Tech Report

Redesigning the Peer Review Process: A Developmental Theory-in-Action

We are looking at how new forms of document interface can be used to

support new forms of scholarly discourse, and ultimately, new models

of scholarly publishing. Towards this end, we have been using specially designed computer-meditated conferencing technology to

realize an innovative peer review model within an academic e-journal

- The Journal of Interactive Media in Education. In essence, through

re-design of social processes and technical products, we have tried

to shift reviewing from a closed process centered on evaluating

scholarly work to an open process promoting constructive dialogue

between participants. Our experiences indicate that ongoing and

explicit mediation activities by editors play an important role in

helping review participants (authors, reviewers, guest editors)

effectively learn about and participate in the new process. We

describe our specific mediation activities and the theoretical

framework they are derived from: meta-structuring. The utility of the meta-structuring theory is derived from its explicit acknowledgement that (1) technology adaptation and cultural change are gradual processes that occur primarily after deployment and during use and (2) ongoing proactive interventions (mediations) can facilitate these gradual processes and improve technology use and acceptance. We argue that 'meta-structuring' is an instance of a broader class of theories, which we call "developmental theories-in-action", which offer a promising direction for future research agendas.


Sumner, T., Buckingham Shum, S., Wright, M., Bonnardel, N., & Chevalier, A. (2000). Redesigning the Peer Review Process: A Developmental Theory-in-Action. Proc. COOP'2000: Fourth International Conference on the Design of Cooperative Systems, (Sophia Antipolis, France: 23-26 May, 2000).

ID: kmi-00-12

Date: 2000

Author(s): Tamara Sumner, Simon Buckingham Shum, Michael Wright, Nathalie Bonnardel and Aline Chevalier

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