29 Peer Review

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Look to your peers for feedback as you write

Inviting a colleague to contribute by writing a section or chapter to your textbook on a subject for which they are the expert is one way to ensure quality information in your open textbook. Another is to ask colleagues to serve as subject-matter experts (SME) and conduct a peer review — literally a review by a peer — of your work before it goes to copy editing. (Consider using one of your Contributing Authors.)

Like other textbook tasks, providing your SME with clear expectations will make this phase of the writing project smoother. It will also save your SME time and you frustration. Here are some suggestions.

  • Only give the SME text that needs their input, not the whole textbook (unless it helps with the assessment).
  • Identify the course level and subject matter for which the textbook is intended.
  • Use a rubric that informs the SME about required feedback. (See the BCcampus Open Education Review Rubric posted below for ideas.)
  • Clarify that you are seeking the SME’s expertise on the content, but do not need help with grammar, spelling, layout, or other aspects of the textbook.
  • Give the SME adequate time to conduct the review and set a deadline.

SME Rubric

Use the following questions to help steer feedback and make sure all areas are covered.

  1. What information is inaccurate? Please offer corrections.
  2. Is there any information missing? Please provide a list.
  3. Are there learning objects that could be used to enhance the information, such as case studies, historical examples, graphs, tables, and images?
  4. Do you have a list of suggested readings for students?
  5. Can you suggest study questions or exercises that will help the student learn this information?

Here is the BCcampus Open Education Review Rubric:


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For more information, see the Authoring Open Textbooks chapter on Peer Review [New Tab].



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