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The digital scholar
The digital scholar

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Peer review

An image of four people sitting next to each other on a concrete step.
Figure 6 Reaching a higher step

The issue of gaming is even more prevalent with metrics, and this is confounded by the mix of personal and professional outputs which are evident in many of these tools. This brings us onto the next approach in recognising digital scholarship, which is the use of peer-assessment. When the filter of peer-review publication is removed, or lowered in significance, then arguably the significance of peer review in the tenure process increases. It will be necessary to determine that the output and activity are indeed scholarly (after all, one could have a popular blog on bee-keeping which had no relevance to your position as professor of English Literature). It is also a response to the increased complexity of judging digital scholarship cases. The MLA guidelines above recommend using external experts to perform this peer review for tenure committees who may be unfamiliar with both the subject matter and the format.

Others have taken this approach further, soliciting commendations from their wider online network (e.g. Becker, 2009). There is obviously an issue around objectivity with this approach, but as promotion committees seek to deal with a wider range of activity and outputs, judging their impact will need to involve feedback from the community itself.