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Launching (and Sustaining) a Scholarly Journal on the Internet: The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies
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This paper is written by the founding editor of the electronic scholarly journal the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (IJBS): www.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies. While it will be of interest to persons with a general interest in electronic publishing, it is aimed primarily at those who may be contemplating the launch of an electronic journal. The paper focuses on several key interdependent factors in pre-launch planning: a good idea confirmed by peers, an editor committed to the success of the publication, gaining acceptance in the field, finding high-quality content, publicity, resources, building long term success into initial planning, and technical and language issues. The paper also considers some of the rewards and opportunities that involvement in this project has conferred upon its editor. In the case of IJBS the editor happens to be its founder but this need not always be the case. This is the experience of one journal, not an attempt to establish rules by which all journals should operate.
I. A Preliminary note concerning Jean Baudrillard
Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) was a French thinker, writer, and photographer who was named by the New Statesman (Hussey, 2003) as one of the 12 most important thinkers of our time (alongside of James Lovelock, E.O. Wilson, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Singer, Noam Chomsky, Jacques Derrida, Li Hongzhi, Kate Millet, Maulana Sayyid Abul-Ala Maududi, Antonio Negri, and John Maynard Smith). From 1968 through 2006 he published more than 45 books all of which have now been translated into English. At a broad level his work constitutes an effort to surpass traditional critical theory by providing constant challenge and provocation. There continues to be much interest in his thought around the world.
IJBS exists only because e-publishing is possible. By 2003, when IJBS was conceived, I wished to avoid the expense and relative slowness of a traditional paper journal. I was impressed by the success of some e-publications in the same field, such as C-Theory (www.ctheory.net), which pointed to the great potential of the Internet. By 2002 the total hits on articles posted in C-Theory were over 40,000 per month after three years in electronic form. At the time this was a very strong number for a theory journal and C-Theory continues to be the most accessed journal of its kind on the Internet. Another well-established journal I used regularly, the Canadian Journal of Sociology (http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/CJS/index) was just then making the transition to electronic publishing, and while new journals such as the Electronic Journal of Sociology (http://www.sociology.org/) were establishing themselves on the Internet without previous histories as paper publications. These publications were the products of well-organized editorial boards and scholars committed not only to the success of the publications, but also to open-access (giving access to articles without charging readers). Across the scholarly world in 2002, journals were transforming from print to electronic versions, and new journals were startling in electronic form.
Open access was very important to IJBS’s success. During IJBS’s second year of operation a major international firm specializing in the publication of electronic journals offered to purchase the journal. This arrangement would have made IJBS a “pay-per use” journal, in which readers had to pay for each article they read or downloaded. Our readers would have had to pay anywhere from $15 to $60 (US), to access one of our articles. This model of publishing has never interested me. From the outset IJBS planned to provide full-text, peer reviewed, open-access work in the most user-friendly manner possible. IJBS also publishes a few non-peer reviewed papers in our “From the Web” section to share with our readership the various ways that Baudrillard’s work resonates outside of the strict confines of university research. Indeed, many of our readers are from outside academe, as Baudrillard is of great interest to many who are concerned with contemporary thought.
The decision not to charge for IJBS has been a happy one, as the journal has been able to meet its budget and provide peer-reviewed papers, editorials, obituaries, poems, and videos without asking readers for money. IJBS was among a small number of publications cited for courage in undertaking open-access scholarly publishing, against the model where readers must pay for access, by the Times Educational Supplement (Brabazon, 2008).
The remainder of this paper recounts my experiences in launching and sustaining IJBS. It is aimed especially at those who are considering their own electronic scholarly-intellectual journals but it is written to be of interest to those who are involved in, or concerned about, electronic publishing more generally. The story of IJBS has been a very happy and satisfying one for me and I want to share my experiences.
III. Key Factors in the Success of IJBS
IJBS was successful because it launched slightly ahead of schedule (with excellent content in the first and subsequent issues), and as time passed the number of hits on articles on the site grew steadily. Success for an academic publication also means that many authors wish to publish with us, and that submissions to the journal have also grown steadily. As it turns out, a journal devoted to thought and writing which intersects with that of Jean Baudrillard was needed and is used. Today the journal has over 120,000 hits per year on its articles.
That successful launch of IJBS required several things:
- 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 of the journal
- Appropriate resources, including access to a reliable server and Web-design expertise (including software)
- A long-term plan for managing the journal (including editorial policies and submission guidelines), and a willingness to learn and adapt as time passes.
A good idea confirmed by peers
The idea for IJBS was my own. To assess whether it was a sound idea I considered a primary question, will this publication be of use to people in its fields? In the case of IJBS there were few places to publish papers in English concerning French Theory in general, and Baudrillard specifically, and this provided, I thought, a sound basis for the project. In January 2003 I proposed my idea for such a journal in an e-mail message to 40 practitioners and teachers of contemporary theory around the world, including the leading experts on Baudrillard. I explained I would be the journal’s editor for at least the first 10 years. A total of 37 responded. They were unanimous and often enthusiastic in their support for IJBS and the open-access model I planned to follow. Several respondents mentioned that my long-term commitment to drive the publication forward was crucial to its success. Some respondents offered good suggestions based on their experiences in the early days of electronic publishing, including encouragement to avoid corporate ownership of the journal, and to pursue a highly user-friendly approach. Some respondents said they would be willing to edit or write for such a publication, and most thought that the announcement of IJBS would probably elicit a good number of papers.
The organizing force – an effective and efficient editor
I think all successful and efficient scholarly journals share one thing: a strong and dedicated organizing force able to implement and sustain the publication’s long-term viability. For a journal this means some person or a group, has to be responsible for keeping the publication on schedule. Because IJBS is an idea in which I passionately believe, my involvement with it has been a joy for me, and the publication has met its first 13 publications deadlines. Volume 6-2 was posted to the Internet in June 2009. However, passion must be balanced with commitment and ability, I do not recommend this job to people who have difficulty managing deadlines. IJBS has maintained its original goal of posting a full issue twice annually (in January and July). In 2007 we posted a third issue, Volume 4-3: “Remembering Baudrillard”: (http://www.ubishops.ca/BaudrillardStudies/vol4_3/index.html), an anthology of obituaries after Baudrillard’s death on March 6, 2007.
Efficient communication is also vital to a journal’s success. Someone must see to it that papers are sent to appropriate reviewers quickly and that they in turn supply their reports on schedule. It is also important to respond immediately to submissions, to ensure that the attachments function properly, and to apprise the author of the time frame in which she or he will receive a decision from the journal. An author who submits a paper to IJBS normally receives an initial reply within 24 hours, and will be told to expect a decision within three months. Typically the decision comes within 60 days.
When reviewers request revisions, I carefully explain what is required to see the paper move to publication. I do not set deadlines for authors to reply, but advise them of the date they need to meet if they wish to be included in the next issue. In most cases, papers can be readied to post on the website within 90-120 days. One paper cleared peer review without revisions and was posted 18 days after submission. The longest time we have taken to post a paper was 11 months and that was because the author took five months to execute all required revisions. The papers in our most recent issue, Volume 6-2 (July 2009), were posted in 177 days on average – just under four months.
It is very important, as a matter of credibility and proper scholarly conduct, for the editor to keep out of the way of the publication. If the editor of a publication does not agree with the perspective of a paper that was submitted, or passed peer review, he or she should not in any way prevent the paper from being published. Indeed, the editor, like any reader, has the right to submit to the journal a “reply” to any paper published. Any other approach exhibits disrespect for the peer-review process and should not be tolerated by the editorial board of a publication. IJBS is not a publication with a particular perspective to promote or defend. Indeed, one of most popular postings has been a paper by the person who is perhaps Baudrillard’s most negative critic (Kellner 2006). Because I assiduously avoid making decisions about the editorial content, the other editors, in turn, defer to me on the operations of the journal.
The editor must keep proper records of the journal’s ongoing activities and adhere to a regular schedule for maintaining the site. I spend one evening per week (about 2-3 hours) managing the flow of papers and seeing that final copies are properly edited and posted. That time, plus the time it takes to apply the HTML program to make papers ready to post on the Internet, totals about 200 hours per year. Busy academics with full teaching schedules and research agendas must consider this time commitment before taking on responsibility for an electronic publication. That said, I write and publish far more today than I did before becoming involved with IJBS. As I will address later, my involvement with IJBS has led to new opportunities for me to publish in other journals. There is no reason why involvement with a journal should necessarily slow down one’s own written output.
Gaining acceptance in the field
This is perhaps the most important criterion for a publication’s success. After I confirmed the support of peers for the IJBS idea, I invited twelve, those who had written at least one book concerning Baudrillard, to serve on the initial editorial board. Eleven agreed and are still members of the board. The one person who could not become involved (due to other time demands) has remained a supporter of IJBS. The original editorial board members urged me to add to the board strong generalists in French Theory who had published papers on Baudrillard. IJBS positioned itself from the very outset as a serious scholarly endeavor by including critics on both sides of Baudrillard’s perspective. The area of Baudrillard studies has been blessed, in my experience, with the involvement of exceedingly open-minded academics. This is not surprising when one considers Baudrillard’s own commitment to challenge and provocation. Indeed, he was more pleased by those who challenged his work, or used it in innovative ways, than he was by those who simply agreed with him (1993:154). Following his lead in this has allowed IJBS to include papers from very diverse perspectives.
When launching a journal concerning the writing of a living person (as IJBS did and the International Journal of Zizek Studies [IJZS] has since done), it is not essential that the publication have the support of that person. However, I think it is imperative, in the best traditions of scholarly collegiality, to discuss the idea with that person. I met with Baudrillard in Paris to discuss IJBS after I had secured the initial editorial board. Baudrillard was impressed and delighted to hear that so many who had written books about him (including those who had perspectives challenging his own), would participate. Baudrillard always maintained very respectful relationships with those who took his thought seriously, and he liked to engage in dialogues concerning ideas. I enjoyed my conversations with him, and they fueled my interest in the publication.
Our initial discussion ended with Baudrillard saying, “This idea has my entire support”. He agreed to serve on the editorial board, which I thought added credibility to the publication from the outset. Baudrillard typically shied away from publicity and was not particularly fond of academe, yet he remained very supportive of the IJBS project throughout the remainder of his life. Following the publication of the fifth issue of IJBS (Volume 3, Number 1, January 2006) I met with him at his home in Paris and he expressed his ongoing pleasure with the journal. His assistant had printed a copy of each issue for him; the most recent was sitting on his coffee table with hand-written notes tucked in several pages.
Interest in IJBS has not changed since Baudrillard’s death. Indeed, the number of hits on content posted in the journal has continued to rise and there was a six-month increase in hits on our special anthology issue (Volume 4, Number 3), which contained 83 obituaries on Baudrillard from academics and others around the world.
Content for the first issue
A number of members of the editorial board expressed their concern that IJBS be receptive to writing by women, as most writing in the area of French Theory has been by men. As it turned out, two of the four articles in Volume 1-1 (January 2004) were by women scholars: Dr. Victoria Grace of Canterbury University in New Zealand and Dr. Tilottama Rajan, a Canada Research Chair at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Dr. Grace wrote a paper called “Baudrillard and the Meaning of Meaning”. Dr. Rajan allowed IJBS to publish two chapters on Baudrillard from her book Deconstruction and the Remainders of Phenomenology. We frequently reprint articles from anthologies and book chapters, especially from new books concerning Baudrillard, to make our readers aware of ongoing developments in Baudrillard studies. Some of the book chapters are among our more popular postings. Many scholarly journals may be missing an opportunity to publicize work in their fields by not publishing book chapters at the time of a book’s launch. I will say more on this later.
The editorial board were also concerned that IJBS be more than a staid and predictable place for academic writing. To encourage writing of a ‘Baudrillardian’ nature, I wrote a playful but serious paper (that was not peer reviewed) that brought together a series of quotations from various sources to constitute a virtual dialogue between George Bush, Osama bin Laden, and Baudrillard.
Dr. Gary Genosko, Canada Research Chair in Technoculture Studies at Lakehead University in Canada, also wrote a lively and very Baudrillardian introduction to the most important item in the first issue, the first English translation of Der Spiegel’s interview “This Is the Fourth World War.” This was the first of several instances of IJBS publishing a piece that had previously appeared in another language. Papers by two authors who were Canada Research Chairs, the highest position of academic distinction in Canada, also set a tone of superior quality for the publication from its earliest days.
For the first issue we relied heavily on the editorial board. By encouraging our editorial board members to write for this issue, we were assured of quality and a representation of women. (The fact that one half of the contributors to this issue were women was accidental). We also knew we would appeal to scholars and thinkers inside and outside of academe. Our experience suggests that scholarly publications should attempt to have at least one high-profile paper in the first issue. We were fortunate enough to have three such papers. In addition, I wrote an editorial for the first issue to clearly explain the reasons for the journal and to invite contributions. By mid October 2003 the first issue of IJBS was ready to be converted into HTML (see below), and we launched the first issue in early December 2003.
Publicizing a new publication
IJBS was organized, it had papers to publish, and it had met its overall quality goals for the first issue, but two questions still needed to be answered: how would people learn about the existence of the journal, and where would we get papers for future issues?
The first thing I did in terms of publicity was to send an announcement about IJBS to relevant Internet lists such as the Humanist Discussion Group (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org), which distributes daily calls for papers for new and established publications in a variety of areas. I also assembled a list of over 5000 e-mail addresses of academics around the world working in relevant areas (contemporary theory, Baudrillard studies, etc.), and sent them the announcement. These e-mail addresses came from my correspondence and from notices for theory conferences, plus a good deal of digging on my own. I spent at least 30 hours assembling the list by checking university websites for teachers and writers concerned with French Theory and Baudrillard. I also sent my announcement to the managers of scholarly publications involving ideas, cinema, technology, the arts, etc., and was pleased to find them helpful in publicizing our forthcoming first issue and posting a link to our website. Even now, each time we post a new issue I send an e-mail message to my list of scholars (which has grown to over 8000 addresses), as well as to the Humanist list. The wave of blogs that has appeared since 2006 offers an unexpected and valuable source of publicity. Some blogs re-post an issue’s table of contents, which allows readers to link directly to our site.
We found it valuable to put up the IJBS website long before we published our first issue. That allowed us to post our submissions guidelines, identify our editorial board members, and promote the release of the first issue. We put the IJBS URL into our promotional material, and we were able to see the success of our initial publicity by the number of visitors the site received. In the three months before we published Volume 1-1, we had 1,243 visitors, 62% of whom also opened the submission page, and 34% also opened the editorial board page.
The sooner a publication obtains an ISSN number (International Standard Serial Number – an eight-digit identifier for periodicals [see: http://www.issn.org]), the sooner this automatic computer-generated source of publicity will begin. Within weeks university library systems will automatically post the publication’s website and its stated purpose. Many of the people who have submitted papers to us over the past six years have told me that it was their university library servers that pointed them to IJBS when they searched for articles on Baudrillard. In the early days of a publication it is useful to ask those who submit papers how they first learned of the existence of the journal so the publication can be sure to promote itself to all possible sources of publicity.
Open access is also very important, as it allows anyone who wishes to share an article to copy the link and e-mail it to someone else who, with one click, may view the full text of the article.
Resources, fewer than you might expect
When IJBS began I had no knowledge of HTML and the HTML programs then in existence appeared difficult for non-experts to use. As such, the main cost of launching IJBS involved hiring an expert who had a HTML program that allowed her to post the edited papers to the website. We were spared the cost of purchasing server access when my university agreed to grant IJBS free access to its server. If a journal must purchase server access, the cost is minimal – about $100 - $140 (US) per year. For the first four years of operation IJBS was laid out and posted onto the website by the university’s web designer, who worked for us after hours for an hourly fee. The hourly rate today for HTML typically ranges from $50 - $100 (US). From 2004 through 2007 the Bishop’s University Research Office paid this cost as a way of encouraging my involvement, as a faculty member, in an international scholarly project. It is important to note that the experience of IJBS and Bishop’s University was ideal. I have heard from scholarly publishers elsewhere that their home universities offered no support, and denied them access to the university server. The Vice-Principal (Academic) and the University Research Office under his direction at Bishop’s made the IJBS experience easy from the beginning.
With the development of much more amateur-friendly HTML software programs, I was able to take over the HTML work in 2008. Today those launching new e-publications can easily avoid the expense of hiring out the HTML work. Doing your own HTML work (which can be done as part of the final proofreading of an article) actually saves time and allows papers to appear on the website more quickly (see http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_HTML_editors). Our software cost $300 (US). It is possible for a person with no background in HTML to learn everything needed to manage and operate a website over a weekend (about 12-15 hours). IJBS uses an Adobe program called Dreamweaver. I chose this program because it is the one used by the university website and therefore someone local was available to help me use it. Doing the HTML setup allows me to avoid delays in between setup and proofreading. Often when IJBS hired out the HTML work, a week would pass before the paper was ready to be proofread. A publication that relies on outside people for the HTML editing may experience this time lag because the person is busy with work for other websites. The time it takes to “HTML” an article ranges from 30 to 80 minutes depending on the number of images and endnotes. I encourage those beginning a journal and seeking to keep costs down to consider formats which avoid a large number of endnotes or footnotes, as this is a very time consuming aspect of the HTML process. The approach used by the Journal of Electronic Publishing in this article (where author name and date refer the reader to the bibliography), is much more time efficient than setting up individually numbered endnotes, and it provides the same amount of information. In the few cases where an explanatory note is required beyond the text, these may of course be set as individual numbered endnotes or footnotes.
There are numerous ways to finance an Internet publication, and none of them needs to have anything to do with its authors or readership. IJBS has never charged a fee to an author, nor have we taken advertisements. The cost (about $300-400) of journal start-up today can, if there is no other support, be borne by the initial editorial board. Most university-based academics will have access to professional development funds and to a publications committee or a research committee that may decide to fund the project given the minimal expense. There is also no good reason (although some universities might disagree), for the university not to provide free access to its server for the scholarly publication. If a scholarly publication gains server access and a small grant to purchase software then costs may be completely avoided. IJBS’s presence on the university server adds no significant cost to the university, as it must maintain the server for the university in any event.
Another cost IJBS managed to avoid was translation and reproduction fees for articles we repost. In our experience less than five percent of requests to repost material from other scholarly websites (without a fee) are turned down, and we simply do not pursue these further.
When a new Baudrillard book is published (ether about or – until recently – by him), publishers have been quite willing to let us post an excerpt or a chapter (selected by IJBS) in the journal. This gives a publisher access to readers in its market and gives our readers free access to a sample of the latest scholarly work on a subject that is of importance to them. One publisher contacted me to place an advertisement in IJBS for a new book but I convinced them that it would be better for all concerned if we posted a chapter from the book (see Proto 2007). A good source of assistance with translation are graduate students in language departments who are eager to gain their first publication and will volunteer their work in exchange for it. One of the editors of the publication should oversee the validity of the translation.
The cost to IJBS of the ongoing operation today is $0. This is based on free access to the Bishop’s University server, the fact that we own our HTML software, that we do our own HTML work, and that we have no reproduction costs. As the founding and managing editor of IJBS I can say with considerable experience that making the journal a labour of love has made the project as uncomplicated as possible. I look upon IJBS as something I give back to the scholarly world to which I, like any scholar, am deeply indebted. My enthusiasm for the continued success of IJBS has not waned and it has become part of my routine even during sabbaticals.
A long-term plan for success: sustainability
An important part of long-term success depends upon several of the factors described above (an organizational force, consistent procedures, etc.). Any publication is, however, ultimately at the mercy of its users and its editors. Developing and sustaining a kind of momentum is very important to long-term success. There are, no doubt, myriad of ways of doing this, but rigorous adherence to review and publication deadlines establishes a positive tone for a journal. This places an enormous responsibility on those who manage the activities of the journal and its flow of communications. No matter how well organized the managing editor, a successful publication requires editors and manuscript readers who can complete work on time.
An important, and perhaps under-acknowledged, aspect of long-term success involves a flexibility and willingness to learn and adapt as the publication continues. This includes listening to the concerns of readers and being willing to move into new areas. In the case of IJBS this meant moving to video, poetry, and the work of artists generally.
User friendliness (which for me includes open access) is also a very important aspect of sustainability. I am often asked why IJBS operates with such a simple opening page. The answer has everything to do with the fact that what we take for granted in Western universities concerning computing and server speed is not often the reality outside of the West. A reader from another country recently told me that even our simple page takes about ten seconds to open on his computer. Another important component of user friendliness is text that is easy to read. We use black text on a white background, double spaced, font arial, size 12. When someone opens a page of IJBS it looks as much as possible like what one would find in a quality printed journal (except that our font is typically larger and not single spaced).
Consistency in maintaining URLs is also important for those who will link to a website. I caution publishers to use forwarding when they change the URLs of articles after they are posted, as some publications do not do. Failing to use forwarding only makes it difficult for those who follow links to the journal. As far as links are concerned it is useful to be vigilant, if time permits, concerning other journals’ references to your publication. Occasionally I will learn about either an incorrect link to our journal or the failure to provide the link in an endnote referencing an article. In the few cases where I have encountered these issues, I have contacted the editor of the other publication and the problem has been addressed favourably within a few days (if not hours). Among the e-publishing community I have experienced a very pleasant collegiality.
Before launching an Internet publication, it is important to think of it as a long-term project and to plan to be operating as a successful publication well into the future. Sustainability begins by committing for the long-term when making the earliest decisions of the publication. My experience at IJBS points out that there is one variable no amount of planning can predict: the test of time. In our case we receive more papers each year than the previous year, we publish more papers each year, and have become open to kinds of publications (poetry, for example), that we did not anticipate when we began.
Consistency is important in publishing and so I recommend that the editors of a journal follow only one dictionary. As the New Oxford English Dictionary is now available almost everywhere editors will be working, I think it is the best standard. Still, someone has to be responsible, during the final proofreading of articles, to adhere to this standard. I am supported by an Assistant Editor, Dr. Mary Ellen Donnan, who handles communications for the journal when I am away at conferences or traveling. Dr. Donnan also copy edits each paper before and after the HTML process (as do I) to ensure consistency and quality.
Another language issue concerning Internet publishing involves what the publication will do with submissions in other languages. While most publications are limited to the expertise of its editorial boards, it is still important to be as open as possible to more than one language. Multiple-language publication is an excellent way to increase awareness of a journal among potential multi-lingual users around the globe. The presence of an article in Spanish (which is then cited by other Spanish websites) may open a journal to numerous Spanish readers who also read English, but would not have otherwise known of the existence of the journal. It is also important for a journal to be open to sharing its work with other journals that wish to post articles or to repost works in translation into other languages. Articles originally posted in IJBS (in either French or English) have appeared, with the permission of the authors, in Polish, Turkish, and Russian translation in other journals. It is consistent with the open-access approach to publishing for all copyright to remain with the author or authors of an article so that they, not the publication, can decide to post the article elsewhere. When another publication asks to repost an article from our site, I insist they get the author’s permission, and then request they provide a link (in an endnote, for example) back to the original article in IJBS.
IV. Rewards and Opportunities
At the time of Baudrillard’s death in March 2007, I was struck by the breadth and diversity of our readership and their desire to communicate their condolences to our publication. While we posted a special anthology of 83 obituaries to Baudrillard that originally appeared in IJBS and elsewhere, in hindsight I realize that we missed an important opportunity to make available to our readers a location for their own thoughts at the time of Baudrillard’s death. This was brought home to me when the Internet publication The Ballardian (http://www.ballardian.com) immediately made a discussion page available for readers to express their feelings and observations in the days following death of the author James G. Ballard (April 2009) http://www.ballardian.com/rip-jg-ballard-1930-2009. I wish now I had thought of this kind of tribute. It is the kind of thing that only an electronic publication can do effectively because of its immediacy and accessibility.
Over the years I have received many notes of gratitude for the work that is featured in IJBS. These include many supportive notes from other e-journal publishers and it is merely one of the happy consequences of being involved with IJBS. Indeed, I have written this piece keeping in mind the many people who were thinking of launching new journals who have contacted me over the past several years. It is very pleasing to learn from its founding editor that the International Journal of Zizek Studies (http://www.zizekstudies.org/), an outstanding scholarly publication, was inspired by the presence of IJBS (Taylor 2007a). I suggest that anyone who finds an e-journal of use, or has suggestions to offer, makes his or her feelings known to the editors.
Among the unanticipated benefits of being the IJBS has been a dramatically increased number of professional contacts with scholars and thinkers around the world. I have also experienced an increase in invitations to write papers for other journals’ special issues on Baudrillard. I have been interviewed by other scholarly publications specifically because of my role at IJBS (Coulter 2005, 2009, and 2009b). While writing this piece I was contacted by a scholar in Mexico who wishes to interview me for a Mexican publication. Over the past year I have accepted invitations from publications to have my work translated in Russian and Turkish. In each of these cases it was work for IJBS that made the person aware of me.
The most important factors leading to long-term success should be established by the time of the first issue: a long-term commitment from the editor and the editorial board, a realistic assessment of the need for the publication by experts in the field, openness to new developments, proper publicity, a design that is as user friendly as possible, and a long-term view of the project as part of the initial design. With these basics in hand a new journal is poised for success.
IJBS has succeeded in its original goal of setting in place, and sustaining, an international scholarly platform for people who wish to consider the ideas of Jean Baudrillard and ideas that intersect with them. The journal is an example of using electronic publishing to provide a service that would not otherwise exist. The fact that Baudrillard was both a lover of irony and someone who did not, himself, use the Internet, makes the experience all the more satisfying.
At this point a reader might wish to ask, what is the downside of your involvement in electronic scholarly publishing? For me there has not been a downside and that has a lot to do with how well I, with the help of other editors, planned IJBS well before its launch. A clear sense of purpose and long-term commitment have been key ingredients of the publication’s success. The rest depends on the continued interest the journal has among readers and potential authors.
Dr. Gerry Coulter is a Full Professor of Sociology (Art, Film, and Theory) at Bishop’s University, Canada. Recent peer-reviewed publications include: ‘Jean Baudrillard and the Definitive Ambivalence of Gaming’, SAGE Journal: Games and Culture (Volume 2, Number 4, December, 2007:358-365) and at: http://gac.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/2/4/358; ‘The Poetry of Reversibility and The Other in The English Patient’, Widescreen Journal. (Volume 1, Number 1, April 2008): http://widescreenjournal.org/index.php/journal/article/view/15/14;
‘Baudrillard and Holderlin and the Poetic Resolution of the World’, Nebula, (Volume 5, Number 4, December 2008:145-164) and at: www.nobleworld.biz/images/Coulter.pdf.
He also writes a quarterly column for Euro Art (On-line) Magazine (http://www.euroartmagazine.com. Dr. Coulter’s teaching has been recognized on numerous occasions most recently by Bishop’s University’s highest award for teaching the William and Nancy Turner Prize.
He is the Founding Editor of the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies and continues as its editor. (www.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies). E-mail: email@example.com. The author is very grateful to Judith Turner for her many suggestions and careful editing of this paper.
Jean Baudrillard (1993). Baudrillard Live – Selected Interviews (Edited by Mike Gane). London: Routledge.
Brabazon, Tara. 2008. “It’s Time For Academic Access In All Areas”: Times Educational Supplement (August 14). http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?%20sectioncode=26&storycode=%20403205&c=1.
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Coulter, Gerry. 2009a. “Radical Thought and the Residue of Ambivalence: An Interview with Gerry Coulter”. Izinsiz Gosteri – A Turkish Based European Journal of Theory and Literature. Number 191 (January). http://www.izinsizgosteri.net/2009/asalsayi191/gerry.coulter_191.html.
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