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August 06, 2020

Forthcoming Attractions in 2020/21

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

I thought it would be worth discussing, publicly, where we are with Exchanges, in terms of future journal issues. Those of you who read my editorial in the most recent, and slightly delayed, issue will be aware the pandemic has had some unavoidable impacts on our planned timescales. Hence, I thought rather than leaving this information on a spreadsheet on my machine, it’d be a healthy and productive to share with the wider community.

Oct/Nov 2020 (Issue 8.1): The next issue of Exchanges would normally be published in October. I would dearly like us to continue this tradition, especially following the delayed spring 2020 volume. Naturally, a lot depends on how many articles we have ready by this date. I am hopeful that as scholars have become more acclimatised globally to working under these current difficult conditions, our contributors and editors alike will be more able to deliver in a timely manner. It is notable we’ve already one article ready for publication, and I believe a second one will be ready in the next week or so. This is a significant improvement on where we were at a similar stage for the Spring 2020 issue and suggests we may be able to hit the deadline this time. Naturally, things may yet slow down again with the summer ‘break’ and new academic year affecting academic available writing time, alongside the ongoing pandemic conditions. Nevertheless, I would hope we would see a new issue produced by the end of November at the very latest with how things are progressing currently.

Jan 2021 (Special Issue 8.2: Climate Fiction): If there was one future issue whose production has the been most impacted by lockdown: it is our forthcoming CliFi issue. My associate and full editors have been working diligently behind the scenes, but we’ve hit a number of reviewer and author snags due to the global situation. We had initially targeted September 2020 for this volume to see publication, While there are a handful of papers ready, or close to it, there is as of yet an insufficient corpus of them to call an issue or indeed to make a 100% confident prediction on that issue’s publication date. I have to admit we have lost a couple of manuscripts under consideration for this issue, due to the authors’ personal circumstances requiring them to withdraw their participation. I cannot begin to describe how sympathetic we are to these authors, and wish them every future success, and perhaps a resubmission with us down the line. Nevertheless, for the editorial team members who’ve laboured over these papers, this has been a somewhat disheartening experience. Consequently, after talking it over with the special issue lead, we’ve agreed, with considerable regret, to push this issue’s anticipated publication date back to a likely January 2021 date. Hopefully, this means we will be able to bring together a great issue in the vein [1] of the cannibalism issue at that point.

April 2021 (Issue 8.3): Assuming we keep getting manuscript submissions arriving and passing through review at close to the same rate as normal [2], I would anticipate a regular issue of Exchanges should appear around this time. Naturally, with the pandemic and its devastating disruptive impacts, nothing is certain. All the same, this is the goal line towards which the whole editorial team is working towards.

May 2021 (Special Issue 8.4: Then & Now): This is point at which my prognosticative powers begin to fail. We have commissioned a special issue, in collaboration with Warwick’s Faculty of Art to appear in the first half of 2021 we hope. If the Fates smile upon ourselves and the contributing authors, this might even be an issue which appear sooner than expected. That is, if all the papers are submitted in the timely fashion myself and the special issue leads are hoping. Additionally, given our assumption many of the papers for this issue will need to undergo editorial rather than peer review, this could speed publication processes up considerably. At this stage though, we are still at the stage where we’re talking with potential authors about their submissions, and while I’ve seen a few outlines, I’ve yet to see a single paper even close to a first draft yet. Hence, I can’t make too many exact predictions for now. I am however, acutely aware that I personally need around a month between each new issue coming out to ensure I have sufficient time to deliver on my own editorial due diligence on each new volume’s content. Hence, there may need to be some gentle massaging of the timeline to ensure this and the proceeding expected volume don’t collide.

June/July 2021 (Special Issue 8.5: Lonely Nerds): Like the Then & Now volume, this is at a very early stage, although unlike that volume we went with an open call for abstract contributions. After this closed, the special issue leads selected the best submissions, and hence we’ve commissioned the authors who will be writing for this issue already. Excitingly we had TOO MANY potential submissions to include in this volume, which is a unique position for Exchanges. Unlike the preceding volume, the articles for this issue are largely expected to all be peer reviewed pieces, which means there’s going to be a longer editorial process before they’re publication ready. Although, hopes are high after examining the quality of the submitted abstracts, that we’ll be overseeing the editing of some very exciting, well written and impactful contributions to this special issue. Naturally, once I have the actual draft submitted manuscripts to hand towards the end of 2020, I’ll be ready with a keener idea on the likely issue publication date.

October 2021 (Issue 9.1): Right now, next October might only be 14 months away(!), but it feels like the far, far future, after everything 2020’s thrown at everyone [3]. Hopefully, we will all still be here to welcome in the 9th volume of Exchanges with this regularly scheduled issue. Currently, there aren’t any special issues planned beyond this point, so things might get a little quieter for a while as we return to our ‘regular’ schedule. But after two years of special issues…I’m not quite sure what that’ll look like.

There you have it - a potted guide to the next year and a half of planned publication for Exchanges, as things stand here from the ramparts of mid-summer 2020. Given the speed with which society has changed this year, and the uncertain impacts from that and other events on the higher education sector [4], nothing here is written in stone. Now though, at least you might be able to appreciate where our publication ambitions are leaning towards in the medium term.

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[1] No pun intended. #SorryNotSorry.

[2] An assumption which might be foolish to make under the current circumstances but then there’s no other data I have to draw on. August is normally the quietest month for us in terms of new papers, as people take well-deserved summer breaks, so I’ll have a clearer idea in about 8 weeks on this.

[3] So far. There are still 5 months to go of this year, and so many known (and likely many unknown) global and national events which could throw a digital-sabot in the electronic printing press.

[4] Student numbers, ‘the B word’ and university finances alone being a major bump in the road ahead.


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.


February 21, 2019

Some Very Special Issues

Regular readers of this editorial blog will recall I mentioned we’d been approached to host two special issues. Well I can happily confirm these are both going ahead. The first will be drawing on papers from the Bites Here and There conference, hosted here at Warwick last November. If all the interested authors who’ve submitted abstracts for my interest produce papers, we’ll have a bumper special issue towards the end of 2019, early 2020 with around 28 papers in it. Even if only get half of these as publishable manuscripts, I think it’ll still make for a really excellent edition of the journal. The other special issue will be drawing on the Utopia, Dystopia and Climate Change Conference, being held in sunny Prato, Italy this July. There’s the potential for as many papers (if not more) to come out of this conference, which makes me doubly excited that Exchanges has such a valuable part to play in facilitating scholarly and interdisciplinary discourse.

Okay, I’m also more than a little excited because I’ve been invited to speak at a pre-conference panel about Exchanges and scholar-led publishing, which means I’ll get to experience some of the conference first hand. It’ll also mean I get to speak with many of the potential authors about their publication plans too, an opportunity something I always value.

Needless to say, with these publications coming in alongside our regular submissions and issues, it looks like being a busy couple of years for Exchanges!


January 15, 2019

New Year, New Content

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas/winter [1] break. This is my fifth day back in the Exchanges saddle, although only my second one in the office due to conference attendance [2] and a spot of working from home. Always nice to be back at the IAS here in (currently not very) sunny Coventry though, as I find it’s a powerful and inspirational location at which to work.

My first day back on site last week was one filled with meetings, not least of which was our semi-regular departmental team meeting [3]. So packed with meetings in fact, that I actually forgot to take a lunch break – whoops! Two meetings that day standout in particular. The first was a long and perhaps rather rhizomal conversation with one of my editorial board (hello Marcos). It’s always a real pleasure to spend some time with my editors in person, and their generosity in talking about their own research, teaching, careers and lives represents a particular honour. Part of what Marcos and I were talking about though, were some ideas we’d sketched out before Christmas around some invited bilingual submissions for a future issue of Exchanges. I can say, it is (fairly) early days with regards to this, but I think it looks like there’s some genuine interest in this from our contacts, so it’s quite exciting.

Later in the day I also had the chance to chat at length with a visiting lecturer in critical safety systems (and oddly expert in Viking culture, literature and life), from the University of York. She’s an old friend of mine, and she’d taken the time between lectures to pop in for tea and a chat. Once again the topic of contributions to the journal came up, and quickly it emerged there was a sense her own students (home and abroad) could benefit from a guest appearance from yours truly to talk about the wonders of publishing with Exchanges. And maybe even contributing to the journal, as I’m sure they’d have some wonderful contributions to make. Fingers crossed something comes of this, as there’s nothing I like more than talking with post-graduate and early career researchers about publishing opportunities.

That was enough for one day, but I’ve been delighted since then again, as on Monday this week I received a further approach from some literature scholars wanting to explore publishing a special issue through Exchanges. I’m very much looking forward to some longer conversations about this next week, but if this and the bilingual issue come off, there’s a very exciting 2020 in terms of new content, original thought and valuable additions to the research discourse ahead of us.

All in all, I’m sure you’ll agree a great start to the new year. Don’t forget I’m always happy to talk to potential authors (or groups of authors) about future submissions, special issues or where academic publishing is going these days. Just drop me a line. In the meantime, I’m going back now to continue writing some new marketing material for Exchanges, and planning my communications for scholars workshop for next month.

[1] Or summer, if you’re part of my southern hemisphere readership/editorial team!

[2] Understanding the Social in a Digital Age, UEA, Norwich. Delightfully for once I wasn't speaking!

[3] Probably less of interest to readers, but all the same a very handy way to keep up with what’s going on here in the IAS


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