TEXT Volume 23 No 1 April 2019
TEXT in the future
For some years, the regular edition editors at TEXT have followed a labour-intensive procedure in handling submissions and the peer review process, with all correspondence going through the central TEXT email address. We would like to improve our ability to track articles in the system, and also allow our authors and peer reviewers to check easily what stage an article is up to, what is required of them, and by when.
Similarly, the journal’s digital publishing infrastructure, while it has worked well for more than twenty years, relies heavily on labour-intensive attention from the General Editor for each edition.
In order to improve the functionality, speed and transparency of our systems, as well as to ensure ease of knowledge-transfer from one editorial team member to the next, we have investigated options with a range of digital service providers, and have reviewed our policies and practices in light of best practice in open access scholarly journal publishing.
We aim to shift to a system that, in the long term, will better enable automated provision of the kind of data required by the many large journal-ranking and citation indexes active internationally.
TEXT’s publishing model was established in the 1990s. TEXT was one of the first online academic journals in the world (in 1997, just the second to be archived by the National Library of Australia). There are significant advantages for publishing with the hands-on html methods TEXT uses – for example, in the way it can deal with unconventionally-formatted submissions – but the sophisticated, metrics-based environment of international academic publishing today demands a greater number of factors to be in place in the way the journal is prepared and uploaded.
After a broad search, the Editors chose Scholastica – an American academic journal management group who support open access academic-led journal publishing (see their site at https://scholasticahq.com/). Scholastica manages 700 journals currently.
We had an online meeting with a representative from Scholastica and were impressed with what they had to offer, which is a three-stage set of services: peer review process software; publishing; and typesetting. There are costs involved (for example, USD10 per submission for peer review administration) but these are very manageable.
The key thing about this system is that contributors to a journal with Scholastica retain their copyright, have their work freely available, and the formats on offer are in line with citation indexing requirements.
Other journals in our field have sold out to multinational publishers in order to maintain their international standing. (As you are aware, a journal article can cost up to $100 to read nowadays, and the publisher takes all.) TEXT will not do this. Instead, we will retain standing while also maintaining strong academic and financial independence.
Phase 1 of the project has begun already with the blessing of the AAWP President, Dr Antonia Pont. For the October 2019 issue, contributions will be lodged with TEXT via a link to the new TEXT submission system (see Information for contributors: http://www.textjournal.com.au/send.htm). Much of what happens in the refereeing process (e.g. reminders sent out to reviewers, contributors, etc) will happen automatically, and the Editors will have a dashboard from which they can tell just where each item is in the system.
There is a cost of around USD300 for the trial period leading up to the October issue, to be paid by the AAWP. In the future, in order to retain their rights over their work and have it open access available, we foresee that TEXT contributors after October 2019 will be happy to pay their USD10 administration fee up front to Scholastica when submitting a piece of work. We will take this idea to the AAWP AGM in November this year.
Depending on how Phase 1 goes, we will contemplate handing the publishing process of TEXT to Scholastica in the New Year, making the April 2020 issue the first to be published in the new format. The AAWP will still be publisher, and the editors will still be fully involved in preparing MSS, but HTML and PDF versions of TEXT issues will be handled by Scholastica. A variety of ‘looks’ is available. Currently we are thinking that the HTML ‘look’ – closer to what TEXT currently has – will be the default (this is searchable with the browser Find function) but there will be a button to the PDF version which will satisfy indexing services like SCOPUS, etc. The Scholastica site shows examples.
The cost of this form of publishing is USD1200 per year. This is around four times the current costs for TEXT web hosting which the General Editor has always borne. We will propose to the AAWP AGM this year that TEXT is an integral part of AAWP business and that the Association should from now on support it fully. This could mean, say, a AUD10-20 levy on membership fees. If named ‘the TEXT Levy’, it will provide every member with a sense of ownership of the journal and will offer all members the chance to recognisably support academic-led open access publishing of new Creative Writing knowledge. It will be proposed that ‘the TEXT Levy’ go into a separate account for the sole purpose of publishing TEXT.
There are more services Scholastica offers, and we will continue to investigate them. The overall plan is to streamline the TEXT publishing system, to relieve some of the unnecessarily trivial burden on TEXT Editors, to make the journal fully compliant with 21stcentury scholarly publishing requirements, and to retain its independent, high quality, open access status.
―Nigel Krauth and Julienne van Loon
Scholarly contributions to the April 2019 edition of TEXT include a number of deliberate experiments with the form of the conventional academic article, and represent a broad range of research interests, from the imaginative process through to writing across the curriculum (WAC), elegiac form and the self-published web serial.
In ‘A new suite: The process of knowing through poetry’, Owen Bullock (University of Canberra) responds directly to the challenge to experiment with the scholarly article form laid down by Ross Watkins and Nigel Krauth (see Vol 20, No 1) by presenting a blended creative/critical article that both contemplates and experiments with the process of knowing through poetry.
We are also pleased to welcome to TEXT for the first time the work of Sue Thomas, founding Director of the Writing Hub at the University of Sydney. With her article ‘Learning to write by writing to learn: How writing centres and creativity can transform academic writing instruction’, Thomas contributes to this edition an argument for reimagining academic writing instruction as a creative and collaborative practice.
Kerry Davies (UNSW) contributes an evocative article on the figure of the flâneur as a motif of timelessness for writers of biography and autobiography. After an exegetical examination of her own work, and study to gain a historical understanding of the flâneur, the author found ‘that flánerie was a motif integral to [her] writing process, and to creating a narrative of timelessness over a century of divorce and single parenting’.
Finally, Lili Pâquet (University of New England) writes on the fan-networked capital of self-published web-serials (novels published in serial instalments in digital mediums). Pâquet illuminates an interesting case study of a web-serial that she argues might be best understood as slow media, that is, a series that gains traction over years through word-of-mouth and a gradually expanding crowd-funding base.
―Julienne van Loon and Ross Watkins
Notice regarding TEXT Special Issues Series:
From now on, TEXT Special Issues will be published when they become available. They will be added progressively to the Contents page of each current TEXT issue.
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