Friday, February 24, 2006


One of the least enjoyable parts of being interdisciplinary is the constant necessity to reformat citations from one standard to another. Since my work is based in the Humanities, but touches on the Social and Cognitive Sciences, each venue has a completely different style. It's not simply a matter of changing a comma into a period, or adding parentheses for the date. If only it were. Even superficially simple formatting changes often require a complete rethinking of what and how citations are made. I've spent most of today reworking the article, rather than re-editing it, changing footnotes into endnotes, and footnote citations into in-line references, etc. And, since I'm still fairly new to OpenOffice Write, I'm not sure how to get around all the formatting issues, so I end up typing many expectedly automated things manually. It's a lot of headaches, (which already with this flu I have quite enough of). I did draft up a concise abstract. With each modification this thing looks more and more like a real scholarly paper, which pleases me.

I decided (tentatively) that I will submit this article to a new electronic journal, utilizing an "open peer review" process, meaning the article is published with invited (or volunteered) commentary, which are signed rather than anonymous. I was invited to write just such a commentary for another journal of this sort about a year ago. I like the openness of it, and the efficiency. The turn around for these sorts of journals can be much quicker than with traditional ones.

Moreover, I realized over the past few days: 1) the most prestigious journal in my (ostensible) field may carry a lot of caché with the mainstream folks in my field. But, they're not likely to hire me anyway; 2) I don't think I've ever read an article in that journal, much less cited one; 3) when I've attended conferences held by that society (it's a Journal of...), I've mostly been bored to tears, and spent more time perusing the book exhibits than listening to talks; 4) I truly enjoy the papers at the smaller (and thus more focused) society conferences that I'm a part of, where I've presented most of my conference papers; and 5) The people who sit on the editorial board of this journal are ones whose work most intrigues me, and who are more likely to hire me should the opportunity arise.

So, what on earth would lead me to want to publish in Journal of the Society of Old Dinosaurs? This new journal is much closer to the sorts of work that I do. I won't have to pretned or stretch anything. It is innovative. It's new, which means (if my article is accepted) I get a chance to help forge the direction it takes. It's a step up from the journals I have published in so far, and what I really need is to just keep writing and publishing. It seems that I should choose journals on the basis of ones I would most enjoy reading, rather than simply ones I think would look good on my CV. I'm tired of being defensive about my work, since it seems peripheral to mainstreamers. I just want to speak to an audience who's interested and attentive. So, there you have it.

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