Peer Review and the Revolutionary Academic

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  • Title: Peer Review and the Revolutionary Academic: A Kuhnian Critique
  • Author(s): Adam Riggio
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Information, Medium & Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Book
  • Keywords: Peer Review, Thomas Kuhn, Academic Culture
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2009
  • ISSN: 1447-9516 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1447-9567 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Riggio, Adam. 2009. "Peer Review and the Revolutionary Academic: A Kuhnian Critique." The International Journal of the Book 7 (1): 9-16. doi:10.18848/1447-9516/CGP/v07i01/36787.
  • Extent: 8 pages


This paper explores what I take to be a significant activity of human thought: the creation and enforcement of orthodoxies. I do so through investigating examples with which many academics are familiar: the formations both of standards for publication in peer reviewed journals, and of our allegiances with particular traditions and predecessors in our fields. Several sociological studies of these phenomena could lead one to conclude that our current methods of academic discipline stifle the progress of many fields. When the standard for publication or recognition of the merit of academic work is based on how well the work fits with established orthodoxy, an academic field can become repetitive and moribund. However, the vocabulary of Thomas Kuhn’s 1962 work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, can give us the ability to understand a different way of relating to orthodoxies, in which our thinking is more open to novelty and creativity.