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The Editor-in-Chief of Exchanges takes us through a month-by-month rundown of the year in the life of the journal.
We are almost at the end of another calendar year here at Exchanges Command and looking forward to a Christmas and New Year’s break in activities. Before we get to that firstly we’d like to thank all the readers of our blog and the journal for your attention this year. Naturally, there’s also a big thanks to everyone who contributed in 2022 in some way to the life of the journal. There are far too many to thank by name but know that it was appreciated by me and the Board members especially.
So, for this final blog post of the year, I thought it would be interesting to draw together a rundown, month by month of what happened for Exchanges during in 2022.
In January as is typical we looked forward and back, starting with the launch of a new third season of the Exchanges Discourse Podcast, albeit with an episode recorded the previous December. We also explored what had been the most popular journal articles and podcast episodes in the preceding 12 months as well. Alongside this we closed the call for papers to appear in the forthcoming Anthropocene special issue, and began working closely with the associate editors for that volume.
Three more podcast episodes were published this month tackling a mix of topics, but there was also a long blog post concerning what makes Exchanges special for authors. Based on conversations with research fellows at Warwick, it made for a useful think piece that would be referenced throughout the coming year. It was especially interesting though to hear throughout 2022 from podcast guests how much validity they’ve found in these perceptions within their publishing experiences on the journal. Meanwhile behind the scenes, activity was speeding up as initial publication preparations were underway for the spring journal issue.
As winter began to give ground to spring, for Exchanges the focus on the new issue preparations continued and increased in scope. Yet it was still a healthy month for the journal’s aim to bring transparency to its operations with multiple blogposts exploring various issues. These included updates on the podcast’s branding, thoughts around the platform’s technical and developmental wishlist desires alongside a refresh of our open call for papers too. There was also a new podcast episode tied into February’s look at publishing with Exchanges from a prospective author’s perspective. Plus, the journal’s patron (the Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) at Warwick) increased its funding to bring in more hours from the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) on the title, reflecting the need for greater staff time and attention on the journal.
Undoubtedly the big news for April was the publication of Volume 9(2) of Exchanges itself – the 21st issue of the journal to appear since its founding. This issue brought with it the announcement of call for papers for the 10th birthday issue, scheduled for publication in late 2023. As of writing we’ve had a few contributions already, but there’s still time for plenty more critical reflections to boost this issue’s scholarly content. There was also the launch of a readers’ survey, but this, sadly, wasn’t a resounding success. This month also marked 4 years at the helm for the EIC, a small personal milestone, especially given more issues (and articles) have come out under his aegis than during any previous lead editor’s tenure.
With the new issue out, there was a shift in editorial gear behind the scenes as authors whose work had just been published were now being approached to appear on the podcast and offer feedback on the journal. More excitingly, two online workshops were hosted by the Editor-in-Chief for Warwick researchers. The first was the latest iteration of the now biennial Ask Me Anything (AMA) session dedicated to exploring Exchanges entirely driven by audience members’ interests. A session the EIC hosts in a very freeform manner and is generally warmly received. This event was followed days later by a panel session entitled Developing your Publication Strategy. Chaired by the EIC with guest speakers, this made for a lively and illuminating debate on the methods and approaches different scholars adopt in producing their research literature outputs. If all that wasn’t enough, towards the end of the month, the EIC also hosted a session for arts undergraduates on the nuances, benefits and approaches to article writing.
As the summer arrived, and we got a taste of the very warm weather the UK would experience this year, it prefaced a busy month for the journal. New podcast episodes featuring authors from the recent spring issue started to appear online for listeners. Plus, over on the journal the altmetrics, PlumX metric package was formally rolled out for all articles, offering new insights into the discussions, links and social media impact of Exchanges’ publications visible to all. Behind the scenes the EIC was hard at work at some data cleansing activities. To this end he was locating ‘dead’ reviewer accounts – or at least those where the email address no longer functioned - and removing them from our active user database to save any confusion when locating potential article reviewers. Meanwhile there was also a chance for the associate editors working on the Pluralities of Translation special issue to meet up and exchange experiences on their progress to date. Finally, one more workshop was hosted by the EIC with guest panellists, this time focussing in on Developing a Monograph Proposal – a second iteration of which workshop is scheduled for late February ’23. On top of all this activity, there was also an opportunity for the IAS and Exchanges team to meet the incoming IAS Director and departmental head for the first time on campus, as we prepared to say farewell to our outgoing director in September.
A warm month, and also as the busy academic sessional year came to a close a relatively quiet one publicly. Behind the scenes though the EIC was hard at work bringing together the contents for the Nerds special issue. Sometimes the busiest months editorially are also the ones with the fewest public announcements – reflected in the mildly surprising revelation that there were no blog posts this month. Still, there were plenty of twitter tweets to keep people interested and informed about the journal’s activities.
A heat wave in the UK would make August a challenging month to keep working on the journal, but it was also a significant time for multiple reasons. Firstly, the long gestating Lonely Nerds special issue (Volume 9.3) was finally published to an eagerly waiting readership. It brought to an end three years of collaboration with the universities of Oxford and SOAS meaning it was a moment of celebration and mild regret that it had all come to an end. Looking to the future, August was also the month when Exchanges opened a wide call across the EUTOPIA partnership for new Board members, a call which received a high standard of applicants from around the world.
This month saw a split in focus. In part efforts to promote and celebrate the previous month’s special issue on social media and podcast episodes were a focus. At the same time, preparations were in full swing for the publication of the next regular issue of the journal scheduled for the end of October making for a busy time. September also saw the departure of editor Giulia Champion after three years working first as an associate editor, before progressing onto the Board. Among Giulia’s many contributions to the life of Exchanges had also been the instigation of our very first special issues (Cannibalism and ClifFi) – a remarkable feat for which she will be long remembered. Behind the scenes, the EIC was also preparing to shortlist and interview prospective new Board members.
The biggest journal news in October was of course the publication of Volume 10(1) of Exchanges, the 23rd journal issue to date and also the last one to appear this year. October was also the 9th birthday of Exchanges itself, meaning attention was once again drawn to the call for papers for the 2023 10th birthday issue. The EIC hosted two Board meetings as well, opportunities for editors and associates alike to share updates and issues, as well as hear about forthcoming developments for Exchanges too. Behind the scenes podcast interviews with the authors from the Lonely Nerds special issue continued to be recorded and released too. Weirdly, this month the EIC wrote his 2022 annual review for his host department mid-month, which had to make some educated guesses as to what the remaining 14 working weeks of the year would herald for the journal. Of course, beyond this for some the twin highlights would be the welcome to new IAS early research fellows and the subsequent Exchanges AMA workshop – hosted live and in person for the first time in three years. The latter session was certainly a riotously successful session, and exceptionally well received by the attendees – and the EIC himself! Alongside this the new Editorial Board members were agreed and prepared to be revealed to the world…
The penultimate month is often a busy one at Exchanges before the end of year slowdown. With the publication of an issue, there’s all the follow up and promotional activity which comes with it, and for Exchanges especially the recording of author interviews for the podcast. Certainly, all these things happened, but we also sneaked out an episode devoted to peer reviewing too, inspired from discussions at the previous month’s AMA. This November though was a little more special as we formally welcomed on board seven new members of the Editorial Board, and put them through their induction training programme. Alongside all this the EIC found time to contribute to Warwick’s Leadership and Management Development course for early-stage researchers focussing on editing and peer-review. Tied into this course, which is running twice more in 2023, was the announcement of a new special issue focussing on researcher reflections. More than enough to bring us almost to the end of the year, even as we launched our new Mastodon Twitter-alternative channel too.
Aside from our EIC celebrating his birthday , you’d think the ‘quietest month’ would see only a few minor highlights as the journal wound down operations for the year’s end. Not so, as behind the scenes a number of the new Editorial Board members got their first real taste of manuscript and author guidance. Meanwhile the EIC finally found the time to collate and review the feedback gathered from the last three years of author experiences . Incidentally, initial indications are very positive! On top of that after years of effort, the EIC was delighted when they were finally able to get together with all the editors of other journals at Warwick Journals for the first time in years. Discussions centred on plans for joint activities and operations along with sharing areas of mutual concern and debate. To say it was a useful meeting would be an understatement, and hopefully a harbinger of more such gatherings in 2023. December was also the month we said a fond farewell to one of our longest serving Board members, as Natasha Abrahams (Melbourne & Monash universities) stood down after around five years working on the title. And just to round off the year, and our 44 blog entries to boot, we also released three more episodes of The Exchanges Discourse, featuring our last authors of 2022 in conversation.
And that’s it –our busy and eventful 2022. What, I hear you ask is coming in 2023? Well, currently we have three special issues likely to see publication alongside our two regular issues to begin with, which will be a record if they all appear. Additionally, we have a handful of workshops to talk about Exchanges already in the diary. Hopefully we’ll be able to add a few more dates to these, and maybe a couple of conference papers as well . All this and the growing work with our colleagues across the Warwick Journals family too to look forward to means next year is already shaping into a busy and suitably active one for our 10th birthday year.
In the meantime, merry Christmas and happy New Year to all those of you out there! See you in 2023.
 One of the things planned for exploration in 2023 are different approaches to finding out what our readers, rather than our authors, value most about Exchanges. I suspect conversations with our fellow journal editors may help here.
 Not as of yet a public holiday but we live in hope that it will be one day.
 Finishing writing up the report on this feedback remains my final 2022 unfinished task after this blog post…
 Don’t ask me where – I’ve not as of yet spotted any suitable events! However, if you’re interested in having someone from Exchanges appear at an event – please do get in touch.