May 25, 2022

Academic journals and you

Writing about web page https://www.researchgate.net/publication/360842687_Articles_Academic_Publishing_You

Today I did a repeat performance of last year's seminar for the undergraduates on the theme of academic journal publishing. As always I had the horrible feeling I was somehow pitching it simultaneously too high and too low for the audience, but as it turned out it seemed to go okay. A discrete audience mind you, which made the interactive portions a bit more challenging - but I guess we're near the year of the academic term for so many students I can hardly blame them for not wanting to turn up!

An excellent question on converting a dissertation into an article – which I think I’ll adapt for inclusion should I be asked to re-run this session next year. Maybe less on the journal world and more on the writing aspect I think might have been a good idea, so we’ll see if I can conflate a couple of slides and add in a new one on this topic instead.

Also a first for me - being asked a question on video by an attendee travelling at high speed train across Europe. Truly, we are living in the future! Should anyone be interested - I've made the slides available on my Research-Gate account.

Slides - Academic Journals and You


May 09, 2022

Panel: Developing your Publication Strategy '22

Last week I hosted a couple of workshops for the IAS. The first (3rd May) was the return of my popular Exchanges Ask me Anything session, wherein our early career fellows get to ask me, well, anything about the journal – and often the world of academic publishing at large too. They also get to watch me sip a cup of tea as I offer them time and space to think of their questions without me talking too. Seemed to go well, so far as one can tell in an online teaching environment. We’ll be running this again in the autumn I suspect for the next batch of ECFs we induct.

Thursday (5th May) though was the more significant of the workshop sessions. This was my second iteration of the Developing your Publication Strategy, which regular readers will recall I originally hosted back in March 2021. As this had been such a successful session, I was asked last month if I’d be willing to offer it again: a request to which I quickly agreed.

I decided this time fantastic though the panel members were last year, that for this new panel I’d try and recruit some different voices. Different academics would bring with them fresh and unexpected perspectives, and I hoped would contribute to an engaging session for the delegates. As before, I reached out to a goodly number of contacts, many of whom were unavailable (if otherwise willing) to participate. I did though, thankfully, strike gold with three past Exchanges authors and I will confess, past podcast guests too: Dr Catherine Price (Nottingham), Dr Mark Readman (Bournemouth) and Prof Monica Mastrantonio (York). Thanks to the efforts of the EUTOPIA Consortium, I was also able to recruit Prof Marcus Pivato (Cergy Paris) to add into the mix as well.

I was delighted to say we had a packed 75 minutes during which my four panellists handled all manner of questions from the audience. From complex ruminations on creating an interdisciplinary portfolio, through to their thoughts on the current scholarly communications field and advice on how delegates might refine their own practices. While I had a battery of questions to hand to keep the conversation flowing, should the audience be a little restrained in offering their own, I had little need to return to these during the session. It certainly was a lively debate, and feedback from speakers and delegates alike on the day seemed most positive.

I am naturally deeply indebted to all of the speakers for their participation and gracious gift of time, as each of them really helped the session come alive in different ways. As panel chair it was interesting to observe how we touched on similar topics to the 2021 session, albeit debating them within a slightly different framing. Such is the joy of running a panel session – you never know quite what you’re going to learn.

I am also grateful to the audience, who played their part well. Not only were they thought provoking in their questioning, but they also contributed to a wonderful continuing thread of debate within the text chat. Certainly, one advantage of hybrid/online sessions over a f2f one is that you get this wonderful additional thread of debate available for all, rather than just the people you’re whispering sitting next to you. Prominent among the topics tackled here were perceptions of peer-review and anonymization, which exposed some very big divides and surprising disciplinary assumptions among panellists and audience alike.

The text chat also captured a range of resources and links, that I promised to collate for further interest [1]:

I very much enjoyed running this panel, which was illuminating for myself as well. Hopefully, we’ll see this panel session revisited in some format during 2023 once more – with yet another set of fine panellists!

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[1] Beall’s ‘predatory’ trash journals list came up too, but given the considerable issues over this in recent years I’m not including it here.


May 05, 2022

Announcing the Exchanges Reader Survey 2022

Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/announcement/view/37

As revealed in the recent Volume 9(2), Exchangesis delighted to announce the launch of our first ever readers’ survey, tied in to the progress towards our tenth anniversary issue in late 2023.

Hence, the Editor-in-Chief, and Editorial Board, would like to strongly encourage our readership, and indeed anyone with an interest in the title, to offer some insights into what they most value and desire from the journal. The survey is, by necessity and efficacy, a brief and anonymous instrument which should take 2-3 minutes to complete at most.

To participate in the survey – please follow the link below:

Should you experience any issues - be they local security measures or simple accessibility - with being able to access or respond via this form, then please contact me directlyand I will provide an alternative format.

Thank you in advance for your comments as you will undoubtably help us in shaping our own direction of travel and aspirations for the nextten years of Exchanges!

The survey will run throughout the next month or so, closing on or around Friday 17thJune 2022.


May 03, 2022

Call for Papers: Authentic Interdisciplinarity

Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/announcement/view/36

In case you missed it, we have a themed call for papers now open which ties in to our planned 10th Birthday Issue in October 2023.

we are seeking contributions which seek to celebrate, challenge or define ideas around authentic interdisciplinarity. Authors may wish to draw on their own research practices and activities or adopt a more holistic stance in engaging with the prior literature and activities within this broadly demarcated field. As is Exchanges’tradition, we will potentially consider any work which its authors choose to present which seeks to address the themes evident within this call.

Authors may also wish to draw upon methods or methodological practices within a variety of field. Alternatively, they may consider explore if there are discrete or disparate audiences for interdisciplinary rather than unitary disciplinary work in academia today. Additionally, pieces considering, rationalising or amplifying cross-disciplinary discourse concerning centring on the concepts of authentic interdisciplinarity would be warmly received.

Authors looking for further inspiration should read the full text of the call at:

https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/announcement/view/36

Deadlines are:

  • Peer-Reviewed Papers or Review Articles 30th November 2022
  • Critical Reflections, Conversations (interviews) or Essays 30th June 2023

April 29, 2022

Volume 9 Issue 2 of Exchanges is NOW Available

Writing about web page https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i2

We are delighted to announce the publication of the Spring 2022 issue of Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal. This is our 21st issue overall, and as a regular issue of the title, contains a range of articles, critical reflections and conversations on a broad spectrum of topics. It is, like all our past issues, entirely open access and free to read at point of publication.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i2

PDF: https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/issue/view/46/46

Page: https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/issue/view/46

This is the twenty-first issue of Exchanges, published in April 2022. This issue contains a variety of articles from different corners of the disciplinary academic traditions, from authors around the globe. Article topics within include: schizoanalytic cartographies, post-urban life in the Alps, factual divergence and expert trust, challenging stereotypical representation of Italian women, environmental epiphanies, disability representation in the media; along with two extended conversations with noted scholars. The issue’s editorial by the Editor-in-Chief briefly introduces the issue and provides an overview of the articles published within it. It also highlights two opportunities for participation through a reader survey and an anniversary call for papers on ‘authentic interdisciplinary’, alongside the regular open call for contributions to future issues. Ways for readers and authors to engage with the journal in-between issues are also highlighted.

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As always, my thanks to all the authors, reviewers and editors who helped make this issue possible. Hopefully, the next issue you’ll be seeing will be one of our especially exciting special issues. Watch this space for news, or sign up to be an Exchanges reader and get emails directly.


April 28, 2022

Two Forthcoming Exchanges/Publishing Workshops

Follow-up to Publishing Strategy Accolade Session from Exchanges - Editorial Reflections from Warwick's Interdisciplinary Journal

As part of our Accolade and EUTOPIA-SIF training programmes, I’m hosting a pair of workshop sessions next week.

The first on Tue 3rd May, is the return of the ever popular – Exchanges: Ask Me Anything session. As in previous iterations this is a freeform session, wherein I invite the audience to ask me pretty much anything about the Exchanges journal and related areas. Experience has shown half the questions tend to veer off into general topics of academic publication, but that’s fine as I’ll always be interested in a hearty discussion about that broader domain. Additionally, it’s a safe bet I will likely get up on my soapbox about the importance of early career scholars, open access and scholar-led, non-commercial journals disrupting the hegemonic commodified academic communications field.

Ahem. Or maybe this time will be a first and I won’t!

The second session, Thu 5th May, is the return of the Developing your Publication Strategy panel event. We ran this last in March 2021 and it was a very lively discussion. This time I’m joined by four panellists to answer questions, discuss comments and explore all aspects of their personal publication strategies, processes and experiences. The last running of this workshop was an excellent packed hour of discussions, and I’ve every hope this time will be much the same – even though it’s an all new panel!

Now, cynics among you might notice that both these events require fairly light preparation on my part. That’s deliberate, as running the journal – especially around an issue launch – takes up a lot of my time. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t be bringing my customary showmanship and polished hosting skills to the fore on the day! I very much expect our audiences will have a highly informative and energised time.

After those sessions, in this role at least[1] I can then switch to preparing for the end of the month, when I’m running an undergraduate workshop on academic publishing and writing skills. Now that one, I DO need to prepare some materials for, but thankfully there’s a few weeks between then and now for me to fit that in. So more on this later session towards the end of the month.

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[1] In my other job I’m running two workshops in May on preparing and delivering an effective conference paper. No pressure there then.


April 12, 2022

4 Years Not Out (yet)

48 months in, the Editor-in-Chief pauses to celebrate his progress and progression

It was my Warwickversity yesterday, commemorating that day back in 2018 when I first took on the mantle of senior editor for Exchanges. A lot has changed, not least my official job title and that of the journal itself, since then. There’s also been a lot more home-office working than I anticipated, and while I miss seeing a lot of the Warwick campus crew in the flesh right now, I’ve not missed the countless miles of the commute down the M69.

There weren’t any celebrations – hopefully if I make it to year 5 that would seem a suitable moment to make a mark – other than a quiet reflection on job (mostly) done well. It is great to acknowledge that having come into the post as what was a fixed term 2.5 year role, that I’m still here and loving the job more than ever today. Probably in part because what the journal is and does has evolved, but mainly because of the editors, authors and other contributors or supporters I’ve met along the way. Not to mention the IAS’ unflinching backing of the title and myself through good times and adverse too.

Right, enough omphaloskepsis – time to get back to work for the next 12 months of effort – starting with the call for papers coming out in this month’s new issue of the Exchanges journal!


April 06, 2022

Creating a metanarrative conversation within a journal issue

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

How much does creating a conversation between articles in a journal volume rely on luck, authors or the editors themselves?

This morning I was interviewing one of my associate editors (hi Anna!) who had reached the end of her time with the journal. As I’ve probably mentioned in previous posts, I always like to run exit interviews with my editors to explore what they’ve learned, how they’ve grown and perhaps most importantly what were the challenges they faced. All of which feeds into my plans and support for the journal team going forward. The interviews are also a great point at which I can personally thank the editors for their efforts: literally without them we are nothing as a journal, so it’s always worth saying.

While we talked over various issues in our chat, one point today’s editor made concerned not being able to see the ‘whole’ journal as she was only working on a few papers. Hence, for an associate editor how the journal comes together is seen from a very ‘fragmentary’ perspective. I thought this was an interesting point, worth a few minutes’ reflection of my own. I must confess, how collections of articles become more than an assemblage of text and evolve into a conversation, where pieces almost speak to each other, can be an incredibly illusive element of the editorial process. For our regular issues there have been a few glorious, serendipitous moments where articles can be seen to resonate with each other, occasionally even between issues. I say ‘serendipitous’, as our regular issues comprise articles usually submitted and developed entirely in total isolation from each another. I will acknowledge how on a rare occasion we have pieces submitted which are responding to earlier texts, but although these are worthy contributions, they are the exceptions rather than the rule.

For our special issues though, there’s a much greater chance its articles will exist in some form of cogent metanarrative. The articles are often framed as outputs from an event, most notably as in our first three special issues for example, or may instead emerge from a call for contributions. For the former option this means while articles might have been finalised by authors in private, there’s been some degree of interchange and interaction ahead of their creation with their fellow contributors. All of which will have influenced their thinking and writing to a degree, making the appearance of threads of commonality or counterpoint in the prose more likely. For those responding to an open call though, I’ll acknowledge there’s going to be less immediate interrelationship within the texts.

Certainly, though, as editor-in-chief it’s also part of my role to maximise any resonance between individual articles too. This might be achieved through how they are assembled within the running order of the issue, but also most notably within my editorial overview of the issue’s contents too. It’s often when I’m writing this guide, as I am currently for issue 9(2) that I begin to identify some of the common threads of discussion and debate within the pieces.[1]

The benefits stemming from a well-curated and highlighted collection of articles has been one of the stronger arguments for the continuation of the journal as a form of scholarly publication. Rather than expecting readers to only use an article level accesses to specific texts, co-locating articles within a single journal issue, serves to enhance people’s awareness of other works of interest. Hence, a collection of thought from disparate writers, aggregated within a single volume, can potentially offer something more insightful as a whole than the individual components. Or at least that’s how the common argument goes.

I am perhaps in awe, and slightly jealous, of those journal editors who make this work look effortless though. For some perhaps it is easier due to the volume of texts they receive and publish far exceeds that of Exchanges: with more work to pick and choose from, and a likely greater regularity of publication, collating these pieces to form volumes with a stronger central narrative core becomes a less-complex achievement. It also forms a powerful incentive for readers and contributors alike to turn to their journals knowing the volume will contain multiple points of interest.

Then again, attempting to achieve such a narrative for a disciplinary title – rather than one trading in interdisciplinary contents such as ours – is also likely an easier, if not entirely facile, task too.

That said, coming up in the next issue of Exchanges will be a call for papers on a singular theme. I have high hopes this may well offer the creation of such a coherent discourse. Naturally, whether it succeeds or not I suspect will be largely down the coherency of the call that I write, but more than anything on the perceptions and scholarship of the issue’s contributors. Hence, we will have to see what fate, and our prodigious and generous authors, provide!

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[1] Due for publication at the end of April '22


March 25, 2022

New Episode: What Do I Get Out of Publishing with Exchanges?

Follow-up to What Do I Get Out of Publishing With Exchanges? Some thoughts and ideas from Exchanges - Editorial Reflections from Warwick's Interdisciplinary Journal

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

Updating our open call for papers for 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.

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For more information on submitting to Exchanges, or about the journal in general, contact Editor-in-Chief, Dr Gareth J Johnson (exchangesjournal@warwick.ac.uk).


May 2022

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