Submit to Archive Journal

Archive Journal publishes content in 3 distinct sections:

  • Archives Remixed invites analytical and creative pieces that reflect on meaning-making in and through archives. The format is open to traditional research or theoretical essays as well as multi-modal, alternate, or experimental formats. Contributions that analyze, use, theorize, create, find ways through, or reconstitute particular archives, objects or exhibits are invited. Only original work that has not been published elsewhere will be accepted for publication.   Length variable.
  • Notes + Queries are published on a rolling basis to share timely, short essays about best practices, archival finds, recent publications or events, reports from the field, and thoughts on current work in the field.  500-2000 words.
  • 360° features an asynchronous “discussion” among contributors from various backgrounds who respond to the same set of questions about a single archive or archival topic.   500 words per response.

Submissions for “Archives Remixed” and “Notes + Queries” are on a rolling basis.  If you have an idea for a “360″ roundtable, please contact the editor, Lauren Coats, at contact@archivejournal.net.

Submission guidelines can be found at http://www.archivejournal.net/submit/

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How to Choose a Journal

As I talk to people about publishing, one of the questions I hear the most is “How do I know what journal to publish in?” It’s a great question, and it doesn’t have an easy answer. When I was editor of Provenance, I of course wanted the submissions but it was more important to focus instead on what is best for the author. Many times I suggested other journals if I thought they were more appropriate.

We all strive (dream?) to have an article accepted for American Archivist. They receive a lot of submissions, and it can be tougher. If you’re interested in acceptance rates, you can read the reports online including from the May Council meeting. While I can’t speak for all the archives journals, I seldom received more than 10, and usually less, in any given year for Provenance. Fewer submissions does not mean automatic acceptance, as all go through the peer-review process and not all are accepted for publication. Journal of Archival Organization is quarterly, and more issues may (theoretically) increase the chance of acceptance. Archival Practice has a rolling deadline, meaning that as articles are accepted they are published (after revisions, of course).

And what about non-archives journals? I have no idea about acceptance rates for other disciplines, but don’t limit yourself. The more we publish about what we do and how we do it to non-archivists, the more others will understand our role in documenting society.

Then there’s the chicken-egg dilemma: do you pick a journal and then write, or write and then find a journal? I have no good answer for this either. It really depends on your topic and type of article you’re writing. American Archivist has great guidelines on different types of submissions. But if you follow those, that doesn’t necessarily limit you to that journal. I suggest reading the scope and submission guidelines of several journals to be familiar with what’s out there. Review my list of journals and see what might work for you.

So how to decide? Here is a list of considerations to get you started:

  • Who is your audience? Is it archivists or possibly historians, environmentalists, genealogists, political scientists, journalists, academic faculty, or others?
  • What is your timeframe? Are you publishing for tenure or for fun?
    • If for tenure, is there a requirement to publish in top-tier journals? A number of articles?
    • Does the publication’s CFP/issue release work with your timeline? It can take a year or longer to get published, though some journals may have quicker turnaround times.
  • What is your topic? Is it general in nature? Or does it have a focus such as technology, audiovisual, manuscripts, records management, conservation, or other? Is there a subject-oriented journal that would be most appropriate?
  • Is there a journal that you read and really like the content?
  • Does your article meet the journal’s scope and guidelines?
    • Don’t send it to more than one journal at a time; this is often stipulated in submission guidelines.
  • If declined at one journal, go ahead and send it to another. Different review boards have different ideas of what fits their journal.
    • I’ve said this before but is always a good reminder: don’t take rejection personally. Use the feedback to make your article better and keep going.
  • If you’re not sure, email the editor. Don’t be shy, they want to hear from you! (And trust me, they want submissions).
  • Talk to your peers. Find out what journals they read regularly.
  • Do you have a strong opinion about open-access vs. subscription?

SNAP Twitter Chat about Publishing

Last week I participated in a SNAP Twitter chat (#snaprt, @SNAP_Roundtable). I’ve participated before, but it’s been a while. SNAP does a great job of hosting the chats and having prepared questions. There aren’t many opportunities for such interaction to discuss publishing and I appreciate that this topic comes up every so often for discussion. Most of the conversations I have are one-on-one and occasionally speaking to groups. I’m always happy to participate in these discussions, as are others involved in publishing. From my perspective, I don’t always know who wants these conversations (beyond SNAP) so I encourage others to just ask! I’ve worked hard to make myself accessible, but I know that other editors, authors, or others involved in publishing will also participate. So don’t be afraid to ask.

There’s always so much that comes up during these chats. I won’t be able to recap everything, but I want to touch on a few of the topics. I suspect many people outside of SNAP have the same questions so I hope you find this helpful.

How do I know what’s interesting to others?; it’s already been done. Understandably, when one is new to the profession it is hard to know what to write about and whether others will want to read it. It takes time to catch up on where scholarship is. I’ve encouraged people to write about their interests or where they see gaps. No one knows every article or book written, and that’s where a good editor comes in. Many submissions to Provenance cited scholarship I didn’t know about. However, often I and the peer-reviewers recommend additional articles if we believe it necessary. No matter if you are new or seasoned, there is the question whether others will find it interesting. So, talk to your peers, coworkers, friends, colleagues, and ask. Or email an editor and ask. Pick a topic, read a few articles, and think about it. Then write and submit. The only way you will know for sure is if you submit and accept the feedback. There’s been a bunch of new journal issues (just browse the most recent posts) so start there. Read more in a previous post.Others know so much more and I don’t want to BS. That sentiment is appreciated. The longer I was an editor, the easier it was to spot a graduate course paper submission. I don’t say that as a bad thing, because grad school is about generating and discussing ideas, learning about the profession, and engaging with scholarship. When I was writing my dissertation, I frequently felt what most grad students do – that I’ll look dumb if I forget that one book, that one article, where my committee would think “How could she not know about that?” But you know what, that seldom happens. If you do appropriate research, you become the expert and you’ll find the resources. Don’t try to read every word of everything; start by reading book reviews and abstracts. Chances are, you’ll miss something and a good editor will provide it for you. And absolutely don’t BS. As long as you can provide evidence for your argument, are clear and articulate, don’t use a lot of colloquialisms, and are logical, you’re more than halfway there. The best way to learn as much as others know is through writing and research. How do you think they became experts?

Turning a conference presentation into an article. Do it! As you prepare for a presentation, keep track of your sources, write an article alongside your presentation. But please, don’t submit only the text of your presentation. Remember, writing for publication is different from reading your ideas in front of an audience. Several times, I followed up with conference presenters and suggest they submit to Provenance. So think about it before you present and you can have a solid draft or full article for submission.

Revise and resubmit is hard. Yes, and honestly, it seldom gets easier. I did write a post about this a while ago. And this question reminded me that I meant to write more (hence the part 1 of many), so I will get back to that at some point. But if any of you want to share your experiences, whether good or bad, I welcome all perspectives and guest posts. And, as noted also below, a blog post is a great way to start writing.

Write to non-archivists. This part was particularly interesting to me. We are not limited to writing to each other. Yes, that strengthens our profession and engages each other. But what about librarians, users, historians, and others? Bringing non-archivists into our writing sphere will help us understand our users more as well as raise awareness of the archival profession. Do you collaborate with donors, faculty, users, or anyone else you can co-author with? What about asking researchers to write about their experience? When I taught classes, I always try to find non-archivist perspectives. One article I used multiple times was Joan Zenzen’s “Administrative Histories: Writing about Fort Stanwix National Monument” (sorry, I wish it was open access but is available through JSTOR or request through interlibrary loan). And a excellent book is Kate Eichhorn’s Archival Turn in Feminism. Can’t help but enjoy a book written by someone who reveres archivists. In other words, think outside the box. Also, you are not limited to archives publications. Write for disciplinary journals, library journals, digital humanities journals, government resources, or whatever falls within the scope of your interests.

Some general tips:

  • don’t let your profession define what you write
  • book reviews and blogs are a great place to start
  • write with a publication in mind instead of squeezing it into requirements
  • find a writing group

It was a great conversation and lots of great ideas came up, both about writing and topics of interest. I also keep thinking about what else we need to do to continue these conversations. Don’t forget, I welcome suggestions for topics. I thank all of you for reading this blog but I see it as only one way to share experiences. So let’s keep the conversations going in whatever ways we can!

The Importance of Submission Guidelines

I received a suggestion to discuss following submission guidelines for journals. While it seems simple enough, I (as have other editors) have received submissions where it’s apparent guidelines were not thoroughly read. There are some flexibility and at times there are minor issues if not followed accurately, but it’s very helpful for editors when submissions adhere to the guidelines.

One of the most obvious, and the most challenging for both author and editor, is citations. Most journals use Chicago style, but library or other programs may use APA or MLA. The percentage of submissions I’ve received formatted in other than Chicago is small, luckily, but I have asked authors to redo citations. It is a tedious process to redo, and I’m sure not enjoyed by author nor editor. I’m most comfortable with Chicago style, as that’s what is used for Provenance, and what I used in my history PhD program. Even though I’ve been using it for years, I regularly use the quick guide to make sure formatting is correct. I know that authors will make errors and that’s okay, as long as overall it follows the appropriate style. Library or other programs may not use Chicago, so if an author is submitting a paper written for a class that creates extra work. It’s well worth investing the time. More about citations in a future post.

Because scholarly journals are peer-reviewed, it’s important that authors not include their name on the submission. This is something fairly easy for an editor to fix, but it is an extra step that can easily be alleviated. Margins, page numbering, type of document (such as Word), how to include illustrations, and length are all easy requirements to adhere to.

Authors have a responsibility to read the guidelines. To my knowledge, no article will be denied if it doesn’t adhere to guidelines, at least for Provenance. However, editors greatly appreciate it when authors follow instructions. My advice is for authors to read the guidelines multiple times as they work on submissions.

In return, journals have a responsibility to authors to provide clear guidelines. Provenance‘s guidelines are few and straightforward. American Archivist not only provides guidelines, but many tips on writing different types of submissions. I frequently refer authors to this site as I find it very helpful. Archival Issues has an extensive style guideJournal of Archival OrganizationArchivariaJournal of Western Archives, and other journals provide detailed guidelines.

A challenge for authors is that all journals have different requirements. In a quick review of the ones mentioned, all are very different. Provenance has few requirements, while Archival Issues has an extensive style guide. When in doubt, email the editor. I regularly answer questions prior to receiving a submission and I appreciate when authors take initiative to ensure it meets the requirements. These questions also help an editor clarify guidelines; if one person has a question, others probably do too. Previous Provenance guidelines mentioned “embedding” footnotes and I received numerous questions about this. It referenced formatting used long ago, and because of the questions I removed that stipulation. I want the guidelines to be helpful so questions and feedback will help strengthen them for future authors.

Guidelines exist to help both the author and editor. For the author, the help create a solid submission. For the editor, they help with putting the journal together. Authors that closely pay attention to the guidelines make editors happy. In my experience, most submissions have done well but I’ve heard from other editors who have had more challenges. It only takes a few minutes to read through them, especially if over time you submit to multiple journals. The editors will appreciate your efforts.