ASO Peer Commentary starts to blossom


Dear Colleague

This is the first Newsletter from Alexander Studies Online and is thus a new experiment as far as the website technology is concerned*.  Hopefully it will arrive when and where intended, but if you experience problems, do let me know.

Newsletters are likely to be an irregular feature of our operations. The main reason is simply that the site generates email digests about new content. The email digests mean you already know what's "new", rendering newsletters superfluous for many purposes. As you should be aware by now, the digests are distributed daily by default (though you can change the frequency, and of course they are only distributed if there is new content).  I trust you are getting these digests - if not please do contact me. 

However, in these early stages, there is no doubt some mystery about how the whole ASO project is developing.  And given the contribution of new material in the peer commentay area of the site, this seems like an opportune time to remind people that the site is live and open for business. 

Just to summarise some recent developments then:

Available for Peer Commentary

There are currently two contributions in the peer commentary area of the site.  And each of these now has a comment. The two "target articles" (to use the accepted description) are

  • The ASO Guidelines on peer review
  • Joe Armstrong's article on Manner and Conditions of Use

The first of these is not typical insofar as it is an internal ASO document that would never be published anywhere else. But it is entirely appropriate that it is put up for peer commentary, given that it affects the ASO community as a whole, and I am very grateful to Dr. Cirsten Verleger for taking the time to offer detailed and useful comments as well as doing some much-needed proof-reading to pick out typos.

The second is more mainstream as far as "normal" operation of ASO is concerned. I am of course very grateful to Joe for providing the original article, which we have already published.  But I am also grateful to Julia Woodman for providing commentary on important aspects of the article relating to teacher training. I look forward to receiving other comments. It will be a challenge, if this develops into a full-blown debate on teacher trainig formats, to know how best to handle it editorially if starts to extend far beyond the scope of Joe's original piece. But that's a challenge I look forward to addressing.

Just a reminder on some fundamentals around Peer Commentary:

  • although the top level inroductory page is exposed publicly, if you want to access the substance of the debate you would need to be logged in and to have been assigned Contributor permissions
  • I have not provided direct links to the above pieces as I think it is important for people to be able to find their way around the website from its home page. There is a block near the top of the right-hand sidebar that lists the current pieces that are sitting in the peer commentary area. If you navigate to one of these, you will then find  a new block appearing at or near the top of the sidebar, showing the material in that peer commentary thread
  • peer commentary is subject to editorial oversight and so anything you want to contribute should be sent to the Editor in the first instance. 

New content-type

We recently added a "Noted-in-passing" type of content. This is now one of the blocks in the right-hand sidebar. This is for those things which are kind of interesting, may be ephemeral, and don't warrant being inlcuded in our longer-term links library or in the bibliogpraphy. 

Don't forget that any Contributor can added new material of this sort, so if you happen to come across something interesting, but perhaps peripheral in the longer-term, feel free to add it, with a succinct comment as to its relevance and interest.  Items you can add directly to the website, such as "Noted-in-Passing" can be found under the Contribute menu item.

In closing...

Please do feel free to contact me - preferably by email to - if you have any questions, problems or suggestions for improvements.  They will be discussed between the three Editors (myself, Erica Donnison and Lesely Glover) and we'll refer back to the STAT Research Group as and when appropriate.

Finally, then, if you'd like to comment on the materials in the peer commentary area or to submit material for commentary and/or publication yourself, it would be great to hear from you.

Best wishes

David Gibbens, Editor

* technology = simplenews module on our Drupal 7 website