signal/noise open peer review process

Our process is borrowed from our sibling organization, the FemBot Collective, who initiated an open peer review for their journal, Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media & Technology. Along with FemBot, we believe that scholarship is a collective effort, and we are “committed to a transparent, productive, and rigorous peer review process.”

signal/noise is a publication for excellent student work generated in the context of FemTechNet’s Distributed Open Collaborative Course (DOCC). We seek to publish a broad range of work across disciplines, genres and experience. Our hope is that signal/noise will be a destination for authors/makers and readers/players/audiences interested in feminist work—and by ‘feminist’ we mean intersectional and assemblaged analyses informed by critical race and ethnic studies, disability studies and crip theory, decolonizing, anti-colonial and post-colonial, transgender and women’s, gender and queer studies—in science, technology and media studies and related fields and praxes.

signal/noise is an extension of the distributed, open, collaborative pedagogies that energize and structure FemTechNet’s DOCC. We want to keep in mind that signal/noise is a publication for student work. By definition, student work is work that is created in the context of learning, and thus the review process is meant to be part of the learning experience, towards a goal of publication. For this reason we rely on peer editors (faculty, students and other FemTechNet members) to respond to the contributions we receive and to help the publication process by offering respectful, constructive feedback.

The signal/noise editorial collective is made up of FemTechNet participants including students, faculty and other members. Lead DOCC faculty editor: Prof. Cricket Keating.

Here is our process:

  1. signal/noise sends out a call for submissions with a clear deadline.
  2. The editorial collective considers all submissions, responds to the work, and gives authors/makers the option to submit the original or a revised version of the work to the open peer review site. The editorial collective can reject a contribution, if they deem it unsuitable for publication.
  3. Contributions are posted to the signal/noise password-protected open review site, where they are peer reviewed by other contributors and by invited members of FemTechNet. Reviewers’ comments are visible to the contributors and to other reviewers throughout the process.
  4. Each contributor is asked to respond to two other contributions by request from the editorial collective.
  5. Each contribution is also reviewed by two FemTechNet members, by request from the editorial collective.
  6. Once the review period is over (one month); the editorial board will compile the responses, send them to the contributors, and contributors will have at least two weeks to revise their contributions for final editorial collective review. After the review period, the peer review site will be cleared.
  7. The editorial collective will send publication decisions to the contributors.

The following notes for Authors & Reviewers are adapted from Ada.

Notes for Authors:

  • In the spirit of collaboration, the reviewer response is meant to facilitate a conversation between your work and the practices of FemTechNet. For more on the practices of FemTechNet, see our manifesto!
  • Spell and grammar check your piece before submitting it for peer review. signal/noise is mindful that there are many ways of communicating and we seek to publish across language practices.
  • signal/noise reviewers genuinely want to help you improve your work.
  • While you may not agree with everything a reviewer has to say, consider that the reviewer is going to be a member of the audience you’re eventually addressing. You should keep their comments and criticism in mind as you revise.
  • Share your reviews with colleagues and mentors – don’t stress about them in private. Other people can help give you perspective on reviewer comments.

Notes for Reviewers:

  • signal/noise seeks feedback that is generous and constructive: if someone does have systemic problems, recommend resources (a couple of key readings, videos, or other media; an editor; a proof-reader) that might help their work.
  • Don’t spend time correcting grammar and spelling. If these problems are systemic, do strongly suggest that the author use grammar and spell check in the future. Keep in mind that there are many ways of communicating and we seek to publish across language practices.
  • Do spend your time trying to make sense of the author’s argument: it often helps if you can summarize their argument or restate it.
  • Respect what the author is trying to do with their work without imposing your own idea of what they should be arguing. A common shortcoming in reviews is when the reviewer is really asking the author to create a totally different project.
  • You may personally disagree with the thesis of the argument. Say that, but also keep your own comments limited to how well the author supports the argument.
  • Always review the work at least twice. Don’t begin to write your comments until you’re on the second read-through.
  • Mind your tone. Remember this is student work; the editorial process is a learning process. Proofread your own written comments, paying attention to how you phrase things

Please contact if you would like to participate in the peer review process as a reviewer.

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