Tag: Conference

Editing an open access student research journal

Editing an open access student research journal

Paul Ward is Professor of Modern British History and Head of the Department of History, English, Languages and Media at the University of Huddersfield. He is also the current Editor of Postgraduate Perspectives on the Past – our postgraduate research journal based in the History department. As part of #OAWeek we invited Paul to talk to us about his experiences of publishing a student-focused open access journal.

Postgraduate Perspectives on the Past is a journal run from the research-intensive history department at the University of Huddersfield. With about 10 staff, 20 PhD students and 20 MA by research students, we are quite a large research community. Staff publish their research in a number of journals and we wanted a way to introduce our research students to the world of academic publishing. Each year we have a postgraduate conference, including many speakers from other universities. To develop the academic employability of speakers we decided to encourage them to submit their revised conference papers to the journal, which is then normally published once a year.

Many people have horror stories about the academic peer process – anonymous comments from academics to whom the editor of the journal send a submitted article. Some peer reviews are simply unacceptable, but many others are emotionally bruising and undermine confidence – and worse, since mental health issues are increasingly common in academia ruled by league tables and precarious employment.

A supportive publishing process

We wanted our journal to be different. Essays in PPP are published after a supportive peer review process, in which an established academic and a PhD student each comment on the submissions, returning them to the authors for revisions as appropriate. They then go for a second round of peer review, to academics at universities across the UK, in order to guide the authors through the stages of the journal publication process. At each step, the editorial team encouraged positivity alongside rigour to ensure that the essays are of high quality and suggestions for change are made with the feelings of the authors in mind.

There seems to me to be nothing unusual about this way of working, yet it was picked up by Times Higher Education as a (brief) story, who thought keeping authors’ feelings in mind was newsworthy.

For a long time, academia believed in the invisibility of the author as corollary to the belief in ‘objectivity’. In fact, it often led to exclusivity and, in anonymous peer review, to a lack of sensitivity to the humanity of the author. A more supportive approach fits with the mood of the digital doctoral age. Social media and digital technologies connect PhD students in ways that were unimaginable to previous generations. It enables them to publish the results of their research easily and readily, but it also provides support networks so that what they publish is often well developed, well thought out, and results from collaborative effort.

Dealing with rejection

We have faced some problems, one of which is that the encouragement to publish has led to some authors submitting articles too early on in their learning and researching. The advantage of peer review is that it provides quality assurance against under-researched and under-analysed ideas and interpretations. Like all difficult tasks, writing for an academic journal is challenging. We have rejected a couple of articles, even after the peer review process. And some authors have not made the revisions that peer reviewers have suggested, possibly because the scale of the task has seemed to great alongside completing a Masters by research or PhD thesis.

Nonetheless, publishing PPP has been very valuable. We have had an enormous range of articles, covering medieval jousting, female combatants in contemporary Colombia, army reform in Edwardian Britain, terraced housing, psychiatry in imperial India and witchcraft in early modern England. It enables potential authors to dip their toes in the water of academic publishing and, hopefully, also encourages them to be supportive of other academics as they progress in their future careers.

Read all issues of Postgraduate Perspectives on the Past online, open access.

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Northern Collaboration Conference 2017

Northern Collaboration Conference 2017

Last week the University of Huddersfield Press (represented by Megan Taylor and Kathrine Jensen) went along to the Northern Collaboration Conference 2017 at York University. The theme for the conference was Digital Transformation, and it was a great way to get us thinking about how our publishing practices are informed by digital technology, and particularity to look at how new platforms, technologies and opportunities can be used to enable open access publishing.

Our paper focused on four key questions:

• What does Open Access mean?
• How and why is the University of Huddersfield Press involved?
• What part does digital transformation play?
• How does all this impact on the scholarly community?

You can see the presentation slides here, but do feel free to get in touch with Megan Taylor (m.taylor2@hud.ac.uk) if you have any questions.

The day was a great opportunity to talk to other university press colleagues, and we look forward to getting involved next year too. Watch this space for a published article to come soon from the themes in our presentation.

London Book Fair 2017 – academic publishing

London Book Fair 2017 – academic publishing

For many publishers and authors this week the big event is London Book Fair. Running from the 14th-16th March in Olympia in London, this year there will be over 25000 visitors from 124 different countries.

Although we won’t be there this year I thought it might be handy to do a quick roundup of the research/academic activities going on during the fair.

Follow the LBF Blog

First of all, keep up to date by checking out the London Book Fair Blog – there are some great posts on there from Alastair Horne who gives a monthly summary of academic publishing news

Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum

If you are attending #LBF2017 be sure to register for the Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum on the 15th March:

Research and scholarly publishing faces unprecedented change. Digitisation has turned the concept of territoriality and the supply chain upside down. Different international approaches to funding in higher education and research mandates are not only affecting institutions, but also publishers.

What are these trends and what do they mean for scholarly publishing?

Join industry leaders as they share their global perspectives and strategic insight into the latest policy, publishing models and technologies.

Insights Seminar Programme

As part of the Insights Seminar Programme there is also a Scholarly Stream with 13 sessions running Tuesday -Thursday covering subjects including authentication, copyright, journal sales, technology in book publishing and open access publishing.

Grab a discount

We are offering our readers 50% off our print books during #LBF17 – just select the student option at the checkout to get a bargain!

 

Stay connected

Finally, download the LBF app to make your visit a socially connected one. The app helps you find your way around and schedule your days, but also lets you connect with other visitors to the fair and follow social media streams to keep up to date.