All entries for March 2022
March 25, 2022
Following on from my blog post a few weeks ago, I've rolled out a new episode of our Exchanges Discoursepodcast dedicated to that perennial and titular question from authors. If your eyes blurred slightly trying to read through my earlier post, this is easily the most digestible way you can hear about some of the highlights of the journal.
Of course, if you really want to know what authors get out from publishing with us - listen to the earlier episodes and you'll hear all sorts of different points of view, direct from the source! While I've tried to represent them as much as possible in this episode, naturally they'll probably sound much better coming from our authentic author community!
Past Exchanges Discourse episodes are available wherever good podcasts are hosted - search for it by name!
March 24, 2022
Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/announcement/view/35
A legacy piece of vital information gets a brand new 2022 hat, as our Editor-in-Chief updates our open call for information.
Today I got around to handling a task which has been pending for a little while: revising the text of our open call for papers. I know from experience how some of our authors come direct to our submissions page when they want to find out more, and that’s great. On the other-hand though, I’m aware more than a few prospective authors look towards the journal’s front page, especially our announcements section, when they are looking for news or information about the types of work our title likes to receive. As a result, the announcements section has long been the perfect additional location place to host this kind of vital information on Exchanges.
Now, the prior version of the text was, admittedly, getting a little long in the tooth given how I originally wrote it back in May 2020. Since that time, I have also probably adapted, reworked and reused this same block of text in the pages of each issue's editorial too, so there has been a sort of second life for the material. Nevertheless, I decided rather than drawing on these 'child' versions, writing from fresh about the kinds of manuscripts we like to receive for the journal seemed a better option. Certainly, coming at it from a fresh angle felt a superior route in terms of clarifying a few further issues for our authors.
I also took the chance to add in a new nugget of information that our most recent version of OJS makes possible: acceptance and rejection rates. Before the January update if I wanted to generate this kind of information on the fly, I would have to do considerable amounts of manual processing. Now though, it is possible to generate this kind of statistical information - along with other useful stuff too - in an instant. I can even specify a particular date range. Which means should I, for example, want to see how my own tenure as chief editor ranks alongside those who came before, in terms of our quality bar, it is now the matter of a moment’s work.
For the record since 2018 our acceptance rate for publication has been 55% of all submissions. Which, given the reaction I've had from a few people I shared it with over the last week or so, seems to be a reasonable figure for our kind of title. Doubtless, I'll probably find time to delve into this statistics module a little more deeply over the coming months, and maybe return to reflect on what I find here as well.
For more information on submitting to Exchanges, or about the journal in general, contact Editor-in-Chief, Dr Gareth J Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
March 10, 2022
With a little more time on his hands at last, the editor takes a wander through his technical and platform wish-list to assess how things have changed over the past few years.
Today I’ve been taking the time to review, reformat and refresh my technical wish-list for Exchanges. It’s been a veritable stroll down memory lane as this was originally one of the earliest documents I drew up when I first came into post. My intentions at the time were to clarify, in my own head at least, those aspects of the title where I thought it was lacking and could benefit from some upgrading. Some of the early comments to myself are perhaps a little naive, a few apposite and even fewer maybe even a smidge visionary .
Today, I will confess this is not a document I’ve had too much time to much work on over the past couple of years. Certainly, since early 2020 keeping all of the routine journal plates/wheels/cogs  etc., spinning has taken a goodly chunk of my time. Glancing at my document control notes, it seems the last time I did any updating was way back in the early summer of 2021. Now I’m blessed (huzzah – thank you lovely IAS!) with a little more time to devote to the journal, it seems only right and fitting that I return to a guiding document too long neglected.
Reading through it, through and completely, for the first time in years, numerous elements of I was once keen to implement on the journal have changed in status when viewed through the lens of today. In fact, I can reclassify them in one of three different ways. Firstly, for a lucky few they’ve actually been implemented, sometimes as the result of a platform update or a policy change, and occasionally through direct action by myself or the lovely technical team. These are easily most gratifying to spot, as it demonstrates how Exchanges today, is no longer the Exchanges I took on back in 2018.
Secondly there are those, after taking account of the journals evolving policy and practice direction, or indeed developments in the wider scholarly publishing world, are no longer relevant. Indeed, it is possible to observe a divergence from what I thought would be crucial back then, to today when they are no longer of great import or relevance. In some cases, it isn’t that they’re no longer of any value, but in contrast to other, more salient and pressing priorities, they simply aren’t worth devoting any time towards. After all, all those various spinning objects haven’t entirely retreated into the distance thanks to my longer hours! And so, with no guilt, they can be moved to the deprioritised pile.
The third category though, these are those developmental and aspirational goals I had for the journal which still continue to burn brightly in my mind. True, a fair number of these pending developments will be subject to a long conversation with our platform hosts at Warwick in order to achieve. Certainly, with the way our host and platform are configured there aren’t simple things which I could move forward on alone. For example they may have implications for the other titles hosted on Warwick University Press Journals, so can’t be adopted in isolation, no matter how much Exchanges might desire them . A few more though, these are wish-list items which require action beyond the confines of Warwick alone.
These are those aspects which require pressure being brought to bear on external actors. Again, we are but one small open-access journal in a sea of hundreds of thousands, which means it would be unlikely I’d be able to make much headway on achieving these goals alone. I had hoped the local journals family would be a good source of collective agency, but in the last year with various staffing moves and changes the coherency of this group has rather evaporated. Just as it was finally getting up steam too - if mixing steam with evaporation isn’t too strained a metaphor to adopt here!
Then we come to the last few items, and this is where I can feel myself getting a little more excited. Why? Well, because these are things I can, resplendent in my additional weekly hours, begin to make some degree of ingress on. Tease that I am , I’m won’t share details of these our potentially achievable aspirations, but I can reveal one of them concerns our journal audience’s interests. For now, I’ll say no more, but would strongly suggest you keep an eye on the editorial coming out in the next issue of Exchanges for a few minor revelations in this respect.
I am pleased, in closing though, to note that while there is but a single, minor, niggle unresolved but scheduled for swift action over the coming weeks by our tech team. The rest of the platform issues we’ve experienced over the years – all thankfully relegated to the ‘completed’ column. That, in the very least, is bringing me some measure of satisfaction in reading through my wish list today. Not to mention, reminding me of how grateful I am to our tech team for their ongoing work behind the scenes.
 Scarily so – I would have to do a lot of policy and process work to make them work, even if the platform supported them!
 Insert your preferred circular linguistic contrivance here
 Mutter, mutter, commericial indexes, mutter
 You’d probably be horrified by how ungrammatical some of these notes were if I did.
March 03, 2022
Writing about web page https://anchor.fm/exchangesias
Lovely to hear back from one of our recent Exchanges Discourse podcast guests that their episode's been getting a lot of traction among their peers and colleagues.
'Just thought I'd share that this podcast [episode] received one of the most views on my LinkedIn page after I posted it on my feed'
I will confess our two recent episodes were among some of the most enjoyable and informative it's been my pleasure to host. Possibly slightly due to the fact that I've reworked the questioning structure that we use to shape each show, but mainly I would agree due to the generosity and sparkle of our guests themselves. Fingers crossed our future guests can keep this high standard up!
On the back of these recordings going live though, I decided the time was due for a light refresh of the podcast's branding. We've had the same default logo based on the cover of an old issue of Exchanges since we launched in mid-2020. I had also been reading an article from our hosting site about improving your podcast's impact with its audience by keeping your descriptive text brief, on point and engaging. So in case you hadn't had a chance yet to visit us yet - here's what the new logo looks like.
Click on it to visit the podcast site and you'll be able to read the updated mission statement/description too. (also available on Spotify).