Blog Post

"Blog Comments vs. Peer Review," from the CHE

Blog Comments vs. Peer Review: Which Way Makes a Book Better?

What if scholarly books were peer reviewed by anonymous blog comments rather than by traditional, selected peer reviewers?

That's the question being posed by an unusual experiment that began last week. It involves a scholar studying video games, a popular academic blog with the playful title Grand Text Auto, a nonprofit group designing blog tools for scholars, and MIT Press.

The idea took shape when Noah Wardrip-Fruin, an assistant professor of communication at the University of California at San Diego, was talking with his editor at the press about peer reviewers for the book he was finishing, The book, with the not-so-playful title Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies, examines the importance of using both software design and traditional media-studies methods in the study of video games.

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The blog is read by many of the same scholars he sees at academic conferences, and also attracts readers from the video-game industry andteenagers who are hard-core video-game players. At its peak, the bloghas had more than 200,000 visitors per month, he says.

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You can find the full article here (note that the URL will expire in five days; this is from the print edition dated February 1, 2008 if you're looking for it and the link doesn't work). Noah spoke at HASTAC's Electronic Techtonics conference last April, in our very exciting panel on games. His blog is here if you'd like to add your own comments.

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