My colleague Jana Pflaeging and I have started thinking about launching an eJournal. What an introductory sentence… No on to the content:
Our idea is a cross-cutting journal addressing a particular linguistic problem or subdiscipline with each issue. We hope to set ourselves apart from the many journals with narrow topical foci which are already in existence. By cross-cutting I also mean: Each issue is meant to display a cross-section of the scholarly community – from professors on tenure to post-docs, doctoral students and students working on excellent papers. We hope to offer a publication platform especially to younger researchers and to enable them to publish in a peer-reviewed journal on work-in-progress, preliminary results and fresh, innovative ideas. The journal will be their megaphone inviting responses, critical comments and helping them to extend their network.
Jana has found an excellent article by Dr. Gerry Coulter, editor of the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies. His article reports his experiences as an editor – from the launch of the ejournal until the present day. As crucial factors of success, he identifies (Coulter 2010: 2):
- a good idea
- a strong organizing force
- the ability to gain acceptance among experts in the field
- excellent content
- a plan for publicizing the launch
- appropriate ressources
- a long-term plan for managing the journal
Provided our organizing force is strong enough, there are still a couple of things to sort out according to this list:
- We have to present our idea to a number of scholars to get feedback (as Coulter did).
- Acceptance among experts in the field is a difficult point for us, as we do not address a particular field but rather a special type of authors (not only renowned scholars but also “newbies”) and special types of articles (work in progress, dialogues, synopses etc.). The consequence is to look for the potential audience and ask them for feedback – but who could that be? Will settled scholars be interested in this kind of content? Will students be?
- Ressources are the next most pressing problem: Will our university provide us with server space? Will we have to apply for funds or can we count on free-to-use software, for instance? In other words: Can we afford the project, both in terms of time and money?
- Making the journal known and accepted. One step towards this is applying for an ISSN. This does not seem to be THAT difficult as there are national ISSN agencies to which the application can be addressed. Guidelines and the offical ISSN-website provide easy-to-use step-by-step information.
- The future: Laying out a plan not only for the next year but for – say- 10 years.
In sum, more questions open than answered and many things to tick off from our list until the journal can be launched – hopefully in March 2015.