Disapeer: The reconfiguration of peers in editorial review

1 September 2024 until 31 August 2028
Project member(s)
Dr W. Halffman (Willem) Dr S.P.J.M. Horbach (Serge) , Felicitas Hesselmann
Project type

Journal peer review faces concerns of efficiency, reviewer shortages, as well as substantial concerns for the quality and transparency of the scientific literature. These concerns are closely connected with transformative editorial developments. 

  • First, publishers are increasingly deploying automation and artificial intelligence in the administration and screening of submissions, such as with reviewer selection tools or plagiarism scanners. 
  • Second, interdisciplinary research cooperation complexifies the identification of relevant experts. 
  • Third, the open science movement has brought about more open peer review, such as post-publication review or public review reports. 

DISAPEER investigates how these developments affect the configuration of reviewers in the editorial process: who is identified as a relevant reviewer and what are these reviewers expected to do? Peer review is clearly affected by automated reviewer suggestion, submission pre-processing through scanners, the challenges of interdisciplinarity or the economy of publishing, but the precise consequences are unclear and undergoing constant change. The project proposes to investigate the changes in peer review through content and social network analyses, ethnographic studies of editorial processes, and qualitative interviews with actors involved in reviewing. It fosters collaboration between pertinent experts at Humboldt University, and Radboud University Nijmegen.

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Funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung, under the programme Understanding Research – Evaluation and Science Practice.


The project is a collaboration of the Robert K. Merton Center for Science Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany, and the Institute for Science in Society at Radboud University.

Contact information

More information? Please contact our press officers at 024 361 6000, or the project members.