Response-Able (Peer) Reviewing Matters in Higher Education: A Manifesto

  • Vivienne Bozalek
  • Michalinos Zembylas
  • Tamara Shefer


It matters how academic peer-reviewing processes are carried out in higher education. Written as a Manifesto, this piece proposes an ethical, intra-active and generous way to do academic reviews. This is an alternative practice to the usual method of anonymous peer-reviewing of manuscripts which is located in a tradition of critique and contestation and reflects colonialist and humanist, individualistic hegemonies in the academy. Response-able reviewing is an affirmative process of peer-reviewing manuscripts which uses a diffractive methodology of reading and writing, where alternative formulations can be made possible and where generative provocations may open spaces for new and creative insights. Such diffractive methodology of review involves care-full attentiveness, responsibility/accountability, and responsiveness in the reviewing process; it engages with the task at hand in respectful, care-full ways, paying close attention to the fine details and doing justice to the ideas expressed through dialogical engagement. The intention in this alternative practice of reviewing is of rendering each other capable, rather than attacking the scholarship of the other. Response-able reviewing is based on an ethic of care and justice, premised on a relational ontology rather than bounded individualism and competitiveness.


Academic journal articles Diffractive methodology Generative provocations Response-able peer reviewing 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vivienne Bozalek
    • 1
  • Michalinos Zembylas
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tamara Shefer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of the Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Open University of Cyprus‎NicosiaCyprus
  3. 3.Nelson Mandela UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa

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