[OPE-L:7463] [OPE-L:997] Re: Re: Re: online journal

C. J. Arthur (cjarthur@pavilion.co.uk)
Thu, 20 May 1999 10:46:54 +0100

Mike L wrote
> I'd like to suggest that we think about a journal of review--- one in
>which the central focus is to review and comment upon published texts. This
>is an area to which existing journals do not pay sufficient attention
>(certainly the one I'm directly involved in --studies in political
>economy-- has dispensed entirely with them) but which is, I think, a real
>deficiency. (Many books get far too little attention from the journals).
> The idea occurred to me in the context of Brenner's NLR monograph. Here
>was an obvious opportunity for reviews and exchanges in relation to a
>particular published work. (Quite a few OPE members, in fact, were
>scheduled to participate in a symposium for Historical Materialism---
>although it is interesting in this context that none of us yielded to the
>temptation to comment on Brenner on OPE when comments and questions were
>posed here, perhaps saving them for a print journal.) I think there are
>many cases where an on-line review journal could make a real contribution.
>Also, reviews would seem to be suited well to the medium in that searches
>and enquiries about the book could bring up the reviews and ensuing
>discussions-- with the result that there would be much greater exposure
>than a standard monograph journal.

I agree with this. One of the most frustrating aspects of reviewing at
present is the strict wordlengths many journals impose. From an author's
point of view it is the delay when journals accumulate a backlog.
BTW the downside of an open submission policy in an article journal is the
flood of substandard work that has to be conscientiously read before
rejection. With a review journal I take it the board would commission, or
sometimes select from volunteers, so the amount of rejection or request for
reworking would be quite small. 'Cold submission' of reviews is usually
small, especially if it is not requested. Another problem in regular
journals is dealing with demands for right of reply from authors. An
on-line journal could be more relaxed about giving such space; and useful
discussions may even develop.

Chris Arthur