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The value(s) of editorial peer review

Maria E. Gonzalez (Based at the School of Information, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 1 July 2006



To explore the status, interests, and intentions of peer reviewers and how editors enlist and muster these factors to enhance the prestige of a scholarly publication.


Case study: use of a 30‐year accumulation of editorial office records of one scholarly journal to analyze the contents of peer review comments and correspondence; direct quotes highlight key themes.


Peer reviewers labor to obtain more than the certification, authentication, and quality of individual works. The volume and variety of commentary generated by a double‐blind peer review process reveal concerns behind reviewer comments to authors and effects over time.

Research limitations/implications

The study centers on one journal, Libraries & Culture, a publication committed to the specialized, interdisciplinary research about the history of libraries and the collection of cultural records.


The strategic nature of the administration and management of the invisible work of peer reviewers becomes more apparent. The interests and intentions of peer reviewers surface in commentary intended only for authors. Commentary relates to a variety of themes including personal interests, pedagogical and disciplinary objectives, field expansion agendas as well as the prestige of the publication. These themes suggest peer review as a potentially effective guiding mechanism for long‐term endeavors that benefit author, reviewer, and editor as interrelated players in arenas where distinction is at stake.



Gonzalez, M.E. (2006), "The value(s) of editorial peer review", On the Horizon, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 121-129.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited