Open Peer Review for Digital Humanities Projects: A Modest Proposal

Promotion and tenure (P&T) values do not always align with to the practice of digital humanities in academic settings. In short, it’s just easier to measure the value of a publication in a well-known journal or a book-length monograph from a trusted university press. Articles are cited and monographs are reviewed, but digital humanities projects are a less-known product–they come in so many flavors and are disseminated by disparate channels. As a result, many digital humanists may be pressured (after investing many hours of labor in a project) to seek validation for their digital projects by writing one or more articles describing the work for traditional peer reviewed outlets. This discourages further work on the digital project, creating a culture in which the project need only be good enough to describe in an article. It also punishes the digital humanist by doubling up on their efforts to meet the bar of P&T. Without new incentive structures that digital humanists can leverage in the P&T process, the adoption of digital humanities practices will lag and the field’s experimental and boundary-testing nature will be diminished. This is a proposal for developing an incentive structure for digital humanities scholarly production.

To read, edit or comment on the full proposal visit the Google Document.

– Jere Odell & Caitlin Pollock, IUPUI