Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Reviewer or Roadblock?

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Reviewer or Roadblock?

Article excerpt

Editorial board members should have an awareness of different cultural worldviews. Ignorance of diversity is no excuse.

OVER THE YEARS, I, LIKE OTHER SCHOLARS, HAVE HAD MY SHARE OF MANUSCRIPTS rejected by research journals. Often, the feedback from editorial review boards is constructive and extremely valuable in helping me make my work worthy of publishing. Unfortunately however, in many cases, it seems clear that the blind review process suffers from a lack of awareness on a broad base of research methodology. Specifically, some reviewers don't necessarily understand the research on feminist and multicultural issues.

What I find especially frustrating is the rampant and virtually unchecked commentary from editorial reviewers, resulting in an unfounded, inaccurate attack on scholarship. Comments that reflect the reviewers' ignorance, personal agenda and biases also send the message that publication success means rejecting the cultural view one brings to their research.

For example, an American Indian colleague, conducting a study on tribal differences among American Indians, was told by an editor of a flagship journal that he would not publish her research unless she added a White sample to the study.

A reviewer of another highly respected educational journal chastised me, saying I should have known to capitalize bell hooks' name.

Useful editorial feedback should challenge the writer's arguments and methodology. Unfortunately, some reviewers just don't understand diverse perspectives well enough and can't review them fairly enough to provide constructive criticism.

Having a culturally specific worldview is both a reviewer's strength and weakness when evaluating work from different epistemic paradigms. But, before challenging the cultural foundation of the author's writing, editorial board members should at least have an awareness of those different cultural worldviews. Ignorance of diversity is no excuse.

But what is particularly hurtful to female and minority scholars is feedback that devalues our specific pedagogies and theories. Many feminist perspectives embrace the postmodern push toward scholarly self-reflection, but when you devalue gender and cultural issues, you in essence devalue your female and minority colleagues.

This is concerning because editorial reviewers are responsible for the development and dissemination of knowledge. …

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