to different types of peer review. Although we think all kinds of review are equally valuable and prestigious, others can perceive anonymous review (similar to double-blind review) differently to non-anonymous review. Weigh these differences as you see fit for your project.
Peer Review might look different for an OER than for an item going through a traditional publishing model. For more about the advantages that an open publishing model brings to peer review, watch the following Office Hours for Peer Review, hosted by the Rebus Community and Open Textbook Network.
Post-publication Peer Review
Sharing in the OER space is not limited to sharing content – your review of other shared OER is another way to contribute to the OER community. Repositories like the Open Textbook Library (OTL) include faculty reviews alongside the open textbooks in the library.
Many OER repositories enable some type of review process. MERLOT is one repository that adds OER via a peer review process. The site has organized more than twenty editorial boards to coordinate peer review activities.
Many other repositories invite students and faculty to rate OER content on the basis of comprehensiveness, content accuracy, relevance/longevity, clarity, consistency, modularity, organization/structure/flow, grammatical errors, and cultural relevance.
Wisdom in Crowds
Watch this a short video that explores what we can learn from the aggregate knowledge of crowds.
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