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September 27, 2023

Special Issue Call Launch (Almost) Closes Research Culture Conference

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

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.

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

Endnotes

[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.


July 04, 2023

New Special Issue in Research Cultures Announced

Writing about web page https://warwick.ac.uk/research/supporting-talent/research-culture-at-warwick/

A new special issue project represents an exciting long-term collaboration between the journal and Research Culture programme.

We are delighted to let you know that we have partnered with Warwick’s Research Culture programme and the forthcoming Research Cultures Forum to produce a special issue. This issue, which we hope will mark the first of a series of annual collaborations, aims to comprise a range of critical reflections drawing on the sessions and speakers contributing to the conference. The conference itself is to be held Mon 25th September 2023, details of which can be found via the link above.

One reason I am especially delighted to announce this collaboration, is due to the centricity of research culture work at Warwick at the moment. Personally speaking, research cultures were the area which triggered my PhD studies a decade ago – in my case relating to open access publishing habitus of scholars in the UK.

Naturally myself and the rest of the Editorial Board are looking forward enormously to working closely with the Research Cultures team over the coming months. With any luck, the issue itself should be out in the first half of 2024, and naturally I’ll be updating readers about progress both here, in the journal editorials and our monthly newsletter too.

Meanwhile in the background, the reviewers, authors, associate editors and myself are working feverishly to bring you the long-anticipated Pluralities of Translation special issue in the latter half of 2023. More concrete news on that exciting issue, as soon as I know more.

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For more on special issues and how they come about - visit our IAS pages. Or to see the past and future special issues programme, see the journal site itself.


June 15, 2023

Planning Peer–Reviewer Development & Future Training

Discussions and planning point towards a potentially exciting new endeavour in peer-review training for active researchers.

Yesterday, on a sunny drenched forecourt of Warwick’s fabulous arts building I had the pleasure of a lengthy and exploratory chat with my sometime collaborator – and collage as research expert – Dr Harriet Richmond. Over the last year I’ve co-facilitated a session for Harriet’s early stage researcher programme, around the areas of peer-review and editing, and it is always a pleasure to talk over professional matters with her. Albeit with the occasional segue into tangentially related topics too! I should note, each of the sessions this year was a wonderful and eye-opening opportunity to exchange insights with the delegates around their own publishing experiences – and my thanks to them all for their contributions.

Yesterday’s meeting arose on the back of these sessions, but more broadly is looking towards something which is loosely or even more directly aligned with Warwick’s increasing focus on developing effective research cultures [1]. What we were discussing was in fact our plans for future publishing related training – and specifically that relating to the topic of peer-review. One thing that’s been evident in our discussions with delegates this past year around peer-review is how clearly there is a need to offer some form of development or training for researchers, especially those earlier in their careers. However, that doesn’t mean they’re the sole potential audience!

Most of we scholars, when we perform peer-review early in our career, and are especially lucky will find a friendly editor willing to spare a few moments to offer some guidance. More likely many of us will be left reading a journal’s online reviewers’ guide and simply conducting ourselves as professionally as we can. I can say as a journal editor over the years the variance between practices I’ve witnessed from peer-reviewers has been considerable, although virtually everyone who’s contributed to the journal has risen to the challenge admirably.

What Harriet and I are thinking about here is producing a training session – or sessions – which takes a broader look at the wider realm [2] of peer-review. I should add, that currently the whole enterprise is very embryonic at best, and the focus of our discussions yesterday was to find if such an enterprise would be worthwhile, and what elements we’d both like to explore within it. Hence, yesterday's meeting saw us bounce around our outline ideas, explore a bit about how we might seek to formulate an effective session and especially identify those key areas we think would comprise a valuable, impactful and interesting session. Thus, while currently absolutely nothing is set in stone – not even how I’m writing peer-review [3] –as I said in my note to Harriet this morning the session clearly has ‘legs’. That is to say, a strong potential to be well-received by our researcher community.

Thankfully though, we’re looking to develop this session – as part of a broader envisaged developmental programme – over the next year rather than rush to present it after the summer. Partly, this is because as reflexive practitioner scholars, Harriet and I want to let the content develop organically – something which requires time, introspection and internal debate. Additionally, it also gives us both space and time to perform some background research into the literature and praxis of peer-review. As this is something I’ve been meaning to give over some serious time to for a while, it is nice to have some greater motivation now!

I anticipate too I may well ‘field-test’ some elements of the potential session within my own anticipated [4] training schedule over the next 12 months. This will be useful in using live subjects – sorry, delegates – to help refine, refocus and augment the content and emphasis of the session to better meet scholar’s authentic needs.

As always, watch this space – and elsewhere – for more news on this exciting and I interesting proposal as it develops. Naturally, if anyone reading wants to share their thoughts on peer-review training, related dynamics and normative practices, you are warmly invited to use the comments below. Alternatively, if you prefer, drop me a line and arrange a chat as I am always happy to hear from those reviewers on the front line about their experiences: especially those reviewing for titles which aren’t Exchanges…

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Endnotes

[1] Watch out for something exciting relating to this in an announcement next week.

[2] Dare I say field, in a Bourdieulian sense? Yes, I probably can.

[3] Peer-review or peer review? Is it a personal preference or should I be following strict grammatical rules? Your answers on a postcard too…

[4] My event, workshop and teaching diary for academic year 23/24 is looking very spartan currently – I’ve only one event fixed. So, I’m open to offers or requests…


March 03, 2020

Special Issue Call Announced Nerds, Culture and Loneliness

Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/announcement/view/20

Hopefully by now you’ll have seen the announcement from Exchanges about our latest call for papers. This time we’re teaming up with SOAS and the University of Oxford to produce an issue with papers which ‘explore fictional representations of nerds and loneliness across various media and culture’. Naturally, those of you who know me in real life, know this is a topic very close to my heart and lived-experience. Unlike earlier calls, we’re only seeking abstracts in the first instance (300 words by 6th April), so hopefully this’ll net us a rich range of potential contributors.

If you’ve been keeping track, this represents the third of our special issues we’ve formally launched preparations towards: with the recently published Cannibalism issue being the first and the pending CliFi issue the second. Interestingly, with each of these issues we’ve followed a slightly different pattern for submissions. For Cannibalism, we had a preselected number of authors who had already contributed to a conference, who were directly invited to submit. For CliFi, while we were associated with last year’s European Utopian Society’s conference in Prado, the call for contributions was very much open to any scholar globally. This time we’re almost blending these prior approaches, by starting with a call for abstracts, which will be followed by a workshop event (in early 2021), and then expecting contributors to the workshop to contribute a paper to Exchanges’ special issue.

In many respects, I think this last model may be my favourite, as it embeds Exchanges in the workshop processes and discourse from the outset. It’s not to say it’ll be the only model we’ll use in the future. I’d be lying if I suggested that. Certainly though, given a free hand with future collaborative special issues, I’d hope we can emulate as many elements as possible of this approach, as I believe it’ll serve to offer dividends in thematic coherency and editorial efficacy alike.

I should note at this point, my big thanks to Dr Filippo Cervelli (SOAS) and Dr Benjamin Schaper (Oxford) who came to me with this proposal a few months ago, and following some enthusiastic discussions on both sides, have helped guide us to this point. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what sort of material this call elicits, and working with Filippo and Ben over the months to come.


November 28, 2019

Special Issues are Like Buses

Behind the scenes at Exchanges right now we’re working hard on preparing for the launch of our first ever special issue, scheduled for very early in 2021. We’re also on the cusp of closing the call for contributions to our second special issue, but it’s not too late (yet) to submit! Meanwhile, I had the pleasure this week to travel down to meet with a couple of friendly academics from SOAS and the University of Oxford (hello Ben, hello Filippo), who wanted to propose a third special issue of Exchanges. This is rather exciting as while we’ve been thoroughly enjoying working with the Warwick and Monash scholars in preparation for the first two special issues, this time the approach has come from outside of Warwick and the IAS’ direct collaborating institutions.

We’re still in the process of finalising the exact theme, although I can reveal that broadly it will fall into the area of ‘interdisciplinary representations and evolutions of narratives of loneliness and nerds’. As a somewhat geeky nerd at heart [1], this rather appealed to me on a personal level. Moreover, the underlying plans to tie this proposed issue into a mid-2020 symposium and ongoing research work from an intrinsically diverse research community forms an especially welcome prospect. Diversity, in terms of geographical origin, research domain and seniority are also another core component of the proposed issue, which should add a wonderful diversity of voice, insight and opinion to the issue.

Incidentally, for Exchanges, working with these scholars absolutely resonates with our desire to continue to evolve away from our early Warwick-centric roots, and become a more integral part of the national and international early-career researcher publishing culture [2].

There’s also the additional bonus, that we will likely be able to engage with external post-graduate researcher communities to join us as associate editors for this issue. Hence, this very much matches our second core mission, to enable developmental experience within scholar-led publishing practice for emerging scholars. It also answers our third, and oft unnoticed, mission – to experiment and explore new publishing models and patterns that are attractive to our contributor community. Someone should really remind me in the new year to get round to formally publishing more about our experiences in this domain.

For Exchanges, this development chimes agreeably with our shift in 2019 towards publishing special issues. We have, in the past, published themed sections, but I strongly believe through offering these focussed individual issues, we’re witnessing the slow evolution of the journal into its second phase of existence. As our esteemed Institute Director, Prof Peter Scott said this new development is very much ‘Taking things to another level again’. It’ll also keep me surprisingly and gainfully busy alongside the day to day running of the title, I can assure you.

That said, it is currently early days for this third special issue. Indeed Ben and Filippo’s anticipated timescales are such that we’re likely looking towards a 2021 publication date, something which seems a vast time away right now, but doubtless will be upon us all before we know it. I’ll continue to update our readership and contributor community of developments as we move in to 2020.

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[1] Something painfully obvious I’m sure to anyone who’s met me in the flesh, or listened to one of my (near) countless science fiction podcasts and videos!

[2] I include those scholars I’ve worked with on the other two special issues as well, it’s been a wonderful experience for myself as well as (I hope) for them.


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