December 07, 2023

New Episode Tackles ChatGPT, Reviewers from Hell & Linguistic Challenges

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Two new podcast episodes in one week – it’s almost like it’s Christmas

Beth Montague-HellenPodcasts are like buses – none for ages and then two come along at once. Which is why I am pleased to announce we have another episode to share with you this week, following the one with Jean Marshall. This time, and continuing our 10th birthday issue celebrations, I chatted with senior librarian and former biology Beth Montague-Hellen (Library and Information Services, Francis Crick Institute).

Listen in to the episode here:

As always on the Exchanges Discourse podcast we talked about Beth’s recent paper and ongoing work, as a practitioner and former biological researcher. We started by discussing her article, Placing ChatGPT in the Context of Disruptive Technology in Academic Publishing which led to a very healthy debate around the pros and cons of generative AI in publishing, but also the power they have to assist in coding. Interestingly we moved on to discuss Beth’s experiences both as a researching library practitioner and within the biological fields, which seemed to be considerably different, especially from the peer-reviewer practices. We especially touched on the emotional affect and impact which overtly harsh reviewers can engender – especially on researchers early in their career.

Our conversation moves on to talk about the difficulties some authors have when publishing in Anglosphere journals, when their first language is not English. Noting again, the less than helpful comments some face from reviewers. We closed off our chat by exploring Beth’s considered publication advice to scholars working on their earliest articles.

Episode Index

  • 0:00 Opening
  • 0:50 Introductions
  • 2:24 Discussing Beth’s Paper
  • 11:31 Coding, Statistics & AI Accuracy
  • 13:34 Reviewer Experiences
  • 19:19 Publishing in the Anglosphere
  • 21:44 Publications in Progress
  • 23:48 Advice to Authors
  • 26:30 Closing & Outro

You can of course catch up with ALL of our past episodes on Spotify, or through our handy episode index.

Next week – another episode…and maybe even a fourth one to round out 2023 as part of our final big announcement of a busy, busy year for the journal.

December 05, 2023

New Episode – Sustainability, Batteries & Pringles

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Jean Marshall & Gareth J Johnson

10th birthday celebrations continue with the first in a series of author conversations.

It has been a while, but at last I'm pleased to bring the first in a series of new podcast episodes to your ears. As part of our 10th birthday issue celebrations, I had the pleasure of chatting with Jean Marshall (WMG, University of Warwick) about her recent paper and ongoing research. We start as usual by discussing her paper, Sustainability: Getting Everyone Involved, and especially about the multifactorial issues involved in achieving a greater global sustainability culture.

Listen to the episode here:

As is often the case with the Exchanges Discourse podcast our conversation expands to related topics such as battery technologies, polymer chemistry and recycling of multilayer materials. In case you are wondering, yes, we do talk about the challenges of recycling a Pringles can - a surprisingly complex operation. As always in these episodes, we talk about the author's publication experiences. From manuscripts Jean has under development along with her reflections of being a publishing academic. Finally, as is typical we close with advice for other scholars moving towards their first publications.

Episode Index

  • 0:00 Opening
  • 0:51 Introductions
  • 3:39 Exchanges Paper
  • 6.44 Electric vs Fossil Fuel Vehicles
  • 9:02 Recycling Challenges
  • 13:59 Multilayer Materials
  • 15:22 Publication Plans & Battery Technologies
  • 17:53 Publication Experiences
  • 22:09 Advice for Scholarly Authors
  • 24:25 Closing & Outro

Keep you ears open - as we've two more episodes coming your way very soon!

As always, you can find past episodes on the journal pages:

November 29, 2023

Author and Style Guidelines Updated

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Updated guidelines means easier submission experience for authors

A task I’ve been meaning to get around for some months [1] has been to go through our Author and Style guidance pages and refresh the content. Finding the right moment has been trickier than I thought, but in the wake of our recent 10th birthday issue, it seemed the ideal time to revisit this vital guidance to our authors, and make some judicious changes. Going through I could spot areas where the advice has been lightly tweaked over the years, and as a result some elements of it were mildly contradictory. Indeed, I strongly suspect it hasn’t come in for anything like a systematic review since I first came aboard the journal, and I don’t believe I’ve really had a look at the style guide quite as closely as I have in recent weeks.

The good news is that the changes are all now live, and both guides are – hopefully – a lot clearer.

Now, if you’re an author whose article is already underway – don’t panic! We’ve not made any major changes! We’re the same journal with fairly broad and welcoming requirements which make it as easy as possible for authors to contribute. This exercise was rather about bringing this online guidance more closely into line with what we advise authors in our 1-2-1 consultations.

Naturally though, we can’t claim to be perfect – so if there’s any aspect you’d like to see more about on these pages, let us know. We’re only too happy to keep refining and improving this guidance to ensure it continues to be fit for purposes for the next decade of Exchanges.



[1] Maybe even years.

November 16, 2023

Exchanges – Now Available on Bluesky

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For some years now, well actually since I took over running the journal in early 2018, we've had a fairly active Twitter/X account. We use this quite heavily to promote calls for papers and other news from the journal, and I'm pleased to say we have built up a good following. It’s unlikely you missed in recent news coverage how much Twitter/X's new owner has rather...reduced the site in many people's eyes, and there's an increased possibility these days that everything will eventually disappear behind a paywall.

Now, given the open access principles that Exchanges was founded and runs on, this really wouldn't be something we'd be too keen to remain associated. Which is why I've been hoping for some months to start running a new microblogging account on the 'Founded by Former Twitter Chiefs' Bluesky platform. This is still in its early days, and has a slowly growing community. Unlike Mastodon, which seems to have strongly attracted the more tech-savvy user community, Bluesky seems to be a place where more and more academics are hanging out. Hence, getting an account here as an alternative to Twitter/X seemed a no-brainer.

Problem being, you only can get an account currently with an invite code via a lengthy waiting list, or alternatively via a friend/colleague already on the platform providing an invite code. Luckily, I got a personal account on there a month ago, and with my first provided invite code this week, I welcomed into the digital world.[1]

For the time being I'll be running the Twitter/X and Bluesky accounts in parallel, but I suspect as Bluesky grows and Twitter/X (probably) tailspins, I'll be favouring the latter option all the more.

So, if you're on Bluesky - come and follow us for all your regular updates on the journal and social chat about publishing. Of course, if you're not on there, you can still, for now, follow us over on Twitter/X!



[1] or just plain old @ExchangesJournal, to give the short version of our new handle.

November 07, 2023

Submission Guidance Video Leads to Smoother Submission Experience

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A new video offers to smooth the route to paper submission.

As part of the preparations for our various special issues, I’ve been working on some new advice for submitting authors on the practical steps they need to take. I strongly believe in diminishing as many of the mechanical barriers to submission as possible, and offering a stepwise guide is one way to address this. While I might not be able to tweak the underlying OJS code on which we run Exchanges[1], there are still at least some ways I can try and make the submission experience easier.

Case in point: While writing the two page ‘here’s what you do next’ guide for the authors, I found myself thinking ‘I wish we had a handy video talking people through the steps involved in manuscript submission’. Such a compulsion might be a holdover from my long-ago days as an academic librarian – I wrote so many printed and media guides back then – but as I said, any barrier is a barrier too many in my book (journal). I thought this would be an easy task, maybe taking a couple of hours or so at most to script, record edit and share.

I was wrong. But you can click on the screenshot below to watch the final video all the same:

Submission video guide

You see, as part of the process of writing and creating the guide I had to go through the actual submission process myself with a dummy paper. I have to do a submission when I add the editorial each issue, but I generally don’t pay a lot of attention to what I’m doing – just need to get the paper into our workflows! However, this time going through the process more carefully, and observing each aspect was really helpful because it caused me to notice a couple of elements of our ‘submission wizard’ [2] which I wasn’t happy about.

One of them was the wording on our clickthrough publishing licence’. The phrasing here seemed less than clear in places, and I confess I suspect no one has looked at this since the journal first launched. As a result, after a little fiddling around on OJS I found where I could edit and revise them. Hopefully, now the phrasing is better than it was – let me know your thoughts on this if you have them.

I also discovered a strange glitch which was restricting the article submission types which were visible to non-editors. This isn’t too much of an issue in the editorial process, as we can shift the type easily – but at submission, I suspect this might be off-putting to an author. As I normally look at the site in ‘uber’ editor mode, this is the sort of detail which is easily missed too. In preparing for my video though, I switched to my alt-author account which as a result highlighted the issue! It appeared from what I could see that the article type categories available to authors clearly weren’t as they should be – with some options not displaying – and others erroneously still showing.[3] Certainly, they were far from clear and as far as I was concerned – a barrier to submission!

My apologies to our authors if you’ve experienced this glitch! I’ve no idea when it arose – I’m hoping it’s not been too long, but I have my suspicions. Nevertheless, I can assure you it’s been cleaned up. Now, the options to submit are in our five major formats: peer-reviewed article or review, and editorially revied conversation, critical reflection or book review.


With this sorted (and despite a computer that insisted in BSODing me once) the new guidance video still went live last week. And while this might have all taken me much longer than I anticipated to resolve, hey, at least it also means I had an opportunity to hopefully streamline the submission process slightly.



[1] More is the pity here.

[2] It doesn’t wear a pointy hat, nor an eight-pointed star.

[3] I was fairly sure we weren’t interested in submissions to the special section of the journal published in 2014.

November 01, 2023

New Call for Papers: Becoming a Productive Publishing Scholar

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A new call for papers for the October 2024 issue of Exchanges considers productive authorship.

As you’ve hopefully read in Exchanges’ recent editorial, we have rolled out a new themed call for papers for the regular journal. While we’ve a number of ongoing calls for special issues currently, the Board and me thought it was overdue time to explore a themed section in the journal itself. And what better area to explore than one which we’ve been discussing for the past couple of years in researcher workshops here at Warwick.

However, the short version is: we’re interested in papers exploring the paradigms, praxis or process which academics, at any career stage, encounter when balancing published output against the other demands on their time. Hence, papers on everything from overcoming challenges, through to effective strategic approaches or even ones arguing against the pressure to publish as a measure of academic esteem would be welcome. Critical reflections which examine personal experiences and coping mechanisms would be especially welcome, as these would be very well received by our readership I suspect.

Plus, as an interdisciplinary journal we’re aware that ‘productive publication’ has different meaning and imperatives across the disciplines. That has certainly been a theme we’ve heard about in our workshop discussions from participants. So, as a result, we would be especially interested in papers which either explore publication nuances from within particular disciplines, or those which alternatively offer comparative studies across a range of fields. Likewise, perspectives from early, mid or established career scholars would be equally valid and interesting, as I have no doubt in mind at all that there will be variations and subtleties worthy of exploration.

There’s plenty of time to get involved, or indeed have a chat with myself about potential papers, as the submission deadlines [1] run through to 2024. As always, myself and my editors look forward t reading your submissions! Happy writing.



[1] There’s a longer deadline for editorially reviewed material like critical reflections, over peer-reviewed pieces.

October 26, 2023

Happy Tenth Birthday to Us

With its autumn 2023 issue, Exchanges reaches a decade in print.


Birthday issue coverHere we are at our 26th overall issue, and a whole ten years from when we first started. It has been a long time to get here from there, and there’s been a whole lot of scholarly water under the publication bridge. Yes, with today’s publication of Vol 11(1), we can officially celebrate reaching the milestone of our first decade – tea and medals all round I think.[1]

In writing the copy for this issue’s editorial, I checked back into the first issue, which was actually published 8th October 2013, so we’re actually already into our second decade. However, many moons ago we stabilised on an ‘end of October’ publication date – varying between the last Thursday in the month or on occasion the actual 31 October itself. [2] Hence you get this new, birthday issue, today.

Now, I’m not going to belabour the ‘Exchanges story’ here, because I go into the history of the journal in some detail in the editorial – so I’ll save you from a repeat. Instead, here’s the table of contents for the issue so you can go and read the much more exciting articles we’ve got there instead.

Issue links: or

  • Montague-Hellen, B., 2023. Placing ChatGPT in the context of disruptive technology in academic publishing. Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal, 11(1),1-16. DOI: 10.31273/eirj.v11i1.1289.
  • De Silva, C., 2023. The Rise of Conceptual Association and Linguistic Register as Advertiser Persuasive Instruments: An Australian study of press artefacts 1800s–1950s. Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal, 11(1), 17-47. DOI: 10.31273/eirj.v11i1.1256.
  • Marshall, J., 2023.Sustainability: Getting everyone involved. Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal, 11(1), 48-65. DOI: 10.31273/eirj.v11i1.1219.
  • Kowalczyk, A., 2023. Emerging from the COVID-19 Cocoon: A critical reflection on pedagogical changes in Higher Education. Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal, 11(1), 66-76. DOI: 10.31273/eirj.v11i1.1282.
  • Khair Allah, R., 2023. Reflections on AI in Humanities: Amplifying the marginalised voices of women. Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal, 11(1), 77-84. DOI: 10.31273/eirj.v11i1.1453.
  • Khair Allah, R., 2023. Review: The Body in Twilight: Representation of the Human Body, Sexuality and Struggle in Contemporary Arab Art. Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal, 11(1), 84-91. DOI: 10.31273/eirj.v11i1.1349.
  • Johnson, G.J., 2023. Coming Back to Where You Started is Not the Same as Never Leaving: Editorial, Volume 11, Part 1. Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal, 11(1), i-xxii. DOI: 10.31273/eirj.v11i1.1457.

Naturally, now this issue is out the heavy lifting starts on promoting it, its content and of course the brand new call for papers – about which I’ll blog shortly. And then next week, why it’s onto to chasing up progress on all the papers on our other forthcoming special and regular issues. Sadly, for an editor, the end of one issue’s progress is really only the start of the real focussed labour on the next one!



[1] I settled for tea and a biscuit. Don’t think the Exchanges petty cash stretches to much more.

[2] I work Tue-Thu on Exchanges, so this is the last working Thursday of the month for me normally. Oddly despite the synchronicity with Halloween, we’ve not yet put out a horror or pumpkin spice themed issue. Perhaps this is a gap in the market?

September 27, 2023

Special Issue Call Launch (Almost) Closes Research Culture Conference

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Second special issue launch for September sees the focus turn to research culture.

This week saw the hosting of the International Research Culture Conference 2023 at the University of Warwick. Naturally Exchanges was in attendance, and not simply to listen to the fascinating range of talks and speakers. This conference, which was open to attendees around the UK and across the world, followed a more local event which was hosted in 2022 for Warwick staff. The success of this event plus moves at Warwick in founding its National Centre for Research Culture, demonstrated the value in throwing the doors open to the wider community – and hence the broader remit of this event.

From the journal’s perspective of course, the most important development revolved around the Centre and Conference partnering with Exchanges to produce a special issue. This will be, we hope, launched over summer 2024 with content based on and around the papers delivered at the event. Hence, towards the conclusion of the conference[1], I was able to address the delegates to formally announce the opening of the call for participation.

Call for Papers - Research Culture 2023

Now, while Exchanges relatively brief talk [2] the conference’s end was naturally a focus for your Chief Editor, I was there throughout the day on a stall. This gave me the opportunity to talk to various delegates and prospective authors about Exchanges, our work and importantly how they can contribute to the special issue. I’m delighted to report I enjoyed a considerable number of highly energised conversations with some lovely, and thoughtful, colleagues and look forward to continuing some of these over the coming weeks. Even more so I am looking forward to reading the submissions as they come in.

Now, as the special issue will capture the discussions and presentations, and as other material is available on the conference site itself, I won’t try and recreate the event from my notes. That’s certainly something you will be able to enjoy without my filter. Nevertheless, I am sure there will be many other delegates with something to say, so keep an eye out on social media for initial reflections from the event.

In the meantime, my thanks to Prof Sotaro Kita and Dr Rika Nair for their invite to collaborate on this special issue, not to mention participate in Warwick’s ongoing research cultures work.


For more information on the special issue, and its call for papers, contact the Editor-in-Chief at or see our announcements page. A copy of the call for papers is now available.


[1] I wasn't quite the final talk, as there was an address from Warwick's Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Prof Caroline Meyer, which formally closed the event.

[2] I was offered 10 minutes, but suggested a modest 5 with questions would be best. Certainly, at the end of a long day, when I’m between the delegates and freedom, I didn’t think it was a good idea to build my part up too much.

September 21, 2023

MRC at 50 – Conference & Special Issue Contribution Launch

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MRC anniversary celebrations set the scene for an exciting future journal volume.

MRC at 50Yesterday I attended the 50th anniversary symposium in honour of the Modern Records Centre (MRC) at Warwick. If you’re not been previously aware of the MRC and its work, the website and indeed the Centre itself is most certainly well worth a visit: if only to marvel at the variety and breadth of their collections. This diversity was a key element reflected across the spread of topics discussed at yesterday’s event. Speaker’s talked about their research which had all been generated – in part or in its entirety through usage of the MRC’s collections. From sex workers to trade unions through the French Resistance, disability and cycling: it was an undoubted smorgasbord of themes.

I recall, many years ago and in a previous post at Warwick, I had the opportunity to be walked through the MRC’s archive itself by the then Archivist. It was a rare opportunity to get ‘up close and personal’ with the ephemera, communications and collected papers of many significant figures in political, social and national history alike. Certainly, being that close to historical documents was a thrilling moment.

Since its founding though, the MRC has clearly had an impact far beyond Warwick itself. This was undoubtably reflected through the international scope of the discussions and presenters represented yesterday. I shan’t try and capture the essence of the day: there was so much to take in. Plus, I suspect offering this kind of perspective is an element which the special issue call we informally launched yesterday will do to a greater degree.

An archive of thinking and research to honour the archive itself!

Hence, we will be approaching all of the presenters, and a few other selected people too, over the coming weeks to invite them all to contribute a paper to this forthcoming special commemorative issue of Exchanges. I can assure readers that if its contents are anything like as engaging as yesterday’s talks, then you are in for a real treat! We hope to bring you the issue sometime in early to mid-2024, so watch out on our social media for more news as we get closer to the launch date.

My thanks to Pierre Botcherby and the whole MRC team for inviting Exchanges to form a modest but valuable marker of the MRC’s first 50 years of success!

A copy of the call for papers is now available.


For more information on the MRC’s work or collections, visit or contact For more about the forthcoming special issue, contact Exchanges at

September 07, 2023

Crafting Future Themed Calls for Exchanges

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Can themed calls encourage more submissions to a journal?

This week we hosted the semi-annual Board meeting(s) for Exchanges, wherein all our Board members and associate editors are invited to catch up with events and progress on the journal, and also bring new ideas to the table too. One recurrent theme, for us and indeed most smaller journals, is maintaining the amount of manuscripts we receive for consideration as papers. While Exchanges is blessed with a strong and steady flow of special issues [1], as Chief Editor I am always concerned about the amount of potential content we get which will be potentially appearing in the issue after next.

In the past we used to do semi-regular themed calls, but with the advent of the special issues programme in 2019, these have been largely – if not entirely – phased out. [2] However, after discussions at the Board we agreed it was perhaps a good time to try again. Of course this is where the question arises: for a broadly, interdisciplinary and general journal – what topics would interest the broadest spectrum of potential authors?

There were a few suggestions in the meeting on the day, but as not all of the editors were present I decided to poll them all on their thoughts and ideas – not just for this issue but for future ones too. It’ll be very interesting to see what ideas come forward, and even more fun shaping this into our first themed call for easily a year.

If you’ve any thoughts about the kinds of themed and focussed calls for papers you’d like to see from Exchanges, then please comment below – or get in touch via the journal. I’d love to hear from you!



[1] A lot of news about developments in this respect coming soon!

[2] The forthcoming autumn issue for example has a number of papers responding to our birthday call.

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