All entries for January 2021

January 19, 2021

Top of the Exchanges Scholarly Pops 2020

Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/

Last year might already feel a long time ago, which given the events it witnessed, might not be a bad thing. However, we’re not quite done looking back over what 2020 had for us here at Exchanges. Hence, once again, we’re delighted to bring you the top 10 articles based on the number of times they were downloaded by readers over the past calendar year. It’s notable looking at the table below, that while articles with a greater deal of maturity show up as retaining their popularity, many of the top articles last year were taken from three volumes of Exchanges we published in 2020. It’s especially wonderful to see that our number one article comes from our celebrated special issue from last January!

Rank

Article

Issue

2019

1

‘Funeral Baked Meats’

v7(2)

NE

2

From the Advent of Multiculturalism to the Elision of Race: The Representation of Race Relations in Disney Animated Features (1995-2009)

v2(1)

#3

3

Academic Fraud

v7(3)

NE

4

Myths of Male Same-Sex Love in the Art of the Italian Renaissance

v3(1)

#2

5

Tokens, Writing and (Ac)counting: A Conversation with Denise Schmandt-Besserat and Bill Maurer

v5(1)

#1

6

Participatory Development: A Tool of Pedagogy

v4(1)

#6

7

Consuming and Being Consumed

v7(2)

NE

8

'A kiss is the beginning of cannibalism'

v7(2)

NE

9

Forêt de Guerre: Natural remembrances of the Great War

v1(1)

NE

10

Global Environmental Liability: Multinational Corporations under Scrutiny

v1(2)

#4

Our thanks to all our authors, not only those who appear in this chart, and here’s hoping our various issues this year contain some pieces which similarly climb to the heights in the 2021 charts. For contrast, you might like to see what were the top articles in 2019 in my post from a year ago too.


January 14, 2021

New Blog Post: In Conversation with Dr Filippo Cervelli & Dr Ben Schaper

Writing about web page https://anchor.fm/exchangesias/episodes/The-Cultural-Representations-of-Nerds--in-Conversation-with-Dr-Filippo-Cervelli--Dr-Ben-Schaper-eov96l

As we move into 2021, we return with new episodes of The Exchanges Discourse podcast. In our first episode this year I'm joined by two guests, in a session recorded just before Christmas. Please do listen and let me know what you think.

The Cultural Representations of Nerds – in Conversation with Dr Filippo Cervelli & Dr Ben Schaper

'In this episode recorded at the end of 2020 we are joined by Dr Schaper and Dr Cervelli two scholars who’ve been working for the journal for the past year on a special issue. Reflecting on their experiences of involvement with Exchanges, the pair also discuss the background and motivations for the issue. Finally, they also share some advice for first-time academic authors. The related event and issue will be appearing, later in 2021.'

Suggestions for future guests or episode themes, more than welcome.


Getting Published: PG Tips Workshop

I had the pleasure this week (Tue 12th) to participate in my first teaching/seminar of the year. I had been invited, alongside my wonderful library colleague Julie Robinson, to participate in a 45 minute panel discussion for Warwick post-graduate students on the topic of ‘getting published’. Seasoned academic authors will likely realise 45 minutes is way too short a time to cover a great deal on this topic, but in the end, it seemed like we managed to pack a lot of content in what was a highly interactive and engaging session. So engaging, in fact, that we ran on for an extra 15 minutes or so due to popular demand.

Now, that’s the kind of session I like to deliver!

Thanks to David Richardson who hosted, we captured audience questions during the session. As a result, I thought it might be worth highlighting a few of the most salient ones and my responses as they refer to particularly apply to Exchanges.

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Q: If I wanted to submit an article to Exchanges, would it be better to submit an abstract or the full paper already?

A: Very much the author’s personal choice. As a journal we don’t expect, unless part of a specific call requirement, authors to send us pre-submission abstracts or draft versions of their papers. Some choose to do so, and I’m always happy to provide some feedback and guidance at this stage, although I’ll hold off any fulsome critique until the final manuscript is submitted. Likewise, I’m always happy to schedule a video-call to talk through an author’s ideas for their paper, if they might find that helpful. On the whole though, the bulk of our submissions are the full paper manuscript, received without any prior conversation or engagement with the author: which is perfectly fine too.

Q: What are the most important elements that should be in abstract if the journal you are targeting is only allowing you to submit an abstract rather than the whole paper?

A: There’s a lot written online and by other authors on this subject, I personally like Rowena Murray or Helen Sword’s writing on this topic and would advocate seeking out their work. However, in brief, the abstract should be the article in miniature, containing the key ideas or arguments, along with a taste of the most significant finding or conclusion. What it should do is whet the appetite of the reader, from your prospective editor to the wider academic community, and draw them in to want to read (or accept for consideration) your paper. The abstract should also closely resonate with your paper’s text, with each abstract line approximating an introductory sentence within the article itself. This provides essential structure and signposting to guide the reader through your writing, methodology, methods, arguments, findings and conclusions in a structured and more readily comprehensible manner.

Q: Do you have any advice about how to choose the journal to publish in?

A: Aside from suggesting you consider a wonderful, friendly and highly early-career author focussed title like Exchanges I would suggest thinking about:
(1) Who are your audience and what titles are they reading?
(2) Where are your peers/supervisor publishing?
(3) Consider, but don’t be a slave to, journal metrics/impact factors etc – although be wary as ‘significant journals’ are more likely to reject your submission.
(4) Do you know or have contacts with any editors? Knowing someone will be receptive to discussing your submission can be a big help in choosing your destination.
(5) Especially for a first paper, consider seeking out early-career specialising journals. They may be more forgiving of initial errors, formatting oversights or typographical errors than some of the more core/mainstream titles.

Q: How different should a journal [article] drawn from thesis or dissertation work be?

A: This is a common and understandable issue for first time authors. An article manuscript needs to be its own discrete and contextual entity, with a slightly different authorial voice than you would likely use within your thesis/dissertation. Especially too, where you’re adapting a chapter, you need to ensure the piece can stand entirely on its own legs, supported naturally by appropriate citation. You might even need to consider simplifying the work, because there may be too many contrasting central ideas or themes in your original text to coherently present in your article. You should also consider adopting the style/voice of other pieces which appear in your chosen target journal or field, to enhance your chance of acceptance.

Q: How does one go about proposing a special issue to Exchanges or working with/for this journal as an editor?

A: As to the first part, I’d recommend listening to our recent podcast on exactly this topic. Then coming and having a chat with myself as editor-in-chief about the idea. One thing to bear in mind, we have a lead time of at least 12 months from initiation of special issue to publication, so this isn’t going to be something we can achieve overnight. There’ll also be some expectation of work from the proposer to bring the issue to publication too, part of which may well be involvement as an associate editor. We do issue periodic calls for associate editors, usually via our twitter account (@ExchangesIAS) and the journal's announcement pages - so you should follow and visit these periodically.

Q: What are the main outcomes after articles are peer-reviewed? Are articles rejected by journal editors when reviewers actually suggested major corrections?

A: At Exchanges we have four major post-review outcome: acceptance (rare!), revisions requested and then acceptance (most), additional reviews (occasional) or decline (aka reject). Hence, usually after peer-review there will be a period of revision and rewriting by the author, and in the case of where there are major (extensive) revisions requested by the editor, the piece may need to undergo a further round of peer-review, and minor corrections ahead of acceptance for publication. Different journals will handle these post-review steps slightly differently, indeed some take ‘major revisions’ to equate to reject and request the author work on them for a future resubmission. Read their author guidance to find out how it works for each specific journal/publisher.

Q: Is it better for your cv and career to publish with your supervisor or independently?

A: This varies enormously and is often affected by discipline. STEM authors are often members of team projects, and frequently only publish as one of a number of authors, with sole-authored works rare. Conversely, AHSS scholars often are lone or at most pairs of authors. That said, if you have a good working relationship with your supervisor, it can be a really great learning experience to co-author a paper with them. Just remember, just because they’re your supervisor, if you’re doing most of the writing, be prepared to insist on being the first named author on the work! You may find though, that co-authoring a paper with an established author like your supervisor might make it easier to publish in a ‘higher’ ranked journal…but there are not guarantees, and I’ve heard of many supervisors who are busy/get distracted and don’t come through on their contribution to an article: so approach, with caution!

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These are only a handful of the topics we touched on in the session, hence if you have questions of your own about publishing, and especially in Exchanges, then please leave a comment or get in touch with me. I look forward to talking more about this fascinating, and essential, area of academic development.


January 06, 2021

Looking Backwards Before Moving Forward

Welcome to 2021, and the first of this year’s blog posts. As is somewhat traditional to be in a reflective mood at the beginning of a new year, I thought it would be useful to take a look back at preceding 12 months as they relate to the Exchanges journal and highlight some of the developments and occurrences we experienced and enjoyed.

January

The year began with a glorious triumph! In what was arguably our biggest innovation since we launched, we saw the publication of our very first special issue, entitled Cannibalism. Packed full of intriguing, challenging and thought-provoking articles, it also represented the culmination of over 12 months of effort behind the scenes by the Board and our associate editors. We produced a few promotional copies in print too, just to appreciate quite how ‘meaty’ an issue it was. These were intended to be used to publicise the journal at lectures, meetings and conferences during the year, although sadly global events would transpire against us.

February

The next month began on a continued high note, as associate editors gathered at the IAS’ offices to celebrate and reflect on the lessons drawn from preparing the special issue. It was clear from the discussions here there was more to unpick here than a casual conversation would reveal. So, ever the ethnographer at heart, I engaged in some semi-structed ‘exit’ interviews with the team. The hope was these interviews would help us better understand what the associate editors had learned, but also help clarify any of the unanticipated challenges they met along the way. In this way, we could reshape the training and support offered for future cohorts, while also allowing me to pass along my personal thanks to each member of the team. The outcomes from these interviews would also inform a planned conference paper in April, although as the next month arrived, it became clearer that our plans for 2020 were going to need to be significantly restructured.

March

As we moved into the third month of the year, it had rapidly become clear to me and the journal team, as it had to people around the world, that ‘business as usual’ was about to take a back seat to more pressing concerns. However, there was some positive news at the start of March, for while we were bidding farewell to some of our associate editors, we also welcomed two new Board members from CY Cergy Paris Université in the persons of Dr Guilherme Sampaio and Dr Salvatore Monteleone. Nevertheless, with the onset of lockdown in the UK, things drastically changed for Exchanges as I bid a regretful farewell to my campus office and relocated to my home one for the duration. Sadly, my planned Article in an Afternoon workshop scheduled for the end of the month was a casualty of the enforced shift to remote-working. While I hope to revisit, rework or represent this workshop eventually, finding time to reconfigure it for online delivery was less of a priority than supporting our editors and contributors as their working environments shifted drastically.

April

As the unprecedented, distanced summer term began, there was a least one piece of normality among the uncertainty. The IAS welcomed its latest batch of early career fellows in an online event, within which Exchanges took its regular slot, albeit slightly hampered by technical issues. Thankfully, your editor-in-chief had planned ahead and prepared a pre-recorded video to introduce the journal in place of a live broadcast! Nevertheless, it was a happy event, among an unseasonably gloomy month. Normally, April sees the publication of the regular issue of the journal, but it became readily apparent that we were lacking in sufficient publication-ready content for the issue, and so the decision was taken to push to the issue back to later in the year. Not a choice taken lightly, but an understandable one as we heard about the impacts from Covid and the varied global responses were impacting on scholars’ life experiences and working habits. However, for the journal there was a positive note to end the month on as a new associate editor, Melissa Pawelski joined the editorial team.

May

Behind the scenes fevered preparations continued towards the new issue of the journal. Reviewers and authors alike were encouraged by the editorial team, although ever sympathetic to the diverse and challenging environments each contributor now found themselves operating within. However, the space provided by the delayed publication and the diminished physical interaction with scholars finally saw me drive forward on a long considered but as yet unrealised project of creating a companion podcast series for the journal. The Exchanges Discourse therefore launched in early May with two inaugural episodes. As might be expected, these were themed around an introduction to the journal and our mission, and then an overview of the types of material the journal would normally consider for publication. I was delighted how the podcast and initial episodes were very warmly received by the IAS and our contributor community. As a result, awe pressed forward with developing the format and content for planned future episodes, something which continues to this day. Although, the efforts on The Exchanges Discourse may serve to explain why there were slightly fewer blog posts produced here last year!

June

As summer arrived, we finally rolled out the delayed but much anticipated latest issue of Exchanges (Vol.7 No.3). While the Covid-related delay to its production had been frustrating for the editorial team, and some of the authors too, we were naturally delighted by how enthusiastically the issue was received across the readership. After the extra effort of for the first time of coordinating an issue’s production entirely at a distance, the whole team took a moment to celebrate a job well done. Trying to avoid falling into the trap of so many ‘pandemic themed calls’, the issue also incorporated a new call for manuscript submissions on the broader and hopefully more uplifting theme of challenge and opportunity. Alongside the new issue, we also rolled out our third podcast episode, on the timely theme of Having your Manuscript Declined, & How to Avoid It: a topic evergreen in my mind and editorial labours.

July

The early summer continued to be a rich time for new episodes of The Exchanges Discourse, as we published two more this month. The first out of the gate was our premier guest interview episode, which saw Pierre Botcherby in discussion about the development of the Then & Now: Art Student Experiences journal special issue. As a new style, and one which increased the diversity of voices on the podcast by 50%, we were thrilled by the successful creation and release of the episode. This release was followed up by the first of our reflective podcast episodes, where we took a look back at the most recently published issue of the journal, highlighting the articles within it. July was also a month where the first of a series of regular video conference calls with the Editorial Board took place, to offer support and advice, as well as discuss forthcoming developments with the journal. Alongside providing some peer-to-peer support with the difficult working conditions within which we all found ourselves.

August

Normally a quiet month for the journal, with many of the team and contributors taking a well-earned break. As a result, perhaps the most significant event in August took place almost unnoticed by our contributing and reader communities, but for the editorial team was a most welcome occurrence. A long-planned update to the underlying OJS platform on which Exchanges runs was introduced, which added some much-desired new functionalities alongside squishing the odd glitch here and there. That the introduction of the new version of the platform passed by quietly in the background is a testimony to the hard work and professionalism of the Library Scholarly Communications team in preparing for and executing the upgrade.

September

Another editorial team meeting was held during September, to pick up the various threads of development and support needed across the Board. Chief among these were reviewing our progress against plan on each of our various special issues under development. Originally, September was to see the publication of our Cli-Fi special issue, but the Covid curse meant the Board and issue leads mutually agreed to push this back by four months to early 2021. Nevertheless, editors, reviewers and authors alike continued to work on this, and other contributions, behind the scenes, as we moved towards the start of the new academic session.

October

After a pause the previous month for myself to catch up on regular editorial work, the new academic year brought with it two new episodes of the podcast. The first provided a potted guide on the considerations and best approach to initiating a special issue of the journal, inspired by conversations with our various issue leads. The second was another of our increasingly popular guest episodes, with Ioana Vrabiescu in conversation with myself about her publishing experiences and providing some advice to first time authors. Meanwhile, October saw us welcome another new cohort of early career fellows to the IAS, with this time Exchanges much more successfully being able to engage with them during their induction event. This induction event was followed the next week by an ‘Ask me anything’ session (AMA) hosted by myself for the fellows, giving them the opportunity to enquire about Exchanges and how we relate to their researcher development experience. It was a highly successful new format and a highly energised session, and hence will be one we’ll be repeating in future Accolade slots for Exchanges related content, even once we’re all back together physically once again.

What was a busy, busy month for myself and the journal was capped by the publication of Vol. 8 No.1 of Exchanges, to much relief on the part of the editorial team, and much delight on behalf of the readership and contributors. The issue included our new thematic call for papers A.I. Panic or Panacea? It was to be a theme which generated a flurry of discussions and emails from potential authors, so I’m hopeful we’ll be seeing some excellent papers relating to it.

November

There was though, no time to rest on our laurels as we headed into the final months of the year. For November, the undoubtable headline event saw me speaking about the journal and the outcomes from our associate editors programme at the prestigious international Munin Conference on Scholarly Communication in Norway. Sadly, the pandemic meant that rather than a trip to the most northerly university in the world, I spoke from my home office. Conversely though, the conference experience generated more than a little new interest in Exchanges and our work, which was a very exciting outcome. You can watch my entire talk online, if you missed the opportunity of attending the conference.

During November we also took the time to produce two further episodes of The Exchanges Discourse. The first, was a reflective look back at the recently published issue. The second by contrast introduced another new format for the podcast, with our first foray into having authors present an oral version of their article’s abstract. If this wasn’t enough activity for one month, we also hosted the final Editorial Board online meeting of the year, bringing together my team together from across at least 4 different time-zones and several thousand miles. A tip of my hat especially for my Australian colleagues for joining us at what was a late hour of the day for them.

December

Publicly the year ended what was probably a relatively quietly note. Although behind the scenes there was a lot of work going on towards the volumes of the journal planned for 2021. Training was held for two incoming associate editors, Josh Patel and Pierre Botcherby for one. It was also a month where I seemed to be very busy interviewing academics about their publishing experiences for the Exchanges Discourse podcast, with two new episodes coming out just before the Christmas break featuring Dr Julia Gauly and another with Isabelle Heyerick. Clearly, looking at the healthy listener figures for these episodes, they were either highly engaging, or scholars found themselves with more time to listen as the year ended. It was notable the statistics for all episodes of podcast went up during December, so perhaps a little of both reasons. A further episode was also recorded, but with the encroaching Christmas shut-down period, it was held back from release until early 2021. For me though, the last event of the year was a discussion with some scholars in the Netherlands about an open access project of potential interest to the journal. A fine way to cap off a strange and unexpectedly eventful working year on a note of authentic positivity.

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So, that was Exchanges’ 2020 – and what’s ahead for 2021? More special issues being published, more regular issues too that’s for certain, as are more podcast episodes. I’m hopeful we’ll be opening the books to recruit some new editors and associate editors in the coming months, alongside contributing to a few conferences, workshops and forums in a professional capacity. We’ll also be quietly celebrating three years of the title under my stewardship, albeit at in a respectably socially-distanced manner, around Easter time. I do hope you’ll be at least joining us as a reader or may even be moved to contribute to a future issue. We are certainly looking forward to many, many new interactions with scholars old and new throughout the next year: via the blog, podcast, twitter, email or video-call. However, you approach us, know there’ll be a warm welcome!


January 2021

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