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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Aphra Behn: cultural translator and editorial intermediary

Here Dr. Jocelyn Hargrave of Monash University shares with us a fascinating insight into the connections between academia and publishing, and how working in both fields has informed her research.  Her article “Aphra Behn: Cultural Translator and Editorial Intermediary” has just been published in Volume 4 of Cerae Journal and can be found here.

Editing, specifically, and making books, more broadly, have been mainstays in my professional life since the late 1990s—they have shaped the person I have become and continue to be. Once I graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at the University of Sydney in 1997, I obtained an entry-level position at an educational publisher; within two years, I successfully applied for my first editorial position. I have continued to edit since then, either in-house or on a freelance basis, working principally on primary and secondary textbooks. It is an occupation that I never tire of, one that is truly humbling and rewarding.

I decided to return to academia in 2008 to complete a Master of Arts at the University of Melbourne. My professional passion shifted effortlessly with me: my thesis investigated how digital technology had been impacting to date on the Australian educational publishing industry. The research process—from devising my research questions to building knowledge, applying methodology and disseminating my results and conclusions—was intoxicating; the requisite detail of such work appeared to mirror editorial practice. I graduated in 2012 and immediately started considering my next research journey: my doctorate—a life goal since my twenties.

During a late-night journey from Melbourne to Sydney, puttering in my husband’s 1969 Austin, I experienced a genuine light-bulb moment: to combine research and the passion for my craft to investigate the evolution and development of editing. For this, it was necessary to relinquish twenty-first-century Australia and dedicate myself to early-modern England. Completed in the Literary and Cultural Studies Program at Monash University from 2013 to 2016, my doctoral thesis, ‘Style Matters: The Influence of Editorial Style on the Publishing of English’, had two objectives. The first was to complete a historical study of the evolution of editorial style and its progress towards standardisation through an examination of early-modern style guides (known as printers’ grammars at that time), such as Joseph Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises (1683) and John Smith’s The Printer’s Grammar (1755). Style guides provide rules to ensure editorial consistency both within and across all titles produced by a publishing company. They outline the rules governing, for example, grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalisation and italicisation; explain the parts of a book, their typography and typesetting; and feature proof-correction symbols to mark on page proofs to indicate authorial and editorial corrections to be incorporated by typesetters. The second objective was to explore how multiple stakeholders—specifically authors, editors and printers—either directly implemented, or uniquely interpreted and adapted, the guidelines of contemporary style guides as part of their inherently human editorial practice. One of the case studies in my thesis related to Aphra Behn.

To understand Behn’s editorial practice, I completed a close examination of her romantic novella Agnes de Castro: or, The Force of Generous Love (1688), which was originally written by Jean-Baptiste de Brilhac and entitled Agnès de Castro, Nouvelle Portugaise (1688). This study also entailed a comparative analysis with the contemporary style guide, Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises.