Resources and community for teaching physics for life sciences


Peer review of curricular materials on the Living Physics Portal

Thank you for your interest in peer review on the Living Physics Portal. The Peer-reviewed Library, coming in 2021, is the place for publication of scholarly, research-based resource packages of curricular materials for physics for the life sciences courses. The peer review process and criteria will be very similar to the rigorous standards of a peer-reviewed journal or scholarly book yielding content that is published and permanent.

We encourage your peer-reviewed contribution, and the information below will help you learn more about submitting your scholarly work to the Living Physics Portal.

What is a peer-reviewed contribution in the context of the Living Physics Portal?

The peer review process for the Living Physics Portal is based in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL), which encompasses all aspects of the teaching and learning process including formal and informal learning, mentoring and teaching. SOTL provides faculty and teachers with the opportunity to apply an inquiry methodology to their teaching by generating questions, weighing evidence, making predictions, designing curriculum, testing/implementing, adapting/revising, and communicating with the public for review, use and further development. Peer-reviewed contributions to the Living Physics Portal are founded in new knowledge or resources that advance the physics for the life sciences teaching/learning environment.

How is a Peer-reviewed Library contribution different from a Vetted or Community Library contribution?

The Living Physics Portal has three libraries: the Community Library, the Vetted Library, and the Peer-reviewed Library. Community Library contributions are not reviewed. Vetted Library contributions are reviewed by editors for overall appropriateness and usefulness, but do not undergo a thorough peer review process. Peer-reviewed Library contributions are sent to at least 2 external reviewers and undergo a thorough process of peer review similar to that for a journal article.

What are the advantages of a peer-reviewed contribution to the Living Physics Portal?

We encourage your peer-reviewed contribution to the Living Physics Portal – here are some of the many advantages:

  • Enhance your teaching: The process of reflection, testing and improving your curricular materials in order to submit them to the Peer-reviewed Library enhances your teaching, your curriculum, and your course.
  • Scholarship for your educational institution: The SOTL peer-review process encourages recognition of the scholarly work that you put into the development and testing of your curricular resource. Acceptance to the peer-reviewed permanent collection requires evidence of educational scholarship equivalent to publication in a peer-reviewed journal. This is especially helpful to faculty in non-research based or teaching universities that require scholarship for tenure and promotion.
  • AAPT recognition of scholarly work: The American Association of Physics Teachers recognizes contributions to the Peer-reviewed Library with the same weight of rigor and scholarship as a peer-reviewed article in the American Journal of Physics or The Physics Teacher.

What will I need to submit for a peer-reviewed contribution?

A peer-reviewed contribution to the Living Physics Portal encompasses a well-established set of educational materials that have been iteratively developed and tested, and are eligible for a rigorous peer review. The required elements are: 1) a well-established curricular resource; 2) a research narrative written by the author/developer; 3) a complete instructor’s guide.

Here is a little more information on these three required components for a contribution to the Peer-reviewed Library on the Living Physics Portal (additional details will be given as you submit your resource):

  • A well-established curricular resource: A vetted, tested, curricular resource that employs appropriate pedagogical techniques for the course and students, adds to the scholarship of teaching and learning in its field, and can be used by others.
  • A research narrative written by the author/developer: Normally 2 – 4 pages in length, this is a flexible narrative of the research you have conducted around your curricular resource. In the narrative you will explain the educational scholarship you conducted by giving a brief overview of related literature, describing the development and evaluation of the curricular resource, and describing your assessment measures and results and how they are matched to learning goals/objectives.
  • A complete instructor’s guide for your curricular resource: Normally 1 – 3 pages in length, this is a detailed guide to help other instructors use your materials. You will include a brief biography that addresses your expertise as it applies to the curricular material, clearly define your target population, state the purpose of the research, your educational goals and objectives and how the curricular material assesses the goals/objectives, a list of the files for your curricular resource, and essential implementation elements so that the curricular resource can be adopted by others, e.g. pre-requisite content, materials, time to implement, preparation, pitfalls/ limitations, tips for success, and ideas for improving/expanding the material. This is a critical element of the peer-review process.

How does the peer-reviewed contribution process work?

First, an editor will review your contribution to make sure it meets the scholarly standards for peer-reviewed contributions to the Living Physics Portal. The editor will then give your contribution to the peer reviewers. The Living Physics Portal employs a single-blind peer review process, where the identity of the peer reviewer is kept from the authors/developers of the curricular resource. The peer reviewer will complete a report on the strengths and weaknesses of the submitted materials, of the contributions to the field, and any specific recommendations for modification of the research narrative, the instructor guide or the curricular resource. Based on this review, the peer reviewer will recommend accept, accept with modifications, or not accept the curricular resource to the Peer-reviewed Library.

How can I learn more and/or give feedback on the peer review process for the Living Physics Portal?

If you would like to talk to an editor and/or give us feedback on how the peer review process should work on the Living Physics Portal, please contact us.