“Critique is not a verb”: is peer review stifling the dialogue in disaster scholarship?

Ksenia Chmutina*, Wesley Cheek, Jason von Meding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: In this position piece, the authors will reflect on some of their recent experiences with the peer-review process in disaster studies and show how debate can so easily be stifled. The authors write it as a plea for healthy academic argumentative discussion and intellectual dialogue that would help all of us to refine our ideas, respect others’ ideas and learn from each other. Design/methodology/approach: The authors provide reflection on our own experiences. All the examples here are based on the anonymous (double-blinded) peer reviews that the authors have received in the past two years in response to papers submitted to disaster-related journals. Findings: The authors show that the grounds for rejection often have nothing to do with the rigour of the research but are instead based on someone's philosophy, beliefs, values or opinions that differ from that of the authors, and which undermine the peer-review process. Research limitations/implications: There is so much potential in amicable and productive disagreements, which means that we can talk together – and through this, we can learn. Yet, the debate in its purest academic sense is a rare beast in disaster scholarship – largely because opposing views do not get published. Originality/value: The authors call for ideological judgement and self-interest to be put aside when peers' work is reviewed – and for intellectual critique to be used in a productive way that would enhance rather than stifle scholarship.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal
Early online date18 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Feb 2022


  • Academic publishing
  • Disaster studies
  • Peer review


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