All 7 entries tagged Exchanges
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May 08, 2019
Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/issue/view/25
Regular readers will have already spotted it, but last week marked our biannual publication of the latest issue of Exchanges (vol 6.2). My thanks as always to all contributors, reviewers and editors alike. While it was never our intention, for the most part there’s a rather eastern focus to the articles in the issue. Aspects of life and work in Greece, Indonesia, Vietnam and China are all the focus of a number of articles, which I think is fantastic in terms of my hopes towards increasing Exchanges’ international scope. We’ve not forgotten work closer to home, as there’s an article from and about an event here at Warwick in the pages too.
There’s always a sense of satisfaction and regret when we publish a new issue. Satisfaction, as it represents the publicly visible cumulation of the past 6 months of behind the scenes work. Regret, because there are always those articles which are so close to competition but don’t make it in time for the publication deadline. In the previous issue, I quite literally had an article completed and signed off by the author on the day of publication. In that case, the author was lucky as I had enough time to rework the issue and include it in the pages. This time, perhaps more thankfully for myself, there wasn’t a repeated late delivery. None of the remaining articles my editorial team are still working away on at the moment are quite ready for publication, although with any luck, many of them should be completed over the next month or so.
Incidentally, transit time of articles from submission to publication, remains one aspect of our journal publication processes that remains extremely variable. Some articles are well prepared by authors, favourably received by external reviewers and relatively straight-forward to copyedit. Some need a lot more heavy-lifting by authors and editors in terms of language, syntax, content and formatting or are more challenging to move through the reviewing process in a timely manner. I think our recent record for identifying scholars willing to review an article was 22 people approached, making reviewing a process which takes a lot of time and effort by the editorial team before reviewers even commence their work. I’ll confess the speed at which authors respond and action requests for revisions is the other of the two biggest factors, in terms of how soon we can get a new article to publication.
To illustrate this practically, one of the articles this issue is actually a relatively recent submission, and was blessed by responsive reviewers and author alike, along with some top-notch editorial work by one of my team. I wish every article we accept for publication could have such an easy journey. Conversely, at least one of the other articles had a far longer traversal through pre-publication. Regrettably some articles do take longer to reach the endpoint, but be assured, we do everything possible at Exchanges HQ to expediate their publication journeys. We encourage all our contributors to do likewise.
Of course, there is the slight artificiality of twice-yearly publication dates, at least in part a result of the software but also our own preferred approaches to issue construction. Part of me keeps considering if there are ways in which we could revise this approach and build issues up as articles become publication ready. I remain unconvinced, given the volume of submissions we currently have to the title and the editorial labour available to us, that this would convey sufficient advantages over our current system. Then again, never say never to shifting the pattern of how Exchanges appears. Were we to become a much more favoured destination for scholarly outputs than we currently are, then, well, I think the time might then be ripe for a rethink.
In the meantime, please enjoy the latest issue, and let us know any comments, thoughts, suggestions or indeed article proposals you may have for the next one.
April 11, 2019
Today marks the one-year anniversary since I took over running the Exchanges journal as its Managing Editor-in-Chief. Hence, I thought it’d be appropriate to take a look back at what’s occurred during in that time, along with casting my gaze upon the road ahead.
The past year has seen two issues of Exchanges published, as might be expected. Perhaps more excitingly, it saw shift in the journal’s title as part of a ‘conscious-uncoupling’ from the Warwick brand. As our statistics show, the vast majority of articles published in Exchanges have historically originated from Warwick based or associated scholars. That’s nothing of which to be ashamed though. In fact, I continue to be delighted by the number of local scholars who’ve chosen to publish with us, and I hope to welcome many more contributions from them in the months ahead Nevertheless, going forward, our Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal brand makes plain our global ambition for readers and contributors far more than the title’s original name. Revising Exchange’s full title name was one of the earliest changes I introduced, and I’m happy to say one which I remain deeply satisfied I made.
Meanwhile, in the wider world we’ve had the rise of the Plan S  initiative from research funders, representing the strongest effort yet to force compliance with an open access publication norm. There are many issues or concerns over the impact of the plan, and almost as many detractors, naysayers and counters often located in the commercial publishing sector. Nevertheless, Plan S is undoubtably one of the biggest potential game changers within the academic publishing sector, certainly in the UK since 2012’s Finch Report . That said there remains much which remains uncertain or unknown, a theme Prof Martin Eve highlighted at this week’s UKSG conference in Telford . As the publishing lead of a scholar-led open access journal, Plan S is naturally a development I’m keeping a close eye on. Even if largely Exchanges already meets with the requirements…or at least as they’re currently understood.
I guess as a journal hosted at a UK university, I can’t avoid mentioning the B word. Brexit is something we British-based scholars can’t help but fret over, with its potential impacts on funding, partnerships, student intake and opportunities. I am pleased to say, in line with the IAS’ global ethos, over the past year the journal has continued to make links with scholars across Europe and further afield. Whatever Brexit’s outcome, this increasing international engagement is without a doubt something that’ll be continuing as long as I’m running the journal!
In a somewhat related development, the past year has also seen changes in and an increased internationalisation of Exchanges Editorial Board. There’s been the departure to pastures new of a half-dozen of valued past editorial team members, but our ranks have swollen with nine new members of the Board. Not to mention only yesterday the introduction of our first three assistant editors too, as I broaden the idea and reenvisage practically what it means to be a member of the Exchanges team.
Behind the scenes there’s also been a shift in how the board works with myself as Editor-in-chief, largely down to my more consultative managerial demeanour. I’ve also created a series of evolving supporting materials for the Editorial Board, demarcating their roles and responsibilities more clearly, alongside providing more accurate guidance in how to perform their editorial duties. Anecdotally, the editorial team members seem to have relished these progressive moves, which has pleased me considerably. I’ve undoubtably learned and benefitted even more so from the professional relationships I’ve forged through working with them. I hope they’ve also benefitted from my increased professionalisation of journal operations, procedures and policies – things I strongly believe are vital to Exchanges’ long-term sustainability.
One of the reasons why I’ve believed it’s important to provide greater support for my editors’ practice, is because behind the scenes we’ve had various improvements to the OJS (open journal system) platform that Exchanges runs on. Generally, I suspect these enhancements won’t have been visible to readers and authors, but for those of us working on the journal, they’ve helped introduce some much-needed new functionality alongside streamlining other elements. It’s (sad to say) not a perfect system, and my technical wish list continues to be a living document that’ll I’ll be using to try and instigate further developments in the system over the next year. Chief among these, I don’t mind mentioning, are better author metrics and better integrated multi-media. Keep your eye on this blog for news about this!
More visibly long-time readers will probably have spotted that one of my early endeavours was to overhaul, review and revise every single piece of information on Exchanges’ websites. It was clear to me from day one that this was long overdue, and served to remove numerous errors, oversights and in some cases directly contradictory material. I’m (slightly) hampered by the OJS system in terms of how much additionally functionality I can add to the journal’s website, but hopefully it’s a much richer resource especially for prospective authors and peer-reviewers.
Continuing the more tangible developments of the past year have been the numerous occasions when I’ve stepped out from behind my desk to engage with the early career researcher community at workshops, conferences and events. Personally, I have a deep love of teaching and public speaking, and so I have been utterly delighted to participate in these occasions. My mantra of ‘any time, anywhere’ when it comes to speaking about academic publishing, exchanges or scholarly communication remains at the heart of my personal professional practice. Hence, I can only encourage further invites globally to speak on behalf of the IAS and the journal.
Perhaps principally among these was my work with Warwick’s PAIS (Politics and International Studies) department in co-facilitating their academic writing and peer review summer school. Not only was this a fantastic opportunity to promote the journal, and discuss potential article submissions with emerging scholars, but it served as an impetus for revisions and improvements to Exchanges peer-review guidance and policy. I’m happy to say, that these are now more robust than ever, and importantly, more closely aligned with best academic praxis. I’m also proud that this event led to the publication of an extensive work on peer review by myself , which I hope early career scholars will find invaluable in supporting their own efforts.
Finally, there’s also been a rash of other efforts on the marketing and awareness front. The launch of our various associated social media channels (including this blog, twitter and Linked.in) have given our contributors and readers new ways to hear about developments with the journal, alongside highlighting individual publications. Our ever-popular Exchanges black pencils (have you got one?) too have been distributed far and wide, turning up on at least four different continents thanks to the efforts of the Editorial Board. And of course, that’s not including the various videos, posters and flyers which have served to raise the journal’s presence within the early career researcher community.
As you can see, it’s been a busy and eventual year for Exchanges and myself as it’s Editor-in-Chief. Looking ahead, we’ve a new issue coming up in a few weeks (my third!), and another regular one scheduled for late autumn too. Moreover, we’ve also got the preparations for the oft-mentioned special issues, which looking at the abstract proposals from the prospective authors for the first, looks likely to be exhilaratingly insightful contributions to the interdisciplinary discourse. I’m also booked to speak about academic publishing in the summer at one international conference already. So, here’s to a prosperous, scholarly and eventful Year Two for me and Exchanges!
 Fun fact, the S stands for shock
 Finch, J., 2012. Report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings – the Finch Group. London: BIS/Research Information Network.
 Eve, M.P., 2019. Plan S: Origins, Developments, Speed. In: UKSG 42nd Annual Conference and Exhibition, 8 April - 10 Apr 2019, Telford, England. (Unpublished).
 Johnson, G.J., Tzanakou, C., & Ionescu, I., 2019. An Introduction to Peer Review. Coventry: PAIS, Warwick. http://www.plotina.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Introduction-to-Peer-Review-Guide.pdf
December 12, 2018
In my last post I talked about interviews, or the Conversations with, series of articles that we publish in Exchanges. In today’s post, I’m going to talk about the other kind of article which stands alongside the more research intensive pieces in the journal: critical reflections. According to our author guide a critical reflection article comprises:
Focussed, critical appraisals typically covering an area of emerging research, a key event or a crucial new text. (1,000-3,000 words).
That’s not a long explanation for what are actually highly readable and insightful articles, so let me expand a little here. When people approach us with a critical appraisal article, most commonly they want to write about an event they have recently attended. This is a great start, as we are all interested in reading about conferences, workshops, seminars and symposia others have attended which (for whatever reasons) we didn’t have the chance to. However, so far, so much a blog post. Where the critical reflection article differs is that they are not intended to be a simple narrative of what was said and/or who spoke. Yes, this sort of contextual information is still an important part of the content, but where the critical reflection article takes a step forward towards being a more academic piece of writing is right there in the title.
Context - What are they?
In short, these pieces are supposed to entail a critical reflection about an event that is to say for example, what was it about the context, content and theme, which was of value or importance? Did the author agree with everything which was said or, from their own scholarly perspective, were there aspects that they wanted to take issue with or even wholesale challenge? Ideally too, there needs to be an element of how the event changed the author’s perspectives, thinking or knowledge. Essentially, how did it have an impact upon or affected them. Incorporating these evaluative and self-reflective elements is what changes an ‘event report’ from a tasty but ultimately unsatisfying intellectual snack, into a gourmet and rewarding scholarly treat. In short, this is what makes the paper a critical reflection.
Now, in the prior paragraph I’ve been writing about critical reflections of events. However, you will have noticed Exchanges is not only interested in critical reflections on events, but on essentially any reflections on aspect of scholarship. Typically, what should stimulate the writing of a critical reflection is an intellectual intervention or encounter of any kind. I’ll acknowledge events are the most common or perhaps most prominent such circumstances. Yet, other artefacts or circumstances can move us as much, if not more sometimes. For example, you might have spoken with a particular author, or read a lot of their work lately, which has stimulated your thinking in new directions. Alternatively, you might have read a particularly challenging paper, report or monograph which has caused you to reconsider your own research practice. Writing a critical reflection concerning these ‘events’ can be therefore as valuable and timely a piece of written scholarship as writing about a literal event. Personally, with our engaged, broad and interdisciplinary readership in mind, I’d like to see far more critical reflections about non-conference type events appearing in our pages.
The last kind of critical reflection is perhaps less easy to predefine, at least structurally, and that’s the opinion piece. For example, as a scholar there might not be a singular specific event or work you’re looking to critique. What you want to offer instead is your own, unique insight into an aspect of your discipline. In this respect, here is where Exchanges can be a most valuable publication destination especially for those scholars in the STEM subjects, where opinion pieces are less commonly accepted in major journals. Certainly, many major journals may perceive early career researchers have more ‘limited’ disciplinary experience and insight to offer, and may decline to publish such submissions as a matter of course. Here at Exchanges, we’d respectfully disagree with this stance, as per our mission, we strongly believe that new, original and insightful thought which critically reflects on a field can emerge from scholars at any stage in their career. Hence, as Editor-in-Chief I’d strongly encourage anyone who’d like to ‘make a scholarly statement’ about their field, to consider writing it as a critical reflection for us.
Criticial Refelction Advantages
One advantage of the critical reflection piece by the way, is that they are mercifully brief pieces of work, which means they can be written, edited and ready for publication quite rapidly. They can be almost as brief as this blog post in length, in fact! Naturally, the manuscript should include the context and set the scene, as with all our articles, remember you are writing for a readership which doesn’t automatically have a deep familiarity with your field. Nevertheless, this should diminish the depth or breadth of scholarship that can be include. Have a look at these recent examples, for an idea of the sort of things you might write about.
Eden, A.A., 2018. Enchanted Community: Reflections on Art, the Humanities and Public Engagement. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v6i1.252
Mulcahy, S., 2018. Dissents and Dispositions. Reflections on the Conference of the Law, Literature and Humanities Association of Australasia. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v5i2.247
Crealock-Ashurst, B., et al., 2018. A Critical Reflection on the 28th International Biology Olympiad. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v5i1.221
Messin, L.J., & Meadows, J.C., 2018. Science for All. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v4i1.153
Incidentally, a critical reflection can also act as a promotional piece. Not only for the author, but for institutions, research groups and projects, looking to raise their profiles. I really do believe these are exactly the sort of article which can really help to get a scholar noted. Hence, critically appraising some work you are intimately involved in, not only helps to develop your own career, but can serve as a valuable adjunct to other ongoing efforts.
So, there you go. The critical appraisal, a valuable and relatively easy article type you can publish with Exchanges. And if you’re reading this and thinking you’ve got a great idea for one, either speak to myself or any of the Editorial Board about it. Or better yet, get writing and submitting – there’s every possibility critical reflections submitted in the first few months of 2019 can see publication in our spring issue of Exchanges! (possibly!)
Finally, on a personal note, I’m signing off as the Managing Editor-in-Chief for the Christmas break today. So can I wish all our readers, reviewers and authors (old and new) a most festive, relaxing and perhaps critically reflective break!
November 06, 2018
Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/issue/view/19
The Institute for Advanced Study, and myself on behalf of the Editorial Board, is delighted to announce a new issue of Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journalhas been published. The autumn issue contains a number of articles, including some addressing the theme of Narrating, Nation, Sovereignty and Territory.
Exchanges, in case you didn't know, showcases peer-reviewed research articles, critical reviews and interviews with significant disciplinary figures, written primarily by early career fellows across all disciplines. Managed and published by IAS at Warwick since 2013, the Senior Editor (that'll be me) is always happy to speak to prospective authors or scholars with an interest in publishing with us. There is an open call for submissions 365 days a year.
To read the articles, contact us or find out how you can contribute to future issues go to: https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk
There's also a general call for papers you might like to read too: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/ias/activities/exchanges/cfp-exchanges_nov_2018.pdf
June 19, 2018
Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/announcement/view/13
Following the latest issue’s recent launch, the Editorial Board for Exchanges is delighted to introduce our next call for papers. For the spring 2019 issue we’re looking for submissions from across the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities which address the intertwined topics of division and unification. You can read all about what we’re looking for in the official call notification.
I suspect there’s a lot of healthy debate and discourse around one or both of these twin topics within every discipline, and I really look forward to reading the submissions from authors choosing to tackle them.
Naturally, alongside these we warmly welcome non-themed submissions as well - so if you were looking to address a completely unrelated area of research, then do please consider us as a potential destination for your papers.
June 14, 2018
A few weeks ago, I was approached by a fellow scholar over in Warwick’s School of Law, who was running a conference on Plant Variety Protection. Now, while I have considerable knowledge in the field of IP, I confess the biological side of things is not one of my strengths. Thankfully what they were enquiring about, was whether I’d like to come along to the conference and speak for a few minutes to the delegates about Exchanges and what we do as a research publication. Naturally, because I will always jump at the chance to speak to people about scholar-led publishing, this was a fabulous opportunity which I was very keen to attend. That is, until I checked my calendar and found I had an unskippable day-long conference planning meeting in Birmingham wearing my Mercian Collaboration hat the very same day.
Having sent my regretful apologies and an offer of some printed literature, it was at that point my delightful colleague suggested if I couldn’t be present, would I perhaps like to send a video along about Exchanges for their delegates. Notably, there had been a video about Exchanges produced in the very early days, which had remained on the front of the IAS’s Exchanges page since then. To be fair, while clearly well intended at the time, today it was pretty outdated content, and certainly not something I wanted to reuse in 2018. I’ll confess one of the first things I did when I took over the running of the title was to take the video link down, as part of my initial re-write of the pages.
Hence, this approach proved to be the spur to action I needed! Having more than a decade long heritage of producing videos, podcasts and audio-plays in my professional and personal life, audio-visual media isn’t a medium I’m unfamiliar with producing. Moreover, I’ve also been having some initial discussions within the IAS (Institute for Advanced Study) about how we could incorporate, explore or exploit visual media in some way under the Exchanges banner. Very early days at the moment on this initiate, so I can’t as of yet go into more details, but as and when, I’ll talk about it more here. Consequently, producing a brief video about Exchanges would provide a handy proof of concept for our plans, along with providing a useful additional promotional tool.
With any luck the video will have had its world-premiere today to a (hopefully) engaged audience, and I’ll be adding it to the IAS Exchanges pages next week. But that doesn’t mean I can’t give my loyal blog reading audience a sneaky preview. So, here it is, the snappily titled Exchanges Promotional Video Summer 2018. As always, I’d be interested in your thoughts about this, and how video can be used within a quality assured research dissemination environment.
June 08, 2018
Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/issue/view/17
I’m delighted to announce the (slightly delayed) launch of the newest issue of the Exchanges journal. The cause of delay has been (mostly) down to your friendly neighbourhood Senior Editor getting to grips with the systems, workflows and people who contribute to making Exchanges into a reality. That, and of course getting our authors, editors and reviewers all to the right point in our production and quality assurance processes, where I felt confident enough there was sufficient quality material to publish. The learning curve at times has been somewhat steeper than I expected, but yes, there is a sense of minor personal satisfaction rolling the issue out. Now comes the promotional side of things, as I work towards raising awareness of the new issue across our readership old and new.
As getting this issue live has filled the majority of my work-time thoughts for the past couple of months, it’s a refreshing point to have reached, as for the first time since I started working on the title, I feel I can sit back for a few moments and reflect. Naturally, next comes the pre-production on the next issue, although it is fair to say in many cases this is already more advanced than the material was when I came on board in mid-April. There’s also now the big advantage of having personally gone through the publication and production process once, and consequently amassing a much deeper understanding of how we ‘make’ Exchanges on a practical level.
Not that myself and the Editorial Board are about to rest on our laurels. Far from it! Now I’ve put the issue to bed, alongside tackling the revision of our authorial guidance and support, I’m rather hoping to be able to dedicate some more time and thought to thinking. Thinking, that is, about some of the more experimental and evolutionary elements of what we could do with Exchanges: both as a journal title and an intellectual brand. As always, I’ll be discussing elements of these thoughts in these very blog pages.