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December 04, 2019

The Oncoming Storm of Christmas and Other Workflow Challenges

Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/announcement/view/19

As you may have noticed if you follow our twitter account, or have visited the journal’s home page, this week, we’ve announced an extension to the deadline for our climate fiction (CliFi) special issue. I confess I’d always built in a few buffer weeks post the original 30th Nov 2019 closing date for a few late submissions. However, over the last few days chatting with my Board, it’s clear there’s been a few hillocks unanticipated when we launched the call way back in Mid-August. Undoubtedly, the UCU HE strikes in the UK over the last couple of weeks are one of these – with reviewers and authors alike pulling back from all professional activity. Some of my Editorial Board are among the strikers too which, understandably, means they’ve not been able to work on the journal over this time either. All of which adds up to a potential to miss out or progress some great papers. Hence, now the closing date is 13th Jan 2020.

We could have pushed the date back to mid-late December, but I suspect many academics may have other things on their minds than finalising papers for a few weeks. Hopefully, refreshed by their Christmas/winter break a few might be inspired to make a contribution to the issue. We could, of course, have pushed the deadline back even further, but this would begin to put our anticipated Sept 2020 publication date at risk. So, for CliFi contributions, mid-Jan is going to be it. I’ve already spoken with one author who was unable to contribute in time, but had almost finished a manuscript for us, so I know we’ve already managed to secure one more contribution by the extension.

Christmas logically does mean that things here at Exchanges will get quiet for a few weeks, at least from myself as I’m spending some of my long banked, rarely expended, vacation days to have a few weeks off. As the only paid member of staff working on the journal, and in a part time capacity at that, I’m always acutely aware that when I’m out of office and away from email, visible activities and communications alike tend to diminish. However, while I’m away this doesn’t mean you can’t talk to someone about the journal or any potential contributions, as many of the Editorial Board will still be contactable during part of the break. However, if you’re looking for a conversation with the Editor-in-Chief, early January is going to be your best bet after Mid-December. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

Meanwhile, behind the scenes preparations are shifting into the penultimate phase for the Cannibalism special issue, expected to see publication in late Jan [1]. We’re close on having enough articles ready to publish, but my intention is to get as many as possible through our editorial and review processes by the end of next month. My thanks, as always, to the editorial team members, authors and reviewers who are helping me make this happen!

In my EIC capacity I’m also currently developing various training, teaching and outreach activities for 2020. A little fewer than would be ideal, due to my limited working hours on the journal, but all the same great opportunities to engage with our local researcher communities on publication matters. I’ll talk more about one of these in particular, scheduled for late Feb 2020, in the new year.

I should also flag up my thanks to Monash Editor, Roy Rozario, who once again helped facilitate a PGR event in Australia last month on behalf of Exchanges. It’s really great when my editors can get involved in these kinds of events, and promote the journal alongside providing input to the professional development of their local research communities. I’m hopeful we’ll see more of these around campus, and the world, in 2020.

For now though, it’s back to the day job and updating myself on the progress of all the manuscripts we have currently under scrutiny and development! Don’t forget, we have two other open calls for papers – (1) on any topic from any discipline with no deadline and (2) one deadlined for 1st May 2020 for papers on the theme of Falsehoods, Misinterpretations & Factual Divergence. Get in touch or read the webpages if you want to know more.

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[1] Or just possibly, due to strike delays, early Feb. But we’ll have to see how things are progressing in the new year.


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