The Journal of Peer Production - New perspectives on the implications of peer production for social change New perspectives on the implications of peer production for social change
Reviews (In situ, 3D printed heritage souvenirs) image

Review A

Reviewer: Anonymous

The paper I feel lacks any firm research questions. The lack of clarity on the aim of the research in terms of what it set out to answer or investigate makes it difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions about the work.

The layout of the paper is vague and at sometimes difficult to navigate as it jumps from one topic or theory to the next with no indication as to the relevance or significance for the change in discussion. It could be strengthened simply by some sub headings for sections and some introductory text that leads into each section and sub section.

There are a lot of un substantiated claims in the text. The conjecture about the opportunities that 3D printing offers could be easily referenced as there is a lot of literature on this topic. A good honest proof read should highlight these claims without reference.

For example, the paper claims:

“The expansion of 3D printing technologies and open access digital fabrication facilities create further opportunities for personalisation, creativity and prosumption.” How is this evidenced?

Again: “The ability of the visitor to simply interact with the making process of 3D printing, through colour choices, scales and addition of inscription in addition to the occasional flaws and imperfections in the printing process can lead to the additional experience of serendipity, often experienced by skilled makers.”

Is there some evidence from the study to back this up and what is significant about it?

There are some inconsistencies in terms, for example makerspaces and Maker Spaces; a good proofread will be needed to flag these up.

Paper addresses the special issues topic?

The project is set in a tourist venue and is therefore relevant for the issue. It does not really draw any insight about what it means to position a maker space in an institution and how the tensions and ideologies of the two play out. There is some indication but this could be foregrounded, if this is one of the questions for the project. This is one occasion where some firm questions would allow the authors to draw some insight relating to what they set out to discover.

Room for improvement in presentation?

See general comments about the paper layout.

In addition I would like to see some samples of the questions asked of participants and a more detailed description of how the participants were selected. There is some indication of the criteria for omitting certain participants but I would hope to see more detail about the limitations of the study.

Room for improvement in contribution?

The paper is missing some key literature on some of the theories touched upon in the paper. I would expect to see some theorisation of co-design and participatory design, if this is a part of the study.

There is some reference to pedagogical theory on experiential learning (Dewey), yet this seems to be presented as an important element of the research and so I would hope to see more reference to other experiential learning theories (Kolb for example).

‘Creative Tourism’ is mentioned but not expanded upon, this is again presented as a key theory for this study and so I would, expect to see more theorisation of this. As the reader I was interested to learn more about this but the paper lacked the depth.

Review B

Reviewer: Anonymous

In summary, the paper addresses an interesting, relevant topic, but it seemed somewhat unfinished to me and was partly difficult to follow.

Is the subject matter relevant?

The paper addresses a relevant subject: the authors present a qualitative study on how making practices can contribute to heritage tourism. They focus in particular on 3D-printing individualised souvenirs in cultural/heritage institutions. The societal relevance of the subject however should be made more explicit.

Is the treatment of the subject matter intellectually interesting? Are there citations or bodies of literature you think are essential to which the author has not referred?

The topic is interesting, but I got the impression that the paper still requires some work. It seemed partly unfinished, especially the section ‘Selected findings’. The introduction is partly difficult to follow, as the authors try to cover too many aspects at ones: research collaboration, funding, definitions/key concepts, recent broader developments are all touched upon in one long introductory paragraph. The structure of the paper overall seems okay, but transitions between different sections are missing. The latter would be especially helpful in the literature review part. The literature review jumps back and forth between literature on making and souvenirs as well as engagement and learning. It is not always clear how these sections are relevant to the analysis. Learning is just mentioned in one quote included in the ‘Selected findings’ section, but is not further explored (even though this seems in fact a very interesting point).

Are there any noticeable problems with the author’s means of validating assumptions or making judgments?

The authors start their paper with a normative assumption which seems not well substantiated and not well explained. They state: ‘This interdisciplinary project […] started with the premise that traditionally produced souvenirs are often inauthentic, mass produced, cheap, meaningless objects that are not worthy of serious consideration.’ (p. 1) Despite qualifying this by mentioning ‘often’, I still found that a somewhat generalising and questionable assumption. It is also made without any reference to previous literature – even though there seems to be some relevant literature which the authors could have drawn on; see for instance: Morgan, N., & Pritchard, A. (2005). On souvenirs and metonymy: Narratives of memory, metaphor and materiality. Tourist studies, 5(1), 29-53. Later on, the authors refer to some literature on souvenirs (p.3; also an earlier book by Morgan and Pritchard has been mentioned), but why this information has been placed at that point and how it relates to the initial assumption is not clear.

Is the article well written?

The writing is okay, though somewhat ‘sloppy’ (missing words, grammatical errors, etc.).

Are there portions of the article that you recommend be shortened, excised or expanded?

The analysis (‘Selected findings’) is too short and thus seems superficial. In contrast, the literature review is rather lengthy and structured in a way that makes it difficult to follow the authors’ arguments. It is also not always clear why they included certain information and sources and how these contribute to their analysis. The literature review includes many, extensive quotes which could be shortened and/or paraphrased.

How adequately does the paper address the special issue topic of ‘institutions and the institutionalisation’ of makerspaces, and how could the connection be improved (particularly within the three themes in the CfP)?

The discussed study is relevant to the special issue topic. The authors describe how maker practices/3D printing may contribute to the work and audience engagement of heritage institutions. In that sense, they examine how cultural institutions may incorporate making practices and tools. What is missing however is a more critical emphasis, as it was stressed in the call-for-papers. The article barely discusses any findings which could contribute to ‘[…] our understanding of dilemmas and contradictions in institutionalisation of shared machine shops’ (see CfP). Considering some of these ‘dilemmas and contradictions’ of institutionalisation might also help the authors clarify and strengthen their main argument/s. While I understand and share the authors’ enthusiasm for making practices, the analysis might be described as somewhat superficial. Moreover, I was missing a more balanced, critical perspective. This seems also related to the fact that more critical literature, on e.g. the maker movement, is missing (see for example M. Ratto’s work on critical making or Jordan, T., & Braybrooke, K. M. (2017). Genealogy, culture and technomyth: decolonizing western information technologies, from open source to the maker movement. Digital Culture and Society, 3(1): 25-46. A more critical remark is made on p. 6, but the implications of this are not spelled out.

Where is there room for improvement in the presentation and use of empirical material?

The idea for the study is very interesting, but the section ‘Selected findings’ seems quite superficial. There is no clear line of argumentation (and research question). This is noticeable in the introduction already where the authors state: ‘The findings suggest that by becoming involved in the design and “making” of souvenirs, even in the simple choice of colour or scale and witnessing the real time production, the visitor transforms from a consumer to a co-designer and co-producer of souvenir objects.’ This appears to be a rather circular statement/argument. The ‘Selected findings’ section is very short, especially compared with the extensive literature review. The authors mainly list and comment on a few quotes which have been grouped. It also ends very abruptly. In consequence, several claims which are made in conclusion seem not warranted given the thin insights presented in the ‘Selected findings’ part. At some point, the authors state that they are interested in learning, yet this aspect is not examined in the analysis (apart from being mentioned in one quote). The explanation of the research design should be revised. Several (?) surveys are mentioned, but it is not entirely clear what participants have been asked. Also interviews are mentioned, but the overall research setup remains somewhat unclear.

How else might the paper be improved so that it can make a high-quality contribution to the special issue?

The paper includes some very long sentences (see e.g. p.1 “It also evaluates […] fine art [understanding].” It is also not clear where the quote included in this (10-line) sentence ends. Abbreviations, such as AHRC, should be introduced. In general, the authors might want to consider starting the introduction by focusing on the research topic/study and then introducing the project it was part of. Too much information on different aspects of the paper is covered in the first paragraph.

I am not sure about the title, as it is very long and also content-wise possibly misleading: ‘Rethinking the heritage gift shop using attributes of a ‘maker space’ through in situ, 3D printed souvenirs’. It could be questioned to what extent setting up a 3D printer creates attributes of a makerspaces. There might be certain aspects of the research design supporting this assumption which should then be clarified. In the introduction, the authors state “It also evaluates the outcomes of disrupting, through the introduction of several traits of a peer based maker space, a heritage retail environment […].” But this point does not seem to return in the explanation of the research design and the presentation of findings.

The authors have clearly conducted an interesting, relevant study and seem enthusiastic about the research subject. The presentation of their actual findings however has been unfortunately cut short and the research design and topic are in some parts rather circuitously explained. I hope that the comments above will be useful for revising this paper, which discusses an interesting, relevant subject.

Editors’ review

Thanks again for your paper submission to the Institutions special issue of the Journal of Peer Production. We have now received the reviews, one of which has recommended ‘major revisions’ and the other ‘reject but resubmit to another issue’. We agree, however, with the reviewers that the paper does attempt to address key themes around important special issue topics (institutionalization, tourism, making in the cultural heritage industries) and so we would like to give you the chance to revise and resubmit it.

Having read the paper, we agree with reviewers’ central recommendations, namely:

  • In its current state, the paper feels unfinished and vague in form, with a lack of clarity. It unfortunately lacks several essential elements of academic pieces of this kind, such as: A guiding research question or questions to build understanding of the paper’s core themes around, a coherent section on methodology and/or relevant analytical toolkits used to gather and analyse data (for example a more detailed description on how participants were selected, or what questions were asked), an abstract to refine and summarise what is important about the research, a cohesive conceptual framework, and a deeper discussion of how your findings lead to your conclusions and analysis.
  • As a result of these omissions, we have to agree with the reviewers that at the moment, the paper lacks critical rigour in its depiction of a complicated (and currently also highly contested) topic, making it read more like a marketing sales pitch about the virtues 3D printing than a piece of academic quality with “explicit societal relevance” (Reviewer 2). An over-use of extremely long quotes stated by other researchers in the literature review, for example, instead of analysing related literatures through your own conceptual lens, makes the work look superficial – and many key points (such as related concepts about making as a form of learning ala Reviewer 2, or about pedagogical theories on experience learning ala Reviewer 1) are only hinted at instead of examined properly. Reviewer 1 suggests various key literatures on these related topics that can also be examined to give the paper more depth, such as theorizations of open and participatory design methods and their relationality to either the methodology or the conceptual lens.
  • The paper’s analysis section is also much too short and simplistic given the topics mentioned. This, combined with a profusion of pre-conceived claims and normative assumptions not backed up by external debates or literatures (such as your assertions that 3D printing is an inherently valuable process; that customization will “enliven the individual” and “allow for improved marketing communications”; that engagements with 3D printing will make visitors feel “the serendipity often experienced by skilled makers”; Reviewer 2 provides further examples of these situations), makes it seem as if the data you gathered is merely there to back up pre-determined assumptions. Both your findings and your claims need to be driven through extensive references to previous literatures.
  • Both reviewers also agree that the paper also does not currently address the special issue topic of institutionalization with enough rigour; for example, as Reviewer 1 asks, what tensions and ideologies may be present in the interplays between institution and pop-up makerspace in the Castle? This is also important to explore.

Lastly, as the journal does not have funds for professional copy-editing, we must ask that you do a last serious round of proofreading before resubmitting, as several small issues were noticed due to a general feeling that the writing appears “sloppy” (Reviewer 2) and an overall informality of wording throughout the text. For example, the conflation of quotations in your usage of Bourdieu quotes on page 1 makes its claims very unclear – the quotation does not end, and when this mistake is combined with the overwhelming use of ‘single’ quotations for both terms you feel are singular and for primary source quotes, it becomes impossible for the reader to understand where Bourdieu’s words have ended, and yours have begun. This happens many times in the paper. Other terms are also inconsistent, such as uses of “The Castle” and “3D printing” that are sometimes capitalised, and sometimes lower-cased.

Further proofreading issues include many incorrect uses of tenses; full stops coming sometimes before sources, and sometimes after; book titles not having consistent emphasis; a lack of paragraphs in the introduction; the use of “the” instead of “that” in the sentence Souvenirs may be viewed as texts the reveal meanings and events behind their production and a missing “a” in front of “sense of self” in the sentence In addition to this they are expressions of individuality, sense of self, creativity and aesthetic taste in the introduction; sentences like Entry into castle was not free which have omitted key words like “the”. Another example is the following sentence on page 5 which provides important detail about the paper’s aims: The primary aim of this study was to observe the possibilities of experiencing making with a 3D printer and customisation of the publics’ own souvenir would affect their engagement with or learning about the heritage site. The incorrect grammar and missing words in sentences like these render the points they make almost unreadable. Lastly, the JoPP requests a standardised citation format in Harvard style, so please modify the formatting of your citations and Works Cited to reflect this.

We hope this feedback, while certainly not an easy read, has been both useful and constructive; despite the edits that are necessary, we do feel the paper carries the potential to explore the data you have gathered further, so we hope you will be able to take the time to work on it some more. We would be grateful if you could explain your responses to these recommendations in a cover letter along with the revised paper.