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Peer Commentary

Peer commentary differs from peer review in that in the former the manuscript has already been accepted for publication, and it is the commentators' job to critique it, amplifying points they feel are important or need further elaboration, and noting flaws in the argument. Peer commentaries are not the place to discuss style of presentation, grammatical errors, etc.--these are points that are assumed to have been covered in the peer review process (where such points need to be made, they can be brought to the attention of the editor by email). Peer commentaries are also not to be either laudatory or critical evaluations of an author's writing style--readers will have the paper in front of them and can form their own conclusions. Peer commenatries also should not attempt laboriously to summarize every point in the paper--readers will have the paper in front of them and can read it for themselves. It would be entirely appropriate for peer commentators to include references (in APA style) having to do with their points. Peer commentaries afford a chance for commentators, drawing on their own background knowledge, to add to what has been said and to show what they know about the topic under discussion.

Many times, even in a good paper, an author will have neglected some aspect of the topic that warrants further consideration, will have made an argument that contains considerable holes, or will have treated some alternative or criticism in a shallow manner. Through the peer commentaries these issues can be brought to light and discussed in order to show the alternatives and let readers come to their own conclusions.

Peer commentaries should be written in the past-tense. They should include a title of 15 words or fewer; the title should be both descriptive and interesting. "A Peer Commentary on Someone's Paper" is not an acceptable title for a peer commentary. The text should be at least three double-spaced pages long. Commentators' full name (including middle initial) should be included, followed by "Rochester Institute of Technology." Commentaries should be saved as a text file (by going to Save As and choosing Text or ASCII) and submitted to the editor as an attachment to an email message.

Commentaries should be carefully reviewed and perhaps read by a friend as well before they are submitted for publication. Commentators should remember that their commentaries will comprise a relatively permanent addition to the Great Ideas in Personality website and can be read by anyone in the world. Therefore, careful attention should be paid to both style and substance.

The peer commentaries should not critique the target paper based on the Rubric for Evaluating Papers--this has already been done in the peer review process. The peer commentaries themselves, however, will be evaluated according to this rubric, just as the published papers already have been. The following top-10 list of the best peer commentaries should serve as models for future peer commentaries.

Top 10 List of the Best Peer Commentaries

  1. "Is the 21st Century Man Really Careless With His Sperm?" Chelsey L. Cummings
  2. "Behaviorism: More Than a Failure to Follow in Darwin's Footsteps," Alissa D. Eischens
  3. "The Decision to Divorce: A Socio-Psychological View of Reasons Other Than Attachment Separation," Jaclyn E. Siebel
  4. "Attachment Theory: A Freudian Spin-Off?" Kelly S. Wolf
  5. "Are We Talking About the Same Violence?" Joel D. Collison
  6. "Positive Effects of Video Games on Development," Noah J. Stupak
  7. "The Importance of Sex Differences in Aggression," Mari M. Taylor
  8. "Pathological Gamblers: Impulsive, or Impulsive Sensation Seekers?" Vanessa M. Mazza
  9. "A Closer Look at Relationships, Genetics, and Choice," David E. Chinander
  10. "The Power of Gender Biases," Irina V. Sokolova

Last modified November 2004
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