Reflection: Nikki Caswell, Editor

Nikki Caswell, East Carolina University

When the opportunity presented itself to apply for professional editor of The Peer Review (TPR), I immediately turned to Issue 0 and read through all the published Issues. I wanted to know the history and mission of TPR and see how the published pieces enacted that mission. If you haven’t read through the issues, I encourage you to do so. What drew me to TPR was the emphasis on emerging scholars. As a former IWCA Conference Chair and proposal reviewer, I’ve seen hundreds of proposals submitted, accepted, presented and then stop. While some of those presentations become articles, most do not. TPR seemed like an ideal venue for conference presentations to make the shift to publications. I am excited at the possibility of cultivating a conference presentation to article pipeline. While COVID-19 has shifted how a conference presentation and publication pipeline might look, it is still a goal of this editorial team. We will wait to see how conferences operate in AY 20-21 before designing our pipeline.

Over the last 6 months, our editorial team has imagined new sustainable practices for the journal. Our first change is the move from rolling submissions to a submission time period. One of the challenges shared with me was the difficulty in securing reviewers and sending feedback to authors in a timely fashion. Delays in the review process then translated into delays in publishing. We hope that by identifying submission time frames and review time frames, we can better manage the time and labor involved in publishing. We are committed to publishing at least 2 issues a year: Spring and Fall

  • From April 1st to June 15th we will accept articles for possible inclusion in Spring Issues. Articles submitted during this period will be reviewed between July 1st and September 1st.
  • From December 1st to March 1st we will accept articles for possible inclusion in Fall Issues. Articles submitted will be reviewed between March 15th and May 1st.

Our submission periods are linked to our desire to support the shift from conference presentation to publication. We plan to recruit from the IWCA Collaborative and Regional Conferences for Spring Issues and the IWCA and NCPTW conferences for Fall Issues.

Our second sustainable practice is a call for new reviewers. Thank-you to all who have served as an article reviewer these last few years. We hope that you’ll choose to continue to serve as a reviewer. If you’ve published with TPR, we sincerely hope you’ll consider being a reviewer. We aim to build a diverse reviewer pool that reflects the diversity of those submitting to TPR; thus, on our reviewer call you’ll notice we ask for identity markers. This is intentional. Building on TPR’s mission of demystifying the publication process for new scholars, we will hold virtual reviewer training sessions this fall. We want to create space for all ways of knowing, being, and doing.

The shift to submission timelines and call for new reviewers only operationalizes the work of TPR. By streamlining operating practices, the editorial team will have more time to dedicate to anti-violence and social and restorative justice within writing center practices and research. We will stumble. We will fail. And we will continue to interrogate our whiteness (see Talisha Haltiwanger Morrison and Talia O. Nanton) at each stage of the publication process.