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June 09, 2022

PlumX, Exchanges and You

Writing about web page https://plumanalytics.com/

Since the start of 2022 the Plum Analytics module (AKA PlumX) has been installed on Exchanges. You might have noticed on each of the articles’ landing pages, below the native download statistics, a new little graphic. If you haven’t noticed – don’t worry, you’re not alone! I only discovered this week that a plug-in to my Chrome browser meant I’d not been seeing these metrics myself – luckily a bit of testing means I now know PlumX is actually working well.

PlumX Example

If you’ve not come across the concept of altmetrics before, they’re loosly classed as alternatives to the traditional bibliometrics (e.g. impact factor and h-index) that many scholars are more familiar instead. They’re intended as, in part, an alternative perspective to these or perhaps compliment to these ‘hard’ metrics, and provide an insight into how and where people are talking about or interacting with publications. As PlumAnalytics, the creator of the app describe it ‘research output[s]…leave “footprints” to show the way back to who is interested in the research and why’.

Hence, for example you’ll find an altmetric app like PlumX tracks things such as social media interactions, online news media or online reference managers which relate to how an article is being used, discussed or referenced in a much more holistic sense than traditional bibliometric factors.

PlumX is one such altmetric system then, which offers authors new ways to see how people are engaging with their research. The widget we have is enabled across the Warwick University Press family of journals, so you should see it on our companion titles too. The PlumX tool draws on dozens of metrics mined from the open Web.

Hence, now you can learn a lot more about how a paper is interesting to other scholars than a simple download metric alone!


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!

---

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


November 15, 2021

Session Reflections – Educational Podcasting Panel

Follow-up to Educational Podcasting Panel from Exchanges - Editorial Reflections from Warwick's Interdisciplinary Journal

I am pleased to report the Accolade session on education podcasting, organised in collaboration with Exchanges, certainly exceeded my expectations. All of my panellists were as expected excellent contributors and I am naturally deeply grateful for the time and enthusiasm they provided over the hour-long discussion. I was, perhaps, even more satisfied in how I did not have to work my way through many of the pre-prepared panel questions, as those which arose from the floor came so thick and fast. As a consequence, I think the debate was more dynamic and wide ranging along with hopefully being more directly applicable to the audience’s interests.

The session’s format, such as it was, featured introductions from each of the panellists, highlighting their own take on podcasting. What was unexpectedly delightful from a contextual as well as a performative standpoint were the ways each introduction seemed to seamlessly flow into the next. I would love to suggest this luscious flow was directly the outcome of my careful curation of the panel members. However, I would counter it was most likely primarily a serendipitous outcome from gathering an assemblage of knowledge enthusiasts in one place and time. Nevertheless, the manner in which the panellists resonated with each other reinforced nicely why each was there alongside demonstrating from the outset how they would be contributing different perspectives on higher educational podcasting within education.

For my part, I was happy to have a few moments to chip in the odd comment, although from the outset I made it clear I was there as a ringmaster rather than performer for once. Understandably, keeping the conversations managed took up a little more of my main focus, additionally perhaps diminishing the pressure to contribute anything myself!

Regretfully, such was my focus on enabling the conversation I wasn’t taking any notes of the debate. However, thanks to the joy of a Teams based discussion, I was able to capture most of the questions asked. Hopefully, were you not present, the reader will be able to gain an appreciation of the discussions that were consequently sparked through the selection below:

How did you get into educational podcasting, as a creator, user or listener?

In what ways has podcasting played a role in your educational or research practices?

Do you have to pay to upload podcasts to, for example, Spotify?

Can we talk more about the technologies, platforms and techniques for creating a podcast?

Are people willing to listen to podcasts on multiple platforms, or are there ways to distribute them more widely from their original, native, upload host?

Have you experienced any barriers to introducing podcasts as part of the curriculum or within modules? E.g. as a form of assessment, as well as an information resource.

How can you make a podcast with a guest who is not in the same room as you? Is it best to interview via video and extract the sound, or are there other ways to capture good quality audio/performances?

What's the best length for a podcast? Especially in the light of guidance for recording 'long' lectures to chunk them into 10-20 minute segments.

What is your favourite podcast to listen to, and why does it appeal?

From the comments on the day, it was clear the session was very positively received by the audience, which is a credit to everyone who was involved. Hence, I think everyone who attended - including panellists - felt they gained something of interest from the discussions.

Additionally, I am exceptionally pleased in the way the Exchangesbrand has once again been able to be associated with the organisation and hosting of a useful workshop session. Hopefully this is not the last we will hear of podcasting within Accolade or indeed Exchanges itself! Perhaps we will be able to return to this topic afresh in a year's time and see what other lessons or experiences we all have to share by then.

Useful Related Resources:

A few links were shared during the session which included:


November 09, 2021

Educational Podcasting Panel

Writing about web page https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/ias/postdocs/accolade/calendar/autumn/

This Thursday I’ve the pleasure of hosting an Accolade Roundtable panel on educational podcasting. During the session invited panellists will share their personal experiences and perceptions on how they have engaged with podcasting within various higher educational and research contexts. Following this introductory exploration, the floor will be opened for participants to ask questions, add comments or share their own experiences with podcasting. The majority of the session though will be shaped through participant insights, comments and questions.

Hosting this panel naturally stems from my experiences creating and hosting the Exchanges Discourse podcast, but for once I’ve the pleasure of sitting back and let my invited guests hold forth. A bless’d relief for those who might be tired on my voice, perhaps, but more importantly an exciting opportunity to hear lots of different views on podcasting as a medium for professional development, research outreach and educational impact.

I am deeply grateful to the various panellists I reached out to who were able to participate, and a few who weren’t as they helped steer me towards others who were able to attend. For the session our panellists will include: Arun Ulahannan (Institute for Future Transport and Cities, Coventry University), Jessica Humphreys (Academic Development Centre, Warwick), Jim Judges (IT Services, Warwick), Julia Gauly (Warwick Medical School), Naomi Waltham-Smith (Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, Warwick) and Rebecca Stone (Faculty of Arts, Warwick).

Some of this wonderful group are podcast creators and hosts, some have participated in podcasts as guests, and most if not all have found ways to incorporate, apply or embrace podcasting within their professional practice. While the panel is only an hour long, with so many engaging and interesting personalities on the panel, I suspect it will be a fun and informative session. I’m currently sitting here writing some provocations to get the conversation flowing, but I suspect I won’t need to use many of these before the audience start firing off their own inquiries. At least, that has always been my past experience of chairing Accolade sessions.

Will we inspire members of the audience to take up their own podcasting mics? Perhaps, although this is not the principal aim! Nevertheless, what the session does hope to provide is for everyone to gain a better understanding of educational podcasting principles, techniques and practice. At the same time, I would hope the audience and panellists alike will develop a greater appreciation for how, when and where podcasting can enhance pedagogical and research practices. Moreover, if nothing else, the delegates will become more aware of the ways in which podcasting can form a component of their career development strategy. And perhaps along the way we’ll all emerge with an awareness of some great academic podcasts we can all enjoy and from which we can profit.


June 10, 2021

New episode: 6 (or so) Ways to Get Involved with Exchanges

Writing about web page https://anchor.fm/exchangesias/episodes/6-or-so-Ways-to-Get-Involved-with-Exchanges-e12ha66

A brief new episode of our podcast, which takes a look at some of the ways to get involved. Enjoy!

https://anchor.fm/exchangesias/episodes/6-or-so-Ways-to-Get-Involved-with-Exchanges-e12ha66

In this episode, our resident Editor-in-Chief talks about 6(ish) ways early career and established researchers can get involved in our scholar-led journal. While some are unique to our host institution and our partner organisations, there’s still more than enough different routes to contribute to the journal’s mission, while enriching your own career prospects too. Find out how – in this episode!



May 12, 2020

Introducing the Editorial Podcast

Writing about web page https://anchor.fm/ExchangesIAS


I am delighted today to introduce a companion to this blog, with the roll out of The Exchanges Discourse podcast. The first episode of this is now live for your listening pleasure and edification. You can find the podcast on a number of platforms.

Anchor | Breaker | Google Podcasts | RadioPublic | Spotify

Over the coming months we hope the podcast will be able to include discussions beyond those issuing from my own golden tones, but it is early days for now. There will be a second episode for the end of the month, talking about the kinds of material the journal takes.

We also welcome questions or suggestions for topics for us to cover. So, if you've a burning question you wanted to hear about from Exchanges, from the auditory comfort of your nearest headphones/earbuds/smart speaker - now's your chance!


March 24, 2020

Keeping In Touch and Engaged with Exchanges

Good morning Exchanges contributors, readers and wider community. I thought it was worth briefly highlighting the various ways you can engage with Exchanges and our team, especially given the currently complex and changing international situation. Albeit currently, we’re limited to these being all at a distance.

Firstly, and most importantly, for potential authors looking to talk over a submission, then our Editorial Board members can always be contacted for initial discussions (https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/about/editorialTeam). Naturally, you can come straight to myself as Chief Editor, especially if you’ve got something more unusual in mind (e.g. a potential special issue!).

Secondly, if you’re a Linked.In user, and you’re looking to bolster your personal career profile and information on publishing opportunities, then you should join our group (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12162247/). It’s where all the key announcements from Exchanges are regularly posted, and importantly it’s a fairly low traffic group, with maybe a post a week, so you won’t be overwhelmed with information.

Undoubtably, the best way to get with the journal involved is contribute material for future issues. You’ll find our current calls on our announcement pages (https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/announcement). Remember, Exchanges take peer-reviewed articles but also interviews, essays and critical reflections, which while they are still subject to editorial scrutiny before acceptance can see publication faster. They’re also incredibly popular items with our diverse, global audience too, and a great way for new authors to add a publication in a quality title.

We also have a twitter feed: suitable for scholars of all disciplines & interests (http://www.twitter.com/ExchangesIAS). It’ll keep you at the forefront of news, views and opportunities at the journal. Hopefully, you already follow us, but we’re always keen for more early career and post-graduate researchers to join us. We’re stronger together, and it’s a really engaged community we’re building.

Then there’s this blog…which you’re currently reading (https://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/exchangesias/)! Every other week (and more frequently as time allows) our EIC writes about the journal and developments behind the scenes. Comments and discussion are always welcome on our open forum.

It’s worth remembering too, that Exchanges is published through our existence as part of Warwick’s Institute of Advanced Study (https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/ias/). This means there are many other ways to get involved with activities within the IAS and Exchanges, albeit virtually for the time being).

Finally, we’ve also introduced the opportunity to engage with the Editor-in-chief via video conferencing. So, if you talk over publishing matters, opportunities or potential future projects you’d like to work with us on, then you can still talk directly to a friendly face. Get in touch to set up an appropriate time: UK office hours Tue/Thur normally available (https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/about/contact) .

Stay safe, stay strong and stay in touch in these uncertain and extremely challenging times


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