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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.
September 05, 2018
Time marchs ever onwards, and we find ourselves rushing towards the start of a new academic year, which also means the publication date of the next issue of Exchanges isn't far away either. Behind the scenes my editors, authors and reviewers are (no doubt) working feverishly to prepare work that is publication ready. To help motivate everyone, the following are the ideal copy dates for material that will appear in the October issue of Exchanges:
- Monday 15th October: Deadline for articles to be copyediting and authors to be reviewing any final changes.
- Friday 26th October: Editorial deadline for authors to agree copyediting layout and articles to shift to production ready.
- Tuesday 30th October: New Issue of Exchanges is published.
Articles which don't quite hit these dates, may well still see publication this issue, but the later they arrive the less likely there will be time to deal with them once production is underway, which means those authors will have to wait until the next issue. So if you're an author and the editorial team has asked you to make some corrections, or we've contacted you to ask your opinion on something, please do respond as quickly as possible, so you don't miss out on being published as soon as possible!
And if you are an early career researcher, and your haven't already submitted an article with us, then why not find out more about publishing with Exchanges or drop us a line. We'd love to hear from you.
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.
May 02, 2018
An interesting conversation this morning with one of my IAS colleagues about the future of academic publishing. As an ethnographer of scholarly communications, it is always most enlightening to hear about the ontological drivers underlying a fellow researcher’s publication praxis. It was particularly edifying to witness, again, a dedication to the pursuit of human knowledge for the betterment of society. Certainly a driver such as this, in an age of neoliberal marketization and corporatisation of the Academy, might be constructed as diminishing within the research community. Yet, I say again, because during my own research, this remains an oft expressed motivational imperative behind many academics’ endeavours.
That aside, one topic we chatted about for a while, concerned the future formats of research publication. Running Exchanges, as I do, we’ve followed to date very much a traditional, if entirely diamond (or radical, if you prefer) open access publication model. We have word limits, we rely largely on the printed word and we’ve not routinely incorporated research artefacts or data within our outputs. Nevertheless, for many researchers, especially in the arts and humanities, such prosaic distillations of their work and discoveries might at best be considered considerably reductionist, or at worst represent a barrier between communicating their meaning to society-at-large.
Is there an alternative? Are there forms of research outputs which could be captured, exposed to appropriate quality assurance and review processes, and thence shared with the world? Almost certainly, although technically and indeed procedural, how a title such as ours might go about achieving represents a considerable challenge I’ll be grappling with and exploring over the coming months in this post. Certainly, while Exchanges does contain some wonderfully written articles across a spectrum of inter-disciplinarily, my hope for the future is that it can achieve some measure of evolutionary, and even experimental, work in sharing new forms of media and research outputs.
For now, these are thoughts in my head and many discussions lie ahead of me with other scholars and practitioners within the scholarly publication field. Yet, I remain heartened in my efforts that despite intrinsically capital-enmeshed metric drivers of publishing praxis, like REF2021, scholars continue to embrace an ideological embrace of the societal value of their research. One more reason, I would argue, for the continued reclamation of publishing agency by scholar-led entities such as Exchanges.