Peer Reviewed Publication - The EVIA Digital Archive Project

Peer Reviewed Publication

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The EVIA Project is unusual in its employment of peer review for video annotations. Peer review is a process of subjecting a scholar's work to the evaluation of other scholars who are experts in the same field. In addition to establishing bodies of knowledge in which authors have met the standards of their discipline, peer review bolsters the confidence of readers in the quality of information, especially in research subject areas in which they themselves are not experts.

Similar to the manner in which scholarly journal articles of various disciplines are peer reviewed, EVIA Project peer review uses a two-stage approach to ensure the academic quality of collections by EVIA Fellows. In the first stage, the editorial board reviews a scholar's application and materials. Comprised of ten distinguished scholars experienced in the ethnographic disciplines and in moving-image documentation, the board is charged with scoring applications based on the following criteria:

  • quality of the video sample

  • expected value of the collection materials to scholars

  • potential for research and pedagogy in relation to the documents and scholarly works to which the applicant indicates his or her video footage relates

  • evidence demonstrating the scholar's ability to provide in-depth annotations of the recorded material

  • uniqueness of the recorded material

  • suitability of the recordings and documentation in providing a balanced representation of relevant topics

  • geographic areas in relation to previously archived holdings

According to the peer review policy of the EVIA Project, acceptance of one's work by the editorial board certifies that the collection is of sufficient quality and relevance to be given a status equivalent to an "accept with recommended revisions" rank in a traditional peer review evaluation. This status also is comparable to extending a book-publishing contract to an author upon review of a book proposal. The EVIA Project reserves the right not to publish final material that does not meet its quality standards.

The second stage of the peer review process takes place after the scholar has completed their annotations and analysis. The video recordings and annotations are sent to two anonymous reviewers who are experts in the cultural areas of the collection. Each reviewer makes comments and revisions recommendations, and returns the recommendations to EVIA Project staff. To facilitate peer review, the EVIA Project created a modification of the Annotator's Workbench that allows reviewers to examine a collection and comment on any segment level without altering the annotation text. For more information this technical aspect of the process, please see the software development section.

Once reviewers provide comments, EVIA Project managing editor forwards the anonymous recommendations to the editor who then assess the comments before sending them to the depositing scholar and mediating between the scholar and the reviewers when necessary. When the scholar has addressed reviewer recommendations to the satisfaction of the editors, the EVIA Project arranges for professional copyediting of the annotations. Copyedits are applied, and the collection is published online.

Some EVIA Project collections are not peer reviewed because they are accepted through a method other than the scholarly collection proposal and the EVIA Fellowship. Rather, they are the result of outside projects collaborating with the EVIA Project for preservation and access services. In some cases these collections are quite large, making it impossible to annotate video with the level of detail common in smaller ten-hour scholarly projects. For example, with over 800 hours of video, the AHEYM project provides a case in which annotation takes place, but not with the degree of detail present in most other EVIA Project collections. Such minimally annotated collections are not typically subjected to peer review.

Some depositors include their EVIA Project collection in their tenure and promotion dossier. The Search and Browse website is the preferred medium for sharing a collection with a tenure committee. This online version of the collection does not require the installation or configuration of special software or hardware, and its interactive timeline makes browsing easy. If a depositor's annotations are still in the process of being published in the online system, then the EVIA Project generates a DVD containing a special preview mode of the Annotator's Workbench. This disk allows members of the tenure committee to browse the depositor's collection on a local machine.

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