All entries for February 2022

February 24, 2022

In Conversation with Monica Mastrantonio

Writing about web page https://open.spotify.com/show/5amW8qMjCrUihAvtBq5ChM

In the second of our new episodes of the Exchanges Discourse this month, I have another lengthy chat. This time I'm talking with our past author Prof Monica Mastrantonio, from the University of York.

In this episode I chat with visiting professor in English and Related Literature at the University of York, Monica Mastrantonio. Our initial conversation concerns her recent article in Exchanges, The Question of Time for Norbert Elias: Challenges of an interdisciplinary concept and approach towards time. As a result we discuss topics including the meaning of ‘figurational sociology’, the work of Norbert Elias and in particular how this allows us to better understand our own relationships with time. Contrasting the medieval experience with the present, Monica discusses how humanity increasingly utilises time as a framework for organising everything including the forging of interpersonal connections. We touch too on the concepts of ‘meaningful time’ and the value of diverse relationships. Moving on, our discussions move to explore Monica’s research and current publication plans, before we shift to examining some of her broader experiences in publishing. In particular, Monica shares her thoughts and advice for first time and early career authors.

This was an exciting conversation, not simply because it was our first professor on the series (!), but also because it was recorded on the same day as our previous episode - and there were some wonderful resonances between the two authors' insights. If you haven't listened yet to that episode, you might want to, after of course enjoying this all new one!


February 22, 2022

What Do I Get Out of Publishing With Exchanges? Some thoughts and ideas

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

With so many journals published today – what makes choosing to publish with Exchanges a worthwhile experience for potential authors?

It’s a good question!

Certainly, this is an existential topic I believe every editor-in-chief will probably have considered explicitly or implicitly at some point in their tenures atop the editorial tree. It’s certainly a regular point of debate I hear when talking with early career scholars or running my various academic writing workshops. It is undoubtedly a very valid question and hence well worth giving more than a few moments’ reflection in answering.

I might reconfigure it slightly to reframe the root of the enquiry as: Given there are so many (many!) journals out there for potential authors: what makes our title different, valuable and worthy of the labour in becoming one of our contributors. In essence, what makes it worth potential authors taking their hard-won, hand-crafted manuscripts and offering them up to be considered for publication in our pages than somewhere, anywhere else?

Firstly, in my perception, I should say there is no singular answer to this question which will satisfy every scholarly author. If there were, well, let’s say my job promoting the journal as a destination for quality research writings for an interdisciplinary audience would be a lot easier. However, like Soylant cola[1], the answer which satisfies differs from person to person. It is more of a matrix containing various elements which will appeal to greater or lesser degrees to different authors. I can’t claim this is a complete list either! But from my various conversations with past authors, including those on the Exchanges Discourse, along with casual and formal feedback these are the aspects which I best answer the question: what do you get out of publishing with Exchanges?

Early Career Focus: Exchanges has always aimed to not only appeal to early career authors, but also to take account of the additional support and understanding they sometimes need early in their publication career. This means not only are we willing to consider every submission we receive as a potential publication, but that our editorial team readily aim to provide support and guidance to newer authors. Alongside this, we’re more forgiving than the average journal where authors haven’t quite got our format and styles down correctly at the outset. Heck, we might event overlook a few typographical and spelling errors that can sink a paper at the first hurdle elsewhere. Why? Well, it’s because we know we’ll work on these together as the piece progresses towards, hopefully, publication.

Personal Mediation: This leads neatly to my second point, which is we are very much a journal with a human heart. What I mean here is every submission will be read, considered and progress based on a decision made by one, or more, living entities. Living entities which are willing to enter into a dialogue over your work, rather than making decisions based on metrics, or similar, numerical ‘fit’. With many top-flight titles deploying algorithm-derived selection methodologies, potentially good papers can fall because of a machine-driven evaluation. Okay, this might mean we take a *little* longer to respond, but be assured every submission will be personally considered and appraised, by the Editor-in-Chief at the very least.

Open Access: Articles need readers. It’s as true now as it has ever been, and as a diamond open access title, from our birth, that’s something we’ve always made as easy as possible. For Exchanges, there have never been any author fees to pay and all of our publications are provided without financial barrier to the readers of the world. Propagating good scholarship should not be restricted only to those with deep pockets or the ability to pay to publish. Additionally, as repeated studies have shown publishing in an open access title increases the reach, impact and citation of published work too.

Copyright Retention: Authors licence their work to be published in Exchanges as a condition of submission. But, and it’s a big but, we don’t make any claim over the exclusivity of the work once it’s published. Authors retain their moral and economic rights over their writing. Hence, you will be free to make derivative works from it, exploit it commercially or even republish it in some other organ.[2] That’s right – you get to KEEP the fruits of your own intellectual labour – do the top journals in your field let you do that?

Counter-Commercial Ideology: I won’t prolong discussions on the commercial hegemonic dominance of scholarly publishing [3], but if you, like myself, want to take a stand against this – publishing in our scholar-led, institutionally funded, diamond-OA title is an obvious route to a win. By ourselves we might not be able to ‘disrupt’ the capitalised control and commodification of the scholarly publishing sphere. Nevertheless, each article we publish is one which the commercial titles are denied! Strike a (small) blow for academic publishing freedom – publish in Exchanges!

Stable Identifiers: Okay, slight nerd alert – but every single one of Exchanges’ articles is ascribed a stable unique resource identifier – a DOI. This means you can put a link to it in your CV, on your website, on other papers and be assured access will be maintained. Even if the journal was to be (gulp) discontinued, we’ve made archival arrangements to ensure as so long as there’s an Internet, access to your paper is stable and assured. It also helps in your paper being found via search engines and other indexes too, all of which enhances its discoverability.

Funder Compliance: Exchanges is compliant with most, indeed virtual all, funder requirements for open access work – including those proposed by cOAlition S. We adhere to the international standards for openness and copyright, alongside our efforts to produce a quality-assured publication destination. This means in terms of research assessment exercises, work published in Exchanges is perfectly viable for consideration. Incidentally, if you are aware of any major funder whose mandates for open publication we don’t meet – I would be very interested in hearing about it!

Interdisciplinary Audience: Let’s talk enhanced visibility! Writing for Exchanges means your work is going to be seen and read by scholars around the globe, and not only within your own discipline. While a reader might land on one article, many like to browse the rest of the issue too. This means they can and often do serendipitously discover work they wouldn’t have otherwise considered. Given all of our readers, authors and reviewers receive a publication notification each time the journal comes out there’s a chance for hundreds, even thousands, of new scholars around the world discovering your work. All of which raises awareness of both it and yourself, and we would hope an increased chance of being cited elsewhere.

Personal Promotion: A poorly kept secret about Exchanges is how every successfully published author is invited to come on our podcast to talk about their article, research and adventures in publication. Without wanting to head off into a secondary article about the benefits of podcasting – appearing on the podcast is a great way to raise professional visibility – both for yourself as a scholar and for your published work. Alongside this, we encourage all of our authors to provide a personal mini-biography and picture alongside their article, helping readers discover more about the people behind the names. We include these specifically to enhance your personal and professional recognition among peers and potential collaborators.

Partnership: Did you know we publish special issues? Did you know each special issue came out of a collaboration between people who had published, reviewed or otherwise previously contributed to Exchanges? As a past journal contributor, you are perfectly positioned to propose some form of collaboration with the journal. Be it a special issue, conference, seminar or research project. Exchanges likes to go beyond being a destination – we’re interested in becoming your scholarly partner! Plus, if there's a need for some academic writing teaching, the Editor-in-Chief loves to talk about this subject with interested audiences too!

Scholar Led: Finally, we are robustly and defiantly scholar-led, from the top down. This means we editors are a community of scholars, many drawn from the early career ranks, who understand the trials and tribulations of academia.[4] We also appreciate the personal importance of the work each author has entrusted with us for consideration. In our own professional research capacity, we also publish and review,[5] so we know what it is like to be on the other side of the author equation. We sincerely desire to offer then an authorial publishing experience configured to operate as the kind of journal we ourselves would wish to publish in. We sincerely hope that’s the experience of our authors too, and always welcome comments on what we’ve done well, and how we could improve.

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Okay, that’s the areas which I think from a few minutes reflection make our journal one to consider. There probably are many more, and I welcome any suggestions in the comments below for other positive and attractive aspects we offer. Likewise, if there are areas we should aspire towards adopting, I am always interested in hearing about those from potential authors.

No matter what though, one thing I always remember as Exchanges’ Chief Editor is how every author has made a positive choice to try to appear in our pages. This conscious act is something we welcome, celebrate and applaud each time. Not primarily for any vainglorious reasoning because it inflates our own self-importance [6], although there is a measure of satisfaction in knowing our efforts continue to draw in new authors and their scholarship. No, it is mainly because the choice of an author to publish with us means Exchanges’ value, reputation and audience continue respected and appreciated by members of our potential author community old and new.

We were created to offer a route to propagate new and emerging scholars’ voices within an ongoing interdisciplinary dialogue. That people continue to choose to contribute to this – means we must be doing something right.

Although, there are always new things we can learn to make things better!

--

[1] See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0zwOf4JAmk

[2] Subject of course to whomever is publishing this second time’s own rules on prior publication and originality. Read the author guidance for the title or publisher, or ask their editor for more details. You will need to give us a link-back though to the Exchanges article 😊

[3] Read my thesis and published works for more on my distaste for this aspect of the field.

[4] And real-life travails and challenges too. See the note on our shared ‘human’ approach above.

[5] Some of us more than others. I know I’m long overdue a few articles or a book or two elsewhere…

[6] We are after all, a small fish in a very, very large pond. But there is a marked satisfaction I cannot deny.


February 18, 2022

In Conversation with Huayi Huang

Writing about web page https://open.spotify.com/show/5amW8qMjCrUihAvtBq5ChM

This past month has seen the launch of two new episodes of the Exchanges Discourse companion podcast series chatting with past authors about their lives, work and publishing activities. The first, that with Elloit Cardozo, I highlighted in an earlier post. This time I’m pleased to bring you our next episode, an extended episode with Huayi Huang of the University of Edinburgh, UK.

In this podcast episode Huayi and myself discuss the concepts of routine dynamics, alongside offering some insight into the roles of early career researchers in society. As always, I also ask my guest to offer their personal insights and suggestions into publishing which are specifically tailored to be of interest to post-graduate and early career researchers.

Behind the scenes this was probably the longest recording I’ve done with one of our authors. What you tragically don’t get as part of the recording was the twenty minutes or so Huayi and I continued talking about issues of career development and the academy from an early career researcher’s perspective. Perhaps a shame to lose this content, but with such a generous guest as Huayi, I’d hope to invite him back to appear on a future episode I’m slowly fermenting in my head.

More on that as and when I get it off the ground. In the meantime, enjoy this new podcast episode – and I’ll hopefully be back in the next week or so with the next episode of the Exchanges Discourse – already recorded, but now just in need of post-production polishing!


February 01, 2022

In Conversation with Elloit Cardozo

Writing about web page https://open.spotify.com/episode/2DuQiVJGLoGmpms13QC8R1?si=STWSEzmdSTmkOxkyWsAWyg

And here's the second new episode of the podcast, with the last of our 2021 recorded sessions with past authors. An interesting discussion as we get into issues around setting up a special issue as well as the usual thoughts around the author's research and publication activities too.

In Conversation with Elloit Cardozo [14m 01s]

In this episode Elloit Cardozo talks about his research activities, especially as they relating to his recent paper ‘The Sagacity of Words’: Gandhi and 21st Century Hip Hop. Elloit discusses how the paper was partly inspired from desires to provide an easier route for younger school and university students to gain a greater understanding of the life and times of Gandhi. While deploying an analytical lens empowered through Hip-Hop music might seem an unusual approach to some readers, Elloit explores how it offered him a fresh and exciting way to explore the topic. Elloit also takes us into his current publishing plans, and how The Big Lebowski factors into them, before finishing by offering advice to other early career researchers looking towards publishing their first paper.

My thanks to Elloit for chatting with me, and please do share this episode with anyone you think might be interested.

I'll be recording two new episodes of the podcast with past authors next week, so there's plenty more audio content coming your way this February!


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