Stories of Open: Opening Peer Review through Narrative Inquiry (ACRL Publications in Librarianship No. 76)

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author

Peer review processes in scholarly publishing are often hidden behind layers of opacity, leaving authors—and even reviewers—with many questions about the process. Open peer review is one way to improve the practice. It can shorten the time between manuscript submission and publication, hold reviewers accountable for their work, make more apparent the hidden labor of reviewing and editing, allow for collaborative discourse between authors and reviewers, and more. Even with these benefits, open peer review is not widely accepted or understood. Few academic librarians have experienced it, and each implementation can be different; anything open is highly nuanced and contextual. Ultimately, when we discuss “open,” we must discuss the stories around it. What is the aim? What are the pitfalls? What are the gains? And are we trying to simply replicate a broken system instead of reinventing it?

Stories of Open: Opening Peer Review through Narrative Inquiry examines the methods and processes of peer review, as well as the stories of those who have been through it. Eleven chapters are divided into three parts:

Part 1: Orientation. This section offers a conceptual frame for the book, providing details about narrative inquiry as a methodology and the author’s worldview and research approach.
Part 2: The Stories (The Story Middle). What is the standard experience of peer review in our field? This section shares stories told from a variety of viewpoints and roles—author, editor, and referee—and explores how these roles interact, the tension between them, and the duality and sometimes multiplicity of roles experienced by any one individual.
Part 3: Coda. These four chapters tie the stories to the idea of open and look in detail at the research method, as well as imagine how we might move forward—reflecting on our past stories to create future ones.

When we open ourselves to others’ experiences, we reflect on our own. Stories of Open offers questions for reflection at the end of many chapters in order to assist in the continued exploration of your own experiences with peer review, and encourages the use of these reflections in creating new and improved peer review methods.

This book is also available as an open access edition at


Part 1: Orientation
Chapter 1—A Meta-story: The Story of Stories of Open
Chapter 2—Discovering Method: Narrative Inquiry

Part 2: The Stories (The Story Middle)
Chapter 3—The Elusive Norm: Peer Review in LIS
Chapter 4—Roles of Peer Review
Chapter 5—Dualities and Multiplicities in Peer Review
Chapter 6—Collaborative Work and Discourse Community
Chapter 7—Transparency of Peer-Review Process

Part 3: Coda
Chapter 8—Storying Stories
Chapter 9—I Just Feel Like This Makes Sense to Me: Stuart’s Story (In collaboration with Stuart Lawson)
Chapter 10—The Next Layer of Publishing Transparency: Open Peer Review
Chapter 11—Crafting Future Stories of Open

Emily Ford

Emily Ford loves stories. She is curious to understand the human experience, and how we can connect in community through individual and collective experiences. Although her research is focused on opening scholarly peer review, she views the peer-review system as one composed of human experience stories. As one of the co-founders of In the Library with the Lead Pipe, she became immersed in peer review and publishing early in her career. She currently serves as Urban & Public Affairs Librarian at Portland State University, where she is also on the Library’s scholarly communication team. When not immersed in stories, she is most likely found trail running, practicing yoga, puttering in her yard, or petting her cats and her pet rats.