How a journal comes to be

While we are run by a crack team of PhD and ECR volunteers, Cerae endeavours to operate in the same way as any established academic journal. We are committed to disseminating Open Access research, and we are also committed to ensuring that it is of the highest quality, subject to rigorous peer review. So, this is how an online, Open Access academic journal comes to be…

Call for Papers

The committee will decide on a theme for the next volume of the journal. Not all submissions must be themed, but we aim to include themed content in order to provide coherence for the volume. Themes usually coincide with wider academic trends in the field, to keep them relevant and current – we may base the theme on that of one of the big congresses, or on a particular movement that is gaining ground in medieval and renaissance studies, such as ecocriticism. Once the theme is decided, we will draft a CfP and publicise it through email lists and social media.

Submissions and Peer Review

Over the next few months, the submissions start coming in. The editor will organise these and find peer reviewers for each paper. Each paper is reviewed by two separate, independent anonymous academics. They check facts, make sure there is a clear argument, suggest improvements, and recommend the paper to be published or rejected. These reviews are passed to the author, who then has time to make the suggested changes.

Book Reviews

At the same time, the book reviews editor is busy! They compile a list of newly published, relevant books and send a call for reviewers. They then request these books from the publisher, who usually sends them directly to the reviewer, who reads the book and writes their review! The book reviews editor gathers these reviews and copy-edits them ready for publication.

Editing!

Once all the papers have been peer reviewed and re-submitted, the copy-editing process begins. If an author has not sufficiently improved their paper based on the peer reviewers’ reports, it might still be rejected from the journal at this stage. The editor oversees the copy-editing process and brings all the papers together to form a coherent whole. While each individual paper has its merits, it is also important that the contributions form a dialogue within the volume. This fine balance is down to the editor!

As a committee, we also decide to whom the prizes for the volume are awarded. For volume 5, we are pleased to be offering two prizes: one for the best graduate essay, sponsored by the University of Western Australia Graduate Research School, and one for the best themed essay.

Publication

Cerae is an online journal, so we don’t have to worry about binding and print runs, but we do have to make sure that everything is working on our site and the host site. The journal is hosted by Open Journal Systems, so anyone accessing a paper will be redirected to their site. Our web editor maintains our connection to the host site and the main Cerae site, which also houses the blog. The articles can be read online or downloaded for free. Cerae has an e-ISSN that identifies the journal as an ISBN would for a print book.

Publicity

Once the journal is published, we want you to read it! Links are sent to the authors so that they can disseminate their work, and we publicise each volume on social media and through listservs. As no subscription is needed, we aren’t always listed on university library databases, but we can be found via Copac and other databases. Word of mouth and reputation are integral to a growing journal.

They are a number of other roles in the committee, such as the Fundraising Officer and the Secretary, who are indispensable to the smooth running of the journal. Our extended committee also do important work in editing and publicising Cerae.

And that, in a nutshell, is how we bring each volume of Cerae journal to the academic community.

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