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Open Peer Review for the Humanities

NACBS 2011

Permalink for this paragraph 0 I’m writing to you to let you know about an exciting new addition to this
year’s North American Conference on British Studies.  As some of you
already know, Tim Hitchcock and I are working together on a digital space
that we are calling The History Working Papers Project (HWPP,
<https://libtool.ulib.iupui.edu/wordpress/>).  The HWPP is an online
space for scholars to share works-in-progress with their peers.  After uploading a conference paper, essay, or article manuscript to the HWPP website, authors can invite others to read their work and make comments in the
margins.  As more people respond, writers get more feedback.  But, unlike
traditional comments done on paper, HWPP allows commenters and authors to
interact with each other.  They can read each other’s marginalia and
engage in dialogue about it.  In fact, entire threaded discussions can
take place in the margins.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 NACBS has allowed us to offer HWPP to conference panels and participants
this year.  I am writing to encourage you to take advantage of the system.
Not only will it be able to help you generate some pre-conference buzz
for your panels, but it is a tool to help you create more informative and
useful panels.  Here is a short summary of what you can expect from HWPP:

Permalink for this paragraph 0 HWPP will allow you and the people on your NACBS panel to post your
conference papers online (either individually or as a whole panel) several
weeks before the conference begins.  By posting papers ahead of time, HWPP
gives conference chairs, panelists, and participants the ability to
experiment with alternative approaches to your panels.  While panels and
individuals can simply use HWPP to pre-circulate papers and hold a
traditional conference panel, you have the opportunity to be creative and
do much more.  By integrating an online conversation both before and after
the conference, you will find that your panels are much more dynamic.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 Here are some ideas on how you can take advantage of HWPP:

Permalink for this paragraph 0 1. The most effective way to use HWPP is as a whole panel.  Chairs should
round up participants’ papers several weeks before the conference begins
and send them to Jason M. Kelly at <jaskelly@iupui.edu>.  Within days,
they will be posted to HWPP under the heading for your panel.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 2. Chairs should encourage the commentator and one or two other peers to
read the papers and put their comments in the margins.  They might also
consider sending out an announcement about the pre-circulated drafts to
H-Albion or NACBS’s Facebook page in order get others to read and comment
as well.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 3. Having a panel pre-meeting is a great way to meet each other and
discuss some of your papers’ ideas.  Chairs, commentators, and panelists
can meet using Skype, Google+, Adobe Connect or any number of other video
conferencing tools.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 4. Chairs might consider an alternative format for their NACBS panel.
There are a number of format options, from PechaKucha to five-minute
papers to short poster sessions.  We encourage you to keep talks to a
shorter length in order to allow more time for group discussion.  Doing
this is very effective, and you may be surprised at the improved dynamic
and the rich outcomes that emerge.  At a recent NACBS panel, for example,
the chairs adopted a modified PechaKucha model.  Even though there were
ten speakers, there was still enough time for an exciting one-hour
discussion.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 5. Remember, that when the conference is over, HWPP will still be
available.  We encourage you to continue using it as you revise your
papers for submission to journals.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 The History Working Papers Project is quite an exciting system, and Tim
Hitchcock and I are very happy that NACBS is letting us run a trial this
year.  Please visit the site and have a look around
(<https://libtool.ulib.iupui.edu/wordpress/>).
Watch the videos, read the papers, and make comments.  Tim and I have
posted sample papers online so that you can see what papers and comments
look like.  Be sure to send us any questions you have about the site.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 I do hope that you consider using the system for your panel this year.  I
think it will be a great addition to the NACBS and the way scholars in the
humanities approach conference panels and scholarship more generally.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 Best wishes,
Jason

Permalink for this paragraph 0
Jason M. Kelly, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of British History, IUPUI

Permalink for this paragraph 0 School of Liberal Arts
Indiana University
Department of History, IUPUI
Cavanaugh Hall 503N
425 University Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5140