linguistics publication and other fields

Michael Cysouw cysouw at EVA.MPG.DE
Wed Mar 31 09:50:54 UTC 2010

I think the place to start is to make the following simple equations between edited books and special issues of journals:

book series of edited volumes = journal with only special issues
series editor = editor-in-chief of journal
edited book = special issue of journal 
editor of book = guest editor of journal
article in edited book = journal article in special issue

This is in fact what is already happening with all edited volumes published by Mouton de Gruyter: every article is considered a separate publications, and a separate DOI identifier is given to every article in edited volumes. Some libraries are also including these book series as journals (e.g. WorldCat). This is clearly the way to go, IMO. 

The remaining problem that we as the scientists have to consider is how we want to organize the peer review of collections of articles. The problem is that collections of articles are a somewhat hybrid situation, in which both the author(s) and the guest editor(s) have a stake. To make the practices in our field easier to compare to other fields, I would like to propose that we use only two different peer review models for collections of articles, to be called 'Journal' and 'Proceedings':

A) The 'Journal' model is alike to the current practice of special issues in some high-rate journals: Guest editors prepare the articles, but then all articles are given an individual peer review  (as practiced e.g. by *Linguistics* and *Morphology*). This can lead to individual papers being rejected out of the collection. This can mean a lot of superfluous work for the guest editors, but that is the price for them to pay. There is also no citation-bonus for the guest editors. In the end, articles published in this way are identical to regular articles published individually in journals.

B) The 'Collections/Proceedings' model: in this model the series editor(s) hand over complete control to the guest editor(s) to prepare the volume. The quality-control is thus in the hand of the guest editor(s), and there is no extra level of external review. This is clearly a less strict way of peer review, and might be used for easier publication of articles. 

Currently, there is a widespread practice for edited books to be reviewed as a whole after the preparation of all the papers (e.g. Mouton de Gruyter). I would like to propose to abandon that practice altogether! Such series should consider either to take up the Journal model (thus installing an editorial board and individual peer review) or to take up the 'Proceedings' model (and thus removing any external peer review). 

The remaining difference between journals and series is that series do not have a fixed timing of the appearance of issues. Issues appear when available, not because there should be three of four per year. That seems to be a useful difference to me.


On 30 Mar 2010, at 23:32, Östen Dahl wrote:

> Here's one point that I wonder if anyone has mentioned. If we began to only 
> publish in journals, we might need a lot more journals. If, for instance, all the 
> papers and posters at the last ALT meeting (over a hundred) were to be published 
> as normal-length papers in Linguistic Typology, that would fill the journal for 
> about ten years. 
> Östen

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