Scholarly publishing has largely moved online, but it still mimics many practices born in the era of print. For example, some paywall-protected online journals are licensed with an institutional concurrent user limit, as if digital objects can’t be replicated instantly and infinitely.
The most pervasive print trope is the method of releasing new content: periodic volumes and/or issues that bundle articles in a simultaneous release (quarterly, monthly, etc). This is not surprising for the old, well-established journals, but even most new born-digital journals release this way (PLOS One is one high-profile exception, as they publish individual articles directly on their website, not in volumes or issues).
This morning I came across an interesting take on the online journal: e-Keltoi: Journal of Interdisciplinary Celtic Studies. e-Keltoi is managed by the Center for Celtic Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. e-Keltoi invites submissions and publishes articles under specific thematic “volumes” that are continuously published.
For example, e-Keltoi Volume 1 is titled Diaspora, and all of the articles relate to the Celtic diaspora in one way or the other. But instead of being a complete, published volume, with a specific published date (the way a print journal would be), e-Keltoi will keep publishing new articles on that theme, and assign them to this volume. Authors are encouraged to submit new articles on that topic so that Volume 1 will continue to grow.
There are currently seven existing volumes of e-Keltoi, and an ongoing book review section (why force users to browse for book reviews volume by volume the way most online editions of print journals do?). There is also one newly proposed volume awaiting submissions.
All of the content is open access. Individual authors retain copyright. There are no author fees.
Digital publishing — it doesn’t have to follow print rules. Why do “journals” have to be bound by the timelines of print periodicals?
I’d love to see more of this. Academic libraries, with the technical aptitudes of their staff, access to digital repository software, and interest in scholarly communications can play a part.
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