I’ve made a few changes to my personal homepage (www.edwardrcarr.com).  This included cleaning up a few things, adding a few book reviews for Delivering Development, and updating my CVs.  However, today, for the first time since I set my homepage up, I have added a page . . . there is now a page for pre-prints.  I have become thoroughly fed up with the gatekeeping and slow pace of academic publishing – I was annoyed to start with, but after more than a year in an agency, and about 18 months engaged with a much wider environment/development community via the blog and twitter, I have come to realize that academic publishing, for all its rigor and legitimacy, is something of a liability.  There is no way anyone is going to wait around for my work, or anyone else’s work, to wend its way through peer review and the inevitable publication delays before it appears in print.

To address this, I am now posting work that I have submitted for review – it is polished, and sometimes it has seen a round of peer review already (those will be marked revised and resubmitted).  However, they are not fully finished, peer-approved work – which means they will likely change a little before they come out in final form.  My goal is to make this stuff available more or less as soon as I submit it.  I am open to comments and suggestions – I can still work them in before the final version goes out!

Some of you might wonder how this could affect the idea of double-blind peer review.  Well, in my experience, double-blind peer review in development studies – or indeed in any of the qualitative social sciences – is largely a joke.  In my field, we tend to invest a lot of time and effort working in a particular place, and so it is very, very easy to figure out who is writing about what.  I often know who the author of a piece is as soon as I read the abstract – and there are always enough details in any manuscript to facilitate a quick Google search that will identify the author.  Both pieces that I currently have on my website work from material for which I am well-known within my field.  For example, just mentioning the villages of Dominase and Ponkrum in Ghana in the livelihoods piece pretty much tells everyone who it is.  And the piece on academic engagement with development practice comes directly from a panel at last year’s Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting which was attended by more than 100 people, as well as an extended listserv exchange in the fall of 2010 that was sent out to several thousand subscribers of various lists.  Again, pretty much everyone will be able to figure out who wrote it.

So, the work is now up there for your perusal.  Have a look, and let me know what you think . . .