I leave tomorrow for the Media in Transition 7 conference, the theme of which is Unstable Platforms: The Promise and Peril of Transition. My paper is called Academic Journals Online, and in a move that will surprise no one, I will talk about (among other things) Transformative Works and Cultures, the online-only Open Access Gold fan studies journal I coedit with Kristina Busse.
I’ll be talking about the “promise and peril” of transition in terms of the humanities’ rocky move to online publication in terms of scholarly journals. This topic interests me because I am employed in the publishing industry, plus I’m an editor of a journal, so I have to deal with a lot of behind-the-scenes copyright and production stuff that has implications for presentation and dissemination.
My panel, Publishing in Transition, is on the very last day of the conference, Sunday, May 15, from 10:45a to 12:15p. The other people on the panel are Kathleen Fitzpatrick (who will be talking about books, as opposed to journals), Hanno Biber and Evelyn Breitenede (online corporate texts), and Kristin Anderson-Terpstra and Casey Brienza (manga distribution in the United States).
Here’s my abstract:
The transition of scholarly discourse online is proving a bumpy one. Although some radical new modes of content vetting and delivery are emerging and “digital humanities” has become a buzzword, scholarly work online in the humanities and social sciences is not accorded the same prestige compared to journals that use a print-only or dual print-online model, despite the obvious advantages of access and use of embedded (multi)media. Yet these fears also reveal sites of possible renegotiation of the academic model in a way that will help scholars and scholarly discourse. Publishing in the humanities and the social sciences needs to follow the lead of the sciences, which were early adopters of moving and organizing content online: physics pioneered the online preprint; ClinicalTrials.gov registers trials and provides instructions for investigators; and journals in many disciplines publish online-only supplemental materials, such as data sets and online videos. Further, Creative Commons copyright and open access models have much to offer. All these ideas may be usefully co-opted by the digital humanities.
A draft of the full paper is up on MiT7’s site. Ironically, one concern of mine was that putting up full text would render any text I might try to publish about this topic unpublishable (because it had already appeared), so I wrote informally and didn’t cite exhaustively, so that any rewrite will be substantially different and could be considered. Hmmm… sounds like an excellent topic of discussion for this conference!