Leadership and Cooperation in Academia

Leadership and Cooperation in Academia

Reflecting on the Roles and Responsibilities of University Faculty and Management

Edited by Roger Sugden, Marcela Valania and James R. Wilson

Across the world academic institutions are being questioned by their stakeholders and pressured to change. Answering these questions requires that academics and professional managers in universities think about their work, its value and organisation. The book highlights the need for space and stimulus to reflect on the responsibilities, roles and expectations that they identify for themselves, and that others place upon them – then, they might be better able to understand and to act. Similarly, policymakers and higher education commentators need the space and stimulus to reflect on the role of universities. This book will provide this space and an invaluable contribution to the stimulus.

Chapter 9: Peer review: the academic guild’s last stand or key to knowledge as a public good?

Steve Fuller

Subjects: business and management, management and universities, education, management and universities, politics and public policy, leadership


Amidst the variously lodged calls for academic inquiry to be more ‘open sourced’ and ‘publicly oriented’, it has been common for academics who either uphold or oppose the neo-liberal mode of knowledge production to agree on the inviolability of ‘peer review’ as a core academic value. Indeed, nowadays the tendency especially amongst the critics of neo-liberalism is to portray peer review, under the guise of ‘mutual accountability’, as a mark of solidarity and collective resistance against larger forces in the political economy that threaten to compromise academic freedom (Boden and Epstein 2011). From the standpoint pursued in this chapter, such an overestimation of peer review may be seen as sounding the death rattle of the academic guild mentality. As a matter of fact, the value of peer review in the larger political economy of knowledge production is rather circumscribed and typically conservative in effect. Insofar as peer review can be harnessed to some sort of progressive ends in the neo-liberal academy, it should be in full cognizance of its limitations.

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