This month we are proud to publish Cerae Volume 5. Founded in 2014 at the University of Western Australia, the aim of the journal was originally to champion important new research by PGRs and ECRs using the emerging platforms of Open Access and Digital Humanities. These aims remain at the heart of Cerae‘s ethos, though our reach has expanded past Australia and New Zealand, with both editorial committee and contributors now spread across the globe.
I spoke to the inaugural editor, Imogen Forbes-Macphail, and treasurer, Jane-Heloise Nancarrow, about how Cerae was conceived and their thoughts on how the journal has grown since its beginning.
Imogen and Jane both agree that Cerae was “designed, first and foremost, on the dual pillars of open-access and as an opportunity to showcase work of emerging scholars in Medieval and Early Modern Studies” (Jane). Imogen adds that “we also wanted to take advantage of the online format to ensure that the journal would be able to publish submissions which included audio, visual, or other multimedia components, to reflect some of the interesting and innovative work going on in medieval and early modern studies (see, for instance, Alana Bennett’s article in 2015).” Imogen also champions this blog and posts by Cerae authors as a way to disseminate this important new research to a wider audience than traditional journal outputs.
Both Imogen and Jane envisaged creating an Antipodean network of early career scholars. As Imogen says, “We also hoped that Cerae would help to create a network of postgraduate and early-career researchers across Australia and New Zealand, both through opportunities to participate on the editorial team and extended committee, through our social media network and blog, and through our presence at conferences.” They are proud that the Cerae influence has exceeded their expectations, with a strong base in Australia and New Zealand, but also committee members in the UK and Ireland, and contributors from the US and beyond. Imogen says that this reflects “the increasing mobility of early career researchers” and evidences a truly global academic community.
Creating an academic journal from scratch was never going to be easy, but Jane tells me that “as treasurer, the scariest part was probably trying to come up with financial support to make the journal viable! We got around this by making a scalable funding plan and seeking support from multiple sources.” Finances are something that still concern the editorial committee, as there are always costs involved in disseminating excellent academic content. We have a treasurer and a fundraiser who manage the money and seek out opportunities, so that we can continue to not only make new research freely and widely available, but offer prizes to recognise the impact of our contributors’ research.
Jane sees great things in Cerae‘s future: “Congratulations to Cerae — what an achievement! To the current editorial committee – Just remember to always set your hard deadlines with a smile. Cerae should be incredibly proud of their efforts over the past five years and I hope that the momentum of this collaborative endeavour is sustained well into the future.”