The Future of the Scholarly Journal

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Amodern : Inaugural issue Call for Papers

The Future of the Scholarly Journal

Amodern enters the world at a crucial moment in the history of the scholarly journal. An important first task is to assess the opportunities and challenges ahead. For that reason, we are devoting the first issue of Amodern to a critical conversation about the future of the scholarly journal.

Digital media provide a platform for combining image, text, sound, and video, prompting questions about the implications of a large-scale shift from page to screen. In 2010, Cell Press (an Elsevier science publisher) triumphantly announced its "article of the future" format, arguing that scholarly writing should adopt the conventions of web layout to better address contemporary audiences . Given the available array of digital affordances, it is certainly possible to imagine the transformation of scholarly communications into just such an "enhanced knowledge system," and the reach and affordability of Open Access publishing promises to deliver contemporary research to the widest possible audience.

At the same time, networked digital media also present serious challenges to the scholarly community. The degree to which digital media make it possible to decouple knowledge and authorship through distributed, collaborative creation plays havoc with the scholarly community's reliance on authorship and originality as metrics of authority. Digital media's mixing of forms, genres, and content destabilizes the traditional grounding of scholarship in established modes of access and address. The migration of scholarly communication from a closed environment where information is scarce and slow to an open environment defined by overwhelming abundance and speed presents scholars with a new and extreme set of exigencies to negotiate. Conversely, attempts to impose artificial scarcity on digital formats, and the instability of the digital environment raise serious questions about the availability of digitized research for posterity. Cell's revocation of easy public access to the beta of its article of the future is a case in point.

While there have been some forays into addressing these issues such as the recent report "Lasting Change: Sustaining Digital Scholarship and Culture in Canada," there is much more to say on the subject. The scholarly community continues to face momentous decisions related to new media. Possible paper topics might address some of the following questions:

o How will the academy adapt to the capabilities of digital networked media and still maintain acceptable standards of scholarly literacy and authority?
o How will institutions of higher learning integrate new forms of scholarly productivity into their review and reward structures?
o What will these new modes of scholarly communication look like?
o How will they integrate the inbuilt intermediality of the Internet into scholarly communication?
o What sorts of issues for production, circulation, consumption and storage does digital scholarship raise?
o To what extent and how does the scholarly use of digital networked media enter into new media narratives?

At hand are new possibilities for producing, structuring, and mobilizing knowledge via digital networks. At stake are some of the core principles that define scholarly integrity and authority.

We welcome contributions that address all aspects of this topic, especially those that relate to the questions posed above.

Send submissions as an email attachment (.doc, .docx, .wpd, .rtf or PDF) by 1 September 2011to Names of authors and any references that would identify the author(s) should not appear in the manuscript. Please include a 125-word abstract and a brief (25-50 word) bio indicating full name and email address.

About Amodern
Amodern is a peer-reviewed, international, open access scholarly journal devoted to the study of media, poetics, and culture. Its purpose is to provide a forum for interdisciplinary conversations about the role of media in the cultural practices of our time. The journal will be distinguished by its focus on poetics, particularly the unruly ways media and technology get deployed behind, beneath, and despite their instrumental functions.

The journal takes its title from Bruno Latour's notion that "We have never been modern." In Latour's and our sense, amodernity connotes crisscrossing boundaries, an unwillingness to categorize, and perhaps even the emergence of a cultural logic other than the postmodern. Our goal is to attract work from both inside and outside the academy that bears witness to media as complex assemblages of institutions, subjects, bodies, objects, and discourses.

Founding Editors
Scott Pound
Darren Wershler

Editorial Advisory Board
Johanna Drucker
Gary Genosko
Lisa Gitelman
Jerome McGann
Marjorie Perloff
Brian Rotman
Will Straw
Kim Sawchuk

Editorial Board
Jeff Derksen
Craig Dworkin
Lori Emerson
Jonathan Finn
John Maxwell
Nick Montfort
Sianne Ngai
Matt Soar
Bart Simon