The philosophy of peer review for History of Media Studies differs from those of many other academic journals. We ask potential reviewers to read our guidelines carefully before they accept an invitation to review a manuscript for us.
The journal is committed to a humane, care-based, and developmental review process, with the goal to improve manuscripts through collegial exchange. We want History of Media Studies (HMS) to help build a broader community of scholars, and we invite reviewers to see themselves as members of this community, resistant to dominant norms of reviewing. With those goals in mind, please consider the following guidelines as you conduct your review (which we may follow with requests that you review revised versions of the manuscript):
See yourself less as a gatekeeper or judge delivering a verdict and more as a midwife trying to help the author(s) bring their project to birth. That birth may not ultimately occur at HMS but do what you can to help the author eventually bring their ideas to fruition.
Always remember that there is a person or persons who have invested their care and energy in this manuscript. Respond in kind with a spirit of generosity and appreciative critique rather than the harshness that anonymity can afford. Attend to the tone of your comments as much as the content. Remember how you’ve felt as an author when a reviewer failed to do so.
Begin by doing your best to understand what the author is trying to accomplish in the essay; not what you want them to do, but what they seem to be doing. Please begin your review with a paragraph that summarizes what you see as the essay’s aim, historical scope, and argument.
Consider what you see as the essay’s promise and what it would take to fully achieve that promise–e.g., in specific topics addressed, literature engaged, analysis provided, evidence used, and clarity of writing. Provide constructive feedback along those lines.
Consider the essay in relation to exclusions that have constituted media studies fields and that HMS is committed to analyzing and combatting–around race, coloniality, gender, sexuality, language, and national/geopolitical location. Provide feedback that would strengthen the manuscript along these lines. Think about your own comments in this light as well. What suggestions are you making? What literature are you recommending? Do your comments perpetuate those patterns of exclusion?
Finally, please do not recommend publication, rejection, or revision. Instead offer a final evaluation of the manuscript along these two lines: (1) If the manuscript were to achieve its fuller promise, would it make a significant contribution to the international historiography of media studies? (2) How far is the manuscript from achieving that promise? What work is needed?