Advice for First-Time Peer Reviewers

Yelena Kalinsky's picture

As we wrap-up Peer Review Week 2020, we wanted to share some practical advice with early career scholars being asked to review for the first time. I spoke with three scholars, including a journal editor, about how to approach this potentially daunting task—and why it's important to do so. Instead of a write-up, we are experimenting with audio content, so today's post comes in the form of a podcast episode. You can check out that episode here. As always, we welcome feedback and comments from our readers (and listeners) via the Reply box below this post. There is much that could not fit into such a short episode, so if you have advice for first-time reviewers, do subscribe to the Book Channel and leave it below.

Listen to the full episode here.

And stay tuned for the rest of Feeding the Elephant's peer review coverage throughout September!


Robert Cassanello is a social historian interested in digital public history. He authored the book To Render Invisible: Jim Crow and Public Life in New South Jacksonville. He has also produced numerous media projects such as the films, The Committee, Filthy Dreamers and Marching Forward with Dr. Lisa Mills. Additionally, he produced the podcasts A History of Central Florida Podcast, H-Net’s The Art of the Review and The Florida Constitutions Podcast. He is Associate Professor of History at the University of Central Florida.

Saul Noam Zaritt is Associate Professor of Yiddish Literature at Harvard University. He studies modern Jewish writing and the politics of translation, examining how writers move between cultures and across boundaries to reimagine the languages of Jewish experience. His scholarly work has appeared in the journals ProoftextsStudies in American Jewish Literature, and American Literary History. He is a founding editor of In geveb, an open-access digital journal of Yiddish studies. His book Jewish American Writing and World Literature: Maybe to Millions, Maybe to Nobody is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick is Director of Digital Humanities and Professor of English at Michigan State University. She is author of Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019), Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy (NYU Press, 2011), and The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television (Vanderbilt University Press, 2006). She is project director of Humanities Commons, an open-access, open-source network serving more than 16,000 scholars and practitioners in the humanities. More information about Kathleen, including more than 16 years of blog posts, is available at kfitz.info.