Monday, July 09, 2012

Peer Reviewed: A New Perspective

I have written papers, presentations, reviews, and newsletter articles before, but I hadn't gone through the peer review process for a journal until now. I was struck by the fact that even though it is a hot topic in the fast paced information profession it has taken nine months to get from invitation to publication – longer than I expected.

How did it start? After giving a presentation at the Internet Librarian Conference in October of 2011, the editor of The Journal of Web Librarianship contacted me and co-presenter, Larry Haight of Simpson University, to ask if we would be willing to write an article for them. She was intrigued by the topic of our session, "Web Services: Libraries in the Cloud" and thought it could make a great journal article.

In the session, Larry and I were invited by Andrew Pace, OCLC Executive Director, Networked Library Services to give our real-world stories about being early adopters of OCLC's WorldShare Management Services to supplement his theoretical company perspective of WMS. (See HIU press release.)

About the Journal. The online journal is published by Taylor & Francis, which, according to their website, "publishes more than 1,000 journals and around 1,800 new books each year." Besides empirical studies, the journal publishes "case studies of cutting-edge web projects" like ours.

The process. The Internet Librarian Conference was held in mid-October. I was first contacted by the editor on November 1, 2011 and then again in late January, 2012. I finally submitted my first draft for consideration in March, received some feedback and resubmitted it with revisions in April.

A little over a month later I received word that two reviewers had taken a look at it and recommended accepting my manuscript for publication, with some revision. I had ten days to incorporate the editorial suggestions to make it into the next issue. The feedback was similar to comments from a professor. But in this case, there were three professors and two of them were anonymous.

After making the appropriate changes (in some cases, I argued for a different solution to problems reviewers had noted), I resubmitted my final draft. The editor then informed me that it was accepted but asked for a screenshot to illustrate one of my points.

The next day, the Production Editor for Taylor & Francis contacted me about the image.

“You have provided 1 pieces of 4-color (Figure 1) art along with your manuscript. The journal’s policy allows all color art to be reproduced as supplied ONLINE at no additional cost to you. However, if you would like your figure(s) to appear in color in the PRINT copy of the journal the following costs will apply: $900.00.”

I elected to forego the color in the print copy.

Reflection. It has been an interesting learning experience and a challenge to my writing style. When I was writing papers for classes I never thought I would someday write for publication. Therefore, I did not fully appreciate the criticisms and suggestions professors painstakingly made on essays and reports returned to me. The grade was important, but the feedback was invaluable.


Hartman, R. 2012. Life in the Cloud: A WorldShare Management Services Case Study. Journal of Web Librarianship, 6(3).

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