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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.