Three-D Issue 18: Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA-PGN

Tom Phillips
University of East Anglia

Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA-PGN was initially established in 2007 on a relatively ad hoc basis, giving coverage for postgraduate work that featured at MeCCSA-PGN events. Since that time the journal has regularly featured issues based around the PGN’s annual conference, giving presenters a chance to disseminate their work to a wider audience.

By providing a space where the product of PGN events can be showcased, Networking Knowledge has always had potential to be a strong visible presence for the Network, and this was capitalised with the appointment of Vincent Gaine as journal editor in 2010, making the position a part of the Executive Committee. When I took up the post in July 2011, I made it my first task to establish a strong identity for the journal, attempting to make its role as a mouthpiece for the MeCCSA-PGN clear, and to firmly target a particular readership.

Previously, as a reader of the journal, I often found myself wondering who exactly the target audience was meant to be. The broad remit of the journal means that often articles within an issue can be on anything and everything – such is the nature of MeCCSA conferences – and despite the quality of individual authors’ work, the all-inclusive nature of the featured content may not be particularly helpful for scholars browsing the journal archives. Furthermore, should the journal be by postgraduates, for postgraduates, or by postgraduates for everybody?

Taking these issues into account, I drafted a Constitution for Networking Knowledge, in the hope that the values of the MeCCSA-PGN could be championed and sustained by the journal beyond my tenure. I feel that, as arguably the most visible aspect of the PGN’s output, the journal can be adopted as a hub of readership and authorship amongst the postgraduate community. It can provide a space where the interests of students can be promoted, discussed, and showcased. Perhaps most importantly, it can help to expand the membership of the PGN, providing an access point where new members can immediately see a contribution to a wider collective.

My first issue as editor of Networking Knowledge will be published at the end of February, and I’m confident that my aspirations for the journal will be addressed. In addition to the first part of the 2011 Conference Edition, the journal is hosting a series of guest-edited specials, in a drive to make the editing process more accessible to young scholars (the first such special is an excellent issue on “Girlhood in Popular Culture”). In addition, a “Research Spotlight” section allows an institution to talk about the exciting postgraduate research that is being conducted, and “PGN Matters” will feature members of the Executive Committee discussing topics pertinent to the postgraduate community.

By clearly identifying Networking Knowledge as a worthwhile online space that postgraduates can use in interacting with each other, the PGN can continue to show strong support for fostering community in a time when physical networking is not always cost-effective. The vast range of institutions represented by both authors and the peer review board appears to signal that such online interactivity may be a viable alternative in the future.

For more information about the MeCCSA-Postgraduate Network, visit http://www.meccsa.org.uk/networks/postgraduate-network.

To check out the journal, visit
http://www.meccsa.org.uk/networks/postgraduate-network/?journal.

Posted by Einar Thorsen