All entries for February 2020

February 10, 2020

Fun with Metrics

Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/issue/view/27

Today I’ve been having a quick exploration of the numbers around the most recent couple of issues of Exchanges. Metrics are for (most) journals a hotly contested topic, with their value quantitatively established and promoted with profound pride by editors and publishers alike. Regular readers of this blog will be aware than I’m from the qualitative school of research and have some deep ideological objections to the metrification and quantisation of academic publication, and consequential transformation in a highly fetishised quasi-market mode. Ahem. To read more on this topic, see my publications or come and have a chat with me, although I cannot promise not to get onto my soapbox!

Personally, I’d rather see the valorisation of an article through post-publication discourse in the social and public spheres, than watch the uptick of citations or downloads. However, for most of our authors and readers alike metrics and journal publications, love ‘em or loathe ‘em, are intrinsically linked. I can appreciate being able to see how people are reading the work author’s have slaved over for months, in an employment sector often detached from tangible esteem measures, can be a key personal satisfier.

As an editor-in-chief too, I confess I do get a little frisson of delight watching the download statistics slowly (and not so slowly) grow post-publication [1]. For the authors, seeing these figures climb mean people are at the very least reading their publications, although how they are using it, citing it, teaching from it, learning from it, remain to be elicited. As a journal publisher, it helps me to promote the journal as a publication destination for future authors, and to answer questions to my employers about the continued viability of the title.

In recent issues of Exchanges, we’ve shifted to include more ways within articles to recognise and identify authors, notably ORCIDs, twitter handles and biographical sketches. This means it has become easier to spot a portion of the buzz around an issue and its concomitant articles. Certainly, Vol 7.2 (Cannibalism Special Issue) has generated a highly visible amount of discussion following its publication, which I hope will continue as more people read the issue [2]. Including author twitter handles means I’m at least able to observe part of these conversations, even though monitoring discussions within departments, conferences and the like isn’t practical. I fervently hope this most exciting issue will continue to receive a suitably wide discussion, as we continue our promotional efforts over the next few weeks [3].

But back to my original point: metrics. I was curious this morning, now we’re just over 10 days post publication, to see how the issue was progressing. So, I ran some quick, back-of-the-envelope calculations to contrast v7.2’s readership numbers with the preceding issue. Here’s what I found.

Table 1: Download stats/article for the two most recent issues of Exchanges [4]

Issue V7.2 (Cannibalism) V7.1 (Regular issue)
Mean 34.2 144.9
Median 30.5 139
Min/Max 19/106 118/196
StdDev 20.1 28.9

This is by no means conclusive but these numbers suggest the level of interest in this issue is potentially above the norm for Exchanges. If this degree of reader engagement continues, it wouldn’t surprise me if after 100 days post-publication most of this issue’s articles will have developed an especially commendable download rate. Kudos to the authors, who through being associated with such a broad, critical mass of learned discourse, will be able to reap additional benefits. I’ll certainly endeavour to return down the line to see if my assumptions are being met.

Additionally, this also suggests how adopting a publication mode which embraces more special issues such as this one can be considerably beneficial to Exchanges health and longevity as well. The more readers we garner, the more likely people will cite the articles, helping enhance the title’s valorisation and recognition, which in turn encourages more submissions. As the managing EIC, right now, I couldn’t be more delighted with how all these efforts have turned out. Even if it has substantially increased my own workload!

[1] Incidentally, my own IP is masked from the stats, so it doesn’t matter how many times I open or download an article to check something, my interactions aren’t actually counted. But then, I’ve already read each article a handful of times already on its journey to publication…

[2] I’m still keen to develop post-publication commenting functions for readers and authors on our journal site, but currently, am awaiting an update to the platform before I can make any strides in this direction. If you’re one of our readers, authors or reviewers and you’d like to see article comments; drop me a line – as the more people who ask, the more I can lobby my lovely technical team to devote some time to it!

[3] Another medium-to-long-term goal is to introduce altmetrics scores for each article, to try and capture a value for how ‘talked about’ each issue is in the public domain. Watch this space for details as soon as I have them, but I can assure you, this is one of my ‘top 5’ goals for Exchanges in 2020.

[4] V7.2: 11 days post-publication, V7.1, 101 days post-publication


February 04, 2020

Special Issue on Cannibalism Published

Writing about web page https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2

I’m delighted to announce that we have published our first special issue, after a year of preparatory work behind the scenes. I couldn’t be happier with the way the issue has turned out, not least of which the fact that this is the BIGGEST ever issue we’ve published. By my calculations this issue contains 63% more peer-reviewed articles than its nearest comparator (v5.1 fact fans), and fully 38% more total pages than our previous longest issue (way back to v2.1). It’s also, incidentally, the fifth issue to come our under my stewardship, one more than any previous lead editor’s stewardship, so I’ll be basking in that minor glory for a few days at least.

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to read the special issue, I’d strongly encourage you to do so. This is a really fascinating issue, on a topic I confess I’ve given very little thought to personally, before working on the collection. Nevertheless, there are some corking pieces in there and as you’ll see in the editorial, I’ve a few favourites among them. That’s not to denigrate the other pieces, which have all passed successfully through our rigorous quality filter and are filled with fascinating insight, but rather purely personal taste.

Maybe I shouldn’t mention taste in an issue on cannibalistic issues?

Nevertheless, the next week or so will see the usual post-publication activities of promoting the issue and each article as widely as possible. For ease of viewing, here’s a table of contents (TOC) for the issue.

Shorland, A., 'Bites here and there': Literal and Metaphorical Cannibalism Across Disciplines Conference Review. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.550

Ramos-Velasquez, V.M., Anthropophagic Re-Manifesto for the Digital Age: 10th Anniversary Rendition. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.465

Frost, D., ‘Provisions being scarce and pale death drawing nigh, / They'd try to cast lots to see who should die’: The Justification of Shipwreck Cannibalism in Popular Balladry https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.459

D’Antonio, C.S., Consuming and Being Consumed: Cannibalism in the Consumerist Society of Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Edible Woman’ https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.446

Henderson, L., Anthropophagy of the Werewolf. An Eco-Feminist Analysis of Justine Larbalestier's Liar (2009). https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.402

Moran, T.F., The Camera Devoured: Cinematic Cannibalism in Pedro Costa’s Casa De Lava (1994). https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.461

Shames, D., Consumption from the Avant-Garde to the Silver Screen: Cannibalism, Fetish, and Profanation. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.466

Wheatley, M., For Fame and Fashion: The Cannibalism of Creatives in Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted (2005) and Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon (2016). https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.458

Jackson, K., Dejects and Cannibals: Postmodern Abjection in Ana Lily Amirpour's The Bad Batch. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.476

Alsop, J.S., ‘Funeral Baked Meats’: Cannibalism and Corpse Medicine in Hamlet. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.460.

Leta, M., Cannibal Basques: Magic, Cannibalism and Ethnography in the Works of Pierre de Lancre. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.408

Green, W.D., 'Such Violent Hands'. The Theme of Cannibalism and the Implications of Authorship in the 1623 Text of Titus Andronicus. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.462

Davis, H., ‘Monkey Meat’ and Metaphor in Shohei Ooka’s Fires on the Plain. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.457

De Leeuw, U., 'A kiss is the beginning of cannibalism': Julia Ducournau’s Raw and Bataillean Horror. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.463

Das, R., Haun-Maun-Khaun: A Postcolonial Reading of the Cannibals in Some Fairy Tales from Colonial Bengal. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.454

Johnson, G.J., 'But He Looked Suspiciously Well Fed': Editorial, Volume 7, Part 2. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v7i2.561

Phew. That really is quite the collection of work. And now if you’ll excuse me, I must return to catch up with the outstanding submissions for this issue, and the submissions for the next few issues of Exchanges. Safe to say, 2020 is off to a cracking start for the journal, and long may it continue.


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