There are many ways to get feedback and input on your OER – either from peers (however you choose to define this), those tasked to focus on the accessibility of the materials, and/ or the people (students and teachers) who work with the OER in classroom settings. Getting a seal of approval or recommendation from an external reviewer can help make your OER stronger, and more appealing to adopters. Feedback and review also provides you and your teams with another valuable opportunity to be intentional and ensure that your review process is equitable.
Decide early on what you need from this process. Determine your goals and expectations before you bring on reviewers, so they can focus on giving you exactly what will be most useful.
Manage revisions with an open mind to strengthen your OER. Think back to your SLOs — whose subject matter perspectives are needed to help determine whether the OER is built to help students achieve these outcomes?
Review allows experts to share their knowledge. Beyond the credibility that they provide, peer reviewers’ critical feedback and suggestions tend to improve the resource for its intended audience.
Model good behaviour. Set an example with how you communicate with reviewers, so that they communicate equally respectfully with authors. Provide pointers on how to review with compassion – highlight both areas that need improvement as well as those that have been executed well.The latter helps offer a model that revisions can work towards.
As we noted in creating & editing content, we believe a collaborative approach is key – and this phase is no different. There’s a surprising number of people from your team who can take part in the peer review phase:
- Review coordinator: prepare the review guide, write calls for reviewers, manage recruitment, track progress, and relay information among reviewers and the authoring and editing team
- Reviewers: subject-matter experts who provide critical input and suggestions to improve the resource. (We recommend at least two reviewers per book or per chapter, if you are conducting a chapter- based review)
- Authors: incorporate reviewers’ feedback, communicate with editors and reviewers (directly or through the review coordinator)
- Editors: coordinate with the authors and reviewers (or review coordinator) about revisions to the book, implement these revisions in some cases
- Project manager: communicate with the review coordinator (or act as one), share calls for reviewers and project updates
Review generally takes place once all the content has been written and edited, but it can also happen on a rolling basis if you are conducting a chapter-based review. In both cases, it’s important to do some prep work so that the process runs smoothly from start to finish:
- Determine which of the review processes (peer review, classroom review, accessibility review) to include in your project timeline
- Establish peer review and accessibility review workflows for your OER, so everyone involved understands the process
- Create a review guide to share with your team with a simplified version of your project summary, links to the book or content, general reviewer guidelines, project-specific questions you want addressed, deadlines, tools, reviewer etiquette, compensation (if any), and ways in which reviewers will be credited.
- Create a call for reviewers that includes project details, intended audience level, criteria for reviewers, and instructions for indicating interest. The call should also encourage members of underrepresented groups or those in diverse cultural, geographic, or social contexts to participate.
- Communicate the rigor, quality, and value of your resource through a peer review statement and accessibility assessment
- Credit the work that reviewers have done in your team communications, and if possible, send reviewers a thank you card, personal email, or print copy of the book.
Reviewers are often involved because they believe in the value of the project, and we hope these suggestions will help you make it an enjoyable experience for them, while also receiving the feedback you need for your resource.