Networking Knowledge – the Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network – is currently seeking expressions of interest from prospective editors, authors and peer-reviewers. Set up in 2007 to provide a publication venue for selected papers from the network’s annual conferences, it has, since 2011, also published guest-edited special issues on a range of particular themes.
As part of the journal’s commitment to supporting postgraduates and early career researchers in a wide number of fields, it now also encourages individual submissions on any theme related to media, communication or culture. In addition to the usual run of issues based on the annual conferences, interspersed with an increasingly regular supply of thematic issues, the journal will be publishing its first standard issue in June this year. The issue will feature a selection of peer-reviewed, full-length articles on a diverse range of themes, as well as a handful of reports on various (non-MeCCSA affiliated) conferences, events and initiatives that have taken place over the past year. By broadening the range of themes and formats covered in the journal, it is hoped that a greater number of PGs/ECRs will be stimulated to submit to the journal and contribute to their respective literatures.
There is currently an open call for submissions posted on the journal’s website, encouraging authors to submit articles, reviews, reports, interviews etc., and to take full advantage of the online, open access and peer-reviewed nature of the journal – offering the opportunity to engage quickly with topical events and/or to produce work of a multimedia nature. In that spirit, and to embrace the multimedia opportunities for disseminating authors’ work more widely and accessibly (or making it more ‘discoverable’ in the parlance of our times), the executive committee of the MeCCSA PGN have recently set up a YouTube channel dedicated to the activities of the network and, particularly, the material published in the journal. Published authors are now encouraged (though certainly not obliged) to provide video-abstracts as supplementary material for their Networking Knowledge articles. This is intended as a pedagogic exercise as much as a marketing one, and it is hoped that viewers get as much from the videos as readers do from the articles. Likewise, in rapid response to the events of last July-August and the debate that ensued on the MeCCSA mailing list, articles, interviews and artworks were recently commissioned on the subject of the mediatization of Gaza. A special issue on that theme will be published by the time this edition of the MeCCSA newsletter is made available.
The journal is also currently encouraging proposals for other special issues. Recent issues have been on such themes as Protest (6.3), Transmedia (7.1) and Time & Technology (7.2), and issues currently in process and scheduled for publication over the coming months are on Mediatizing Gaza, Digital Comics and Selfies. The publication of such issues gives PGs/ECRs the opportunity to gain experience in all aspects of a peer-reviewed journal publication, to collaborate with peers who have similar research interests, and to produce a substantial piece of work in their own specialist area. To ensure the feasibility, quality and the appeal of the special issues, prospective guest editors should consider the balance between specificity and universality in developing the issue topic, and actively commission some of the contributors, rather than relying uniquely on responses to the call for papers.
Now that the journal also encourages individual submissions on diverse topics, there is also hypothetically the possibility of guest editors producing a special section rather than an issue, which can be published as part of a standard issue alongside material on unrelated themes, or even other sections. Such sections would feature just 2-3 articles on a particular topic, whereas special issues would normally be expected to feature 6-8. This effectively salvages issues that would otherwise not be published, due to the low number of articles being submitted or making it through the peer-review process, and offers the possibility of an even greater number of themes being addressed, as well as lightening the workload of the editors!
The journal is also looking for experts across all areas of media, communications and cultural studies to join its advisory board of peer reviewers. As a member of the advisory board, you will get hands-on experience of the peer reviewing process and be part of this dynamic and multi-disciplinary journal. An open call for peer reviewers is also available on the journal’s website.
As well as change, there is, of course, continuity, and at the beginning of the year we published the MeCCSA PGN Annual Conference 2014 issue. Based on the papers given at last June’s conference in Leeds, the issue features articles on football memorials, mediated distant suffering, interactive documentary, Japanese digital art, the Bhojpuri music industry and participatory programming in Nigeria, as well as a behind-the-scenes photo-essay on the conference itself. The next conference will take place in July 2015 at Coventry University, with the theme of ‘Transformative Practice and Theory: Where We Stand Today’, after which work will begin on the writing, reviewing, revising and editing of the best conference papers for another special issue of this journal.
By that time, my tenure as editor will be up, and the issue will be in the hands of someone else, so it’s also time for any budding journal editors out there to start thinking about whether or not they’d like to apply to take on the role as editor of Networking Journal. A call for nominations for the position, and for other positions on the MeCCSA PGN Executive Committee, will be made shortly for 2015/2016.
Expressions of interest in editing a special issue, contributing an article or other material, or becoming a peer reviewer for the journal, should be sent to me as the current Journal Editor, at email@example.com