DiGRA 2007 Review Process Proposal
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DiGRA 2007 Review Process Proposal version 0.01
This document is produced to elaborate the review process proposed in the original DiGRA 2007 proposal. The review process proposed here generally follows the guideline outlined by "DiGRA Review Process: A guide for the review Process in DiGRA Conferences" (www.digra.org/digra_conference/reviewprocess). In particular, the review process proposed here aims to achieve the same goals as described in "DiGRA Review Process." There are, however, several differences in its way to achieve these goals. Those differences will be mentioned later.
The following review process is proposed to be applied to the category of full paper presentations (or pre-organized sessions of full paper presentations). The review process for other categories of presentations will be discussed elsewhere.
The review organization is proposed in consideration of the unique difficulty of an interdisciplinary conference like DiGRA 2007. In order to maintain high academic standards of DiGRA conferences, we need to tackle the following issues:
1. We need to recruit qualified reviewers.
2. We need to find a way to make a good match between a submitted paper and its reviewers.
This proposal attempts to solve these problems by giving a greater role to the Review Committee members, making their function similar to that of an editor of a journal. An author is expected to submit a paper to the Review Committee member whom the author can trust about his or her familiarity with the relevant literature and ability to assign appropriate reviewers.
Two committees will be involved in developing the conference program: The Program Committee and the Review Committee.
The Review Committee will evaluate papers and make recommendation using 1 to 5 scale (strong accept, weak accept, neutral, weak reject, strong reject).
The Review Committee Chair will be recommended by the International Advisory Board and appointed by the Local Organizing Committee.
The Review Committee Chair will recruit the Review Committee members in consultation with the International Advisory Board so that the Review Committee members as a whole can cover all the relevant fields in game studies. However, there can be more than one specialist for one thematic topic, or one Review Committee member can be an expert of more than one thematic topic. The Review Committee Chair will supervise the Review Committee members in their assignment of reviewers and their evaluation of papers.
The Review Committee members will recruit reviewers from their own network and from the list of volunteers and assign papers to appropriate reviewers. The Review Committee Chair and the International Advisory Board will assist locating appropriate reviewers.
The Program Committee is chaired by the Conference Chair and consists of the Review Committee Chair, a representative from the International Advisory Board, a representative from the Local Organizing Committee, and the President of DiGRA. The role of this Program Committee is to make the final decision about which papers to accept following the recommendation of the Review Committee, and compile the program.
Tentatively, themes include:
Player-Focus: Sociology and economy of MMORPGs, sociological approaches to games, gender and gaming, player engagement, player co-production, cross-cultural issues, etc. Relevant disciplines include: sociology, anthropology, history, economics, and psychology.
Content Focus: Theory and practice of game design, game storytelling, game graphics, etc. Relevant disciplines include: literature, film studies, and game design theory.
Learning/Education Focus: Teaching and curriculum development in game programs, serious games, games at school, learning and games. Relevant disciplines include: education and psychology.
Business Focus: Economics-based studies of game industry, business models, sociology of game production, copyright and legal issues, national policy of game production and training, independent/amateur designers, etc. Relevant disciplines include: business and management, economics, sociology, history, law, and political sciences.
Interdisciplinary: Any studies to cross these themes or innovative attempts that do not fit in any other theme areas. May include game studies-related sessions or symposia.
The general guideline to review a paper will be drafted by the Program Committee based on the version used for DiGRA 2005. Each Review Committee member, however, can modify the guideline to make it fit in the disciplinary convention.
A guideline for evaluating a session proposal will be drafted by the Program Committee.
2. Online review system
Currently, it is our plan to handle the entire reviewing process though a web-based online system.
3. Recruiting Process
The Review Committee Chair is the key in the entire review process. The Review Committee Chair must be a highly regarded scholar with a long career in game studies who has a long experience in reviewing papers and an extensive network of game studies scholars. The International Advisory Board will make the necessary recommendation about the selection of the Review Committee Chair. The Local Organizing Committee will negotiate with the candidates.
As stated above, the Program Committee will be chaired by the Conference Chair and consist of the Review Committee Chair, the President of DiGRA, a representative of the International Advisory Board, and a representative of the Local Organizing Committee.
To facilitate assignment of reviewers, a list of possible reviewers will be compiled by the Local Organizing Committee with the help of the International Advisory Board. The Local Organizing Committee will announce a call for reviewers. In addition, the Local Organizing Committee will recruit appropriate candidates for reviewers by contacting those who served as reviewers in previous DiGRA conferences and those who are recommended by the International Advisory Board.
Those who agreed to be on the list of potential reviewers will be requested to register their contact information and their specialties and interests through the online review system. The Review Committee members will contact them or not depending on what kind of papers are submitted. Reviewer candidates are free to decline to review assigned papers, but must do so immediately.
a) Individual paper
Those who wish to present a paper should submit an electronic version of a full paper to the appropriate Review Committee member through the online review system by the deadline set by the Local Organizing Committee. The length of the paper should fit in the time allocated to one presentation (30 minute per paper), and the submitted paper should be as close as the final form of the paper to be presented to increase the chance to be accepted. Along with the text, it will be made possible to submit electronic forms of audio-visual materials such as PopwerPoint presentations.
It is primarily the responsibility of the authors to choose an appropriate Review Committee member for their paper and to identify an appropriate thematic focus (or foci). The Review Committee member, however, must decline to review the paper when there are possible conflicts of interests, as discussed in "DiGRA Review Process." When they were not able to find an appropriate Review Committee member, they should contact the Review Committee Chair.
2. Reviewer assignment
The Review Committee members will read the submitted papers and assign appropriate reviewers. Reviewers will be chosen from the list of reviewer candidates prepared by the Local Organizing Committee or from Review Committee member's personal network based on the content of the paper. In choosing reviewers, any conflict of interests must be avoided.
At least three reviewers should be assigned to each paper, and the Review Committee member assign additional reviewers when necessary.
The actual review will be conducted in the double-blind method, namely, both authors and reviewers do not know each other's identity. The reviewers will write a review report along with the guideline defined by the Review Committee member.
When revisions will drastically improve the quality of a submitted paper, a reviewer can suggest revisions of the paper. The evaluation of the paper is still based on the original draft but possibilities of revisions should be noted on the review report and taken into consideration in the final decision to accept the paper or not.
The review committee chair will make the final evaluation of the papers based on the review reports from reviewers.
The review reports should be accessible to the authors, but the names of reviewers will be kept anonymous.
The Program Committee will make the program based on the evaluation of Review Committee members.
b) Organized sessions
In the case of organized sessions, each paper of the session should follow the same process as individual papers. There should be a separate session proposal, which should also be evaluated in the same manner. When the session proposal is interdisciplinary, the proposal should be submitted to the Review Committee chair. The responsibility to evaluate the session is on the Review Committee member (or chair) who received the session proposal. The evaluation will be based on the review
Differences from the "DiGRA Review Process"
There are three significant differences:
1. The author takes the primary responsibility to choose an appropriate Review Committee member, whose role is similar to the editor in an academic journal. This prevents mismatch of the paper and reviewers because the author of the paper should know who is the best qualified scholar among the Review Committee members to evaluate the paper (otherwise, that author is not worthy of presenting at DiGRA). In the review process suggested in the "DiGRA Review Process," there are double chances of mismatches. First, a thematic chair might be not completely appropriate to review papers in that thematic genre. Because one thematic category can have a wide range of topics, the thematic chair might not cover all. Second, since there are always possible gaps between thematic categories set by DiGRA and actual topics of the papers, one paper might not completely be judged within one given thematic category.
2. One thematic category (or thematic focus in this document) is not necessarily represented by one thematic chair. Thematic foci are categories more for the convenience of organizing a program without allocating the same time slots to sessions that are likely to have same audience. As stated above, it is not always the case that one scholar can cover all the relevant topics within one thematic category (or focus). Or, in some cases, one scholar can command multiple topics over different thematic categories (or foci). In these cases, it is inappropriate to bind one scholar to one thematic topic.
3. The Review Committee and the Program Committee are separated, whereas in "DiGRA Review Process, there is no independent "Review Committee." The Review Committee should carry out evaluation of papers as thoroughly as possible. It should mobilize as many qualified scholars as possible in order to be prepared to evaluate adequately papers in any genre. The Review Committee Chair should recruit at least 8 to 10 scholars. The Program Committee needs to compile the final program as a team. The program of the conference needs to be coherent and consistent to the theme of the Conference ("Situated Play). Therefore, the size of the Committee should be as small as possible in order to facilitate communication and consensus building among the members. Since the role of the Review Committee and the Program Committee are so different, they need to be separated.