POST: Reviewing is an Act of Leadership

Sharon Leon (Michigan State University) has posted a version of her panel talk at the Organization of American Historians‘ annual meeting, focusing reviewing digital public history projects.

We can and should do our best to create a culture of reviewing that is humane and constructive. In that effort we might turn the groundbreaking work of the HuMetricsHSS Project to help structure our thinking. The project is working through a process to create and disseminate a “humane evaluation framework” that builds upon the values that participants have identified as central to humanities and social science disciplines, including collegiality, quality, equality, openness, and community.

These values parallel those that we commonly see at work in the approach of effective leaders. And they are values that we should seek from our reviewers and their work. Putting these qualities front and center means that the work of review becomes generative, rather than a competitive, zero-sum practice.

Leon concludes that the review process itself serves an act of public humanities; as a conversational model of review could help shift the culture of the peer review process away “from valuing single-voiced judgment to valuing multi-vocal learning and growth.”


This post was produced through a cooperation among Jolanda-Pieta van Arnhem, Andrew Craig, Anna Flak, Kristen Mapes, Laura Morreale, and Shilpa Rele (Editors-at-large for the week), Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara (Editor for the week), and Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Sarah Melton, Roxanne Shirazi, and Patrick Williams (dh+lib Review Editors).