What is Peer Review For?

Just before the holidays, the Political Methodologist was kind enough to publish a short essay of mine on peer review. Go ahead and have a look.

One additional thought that I wanted to add to that essay, but which did not fit well, was on anonymity in the refereeing process. Fortunately, I have this blog, so I can add it now.

I am always amazed by the confidence with which my colleagues and friends report that they have identified who is responsible for an anonymous referee report on their own work. I do not have that skill. In my own experience, I have only learned who a referee is when that referee reveals him or herself to me. I have no evidence, but I suspect that most people are generally wrong—catastrophically, even hilariously wrong—when they guess the identity of their anonymous referees. I can think of few pastimes that are less productive for the discipline.