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Re: [xmca] FW: MCA on Thompson Reuters ISI list
My goodness! This is such a fun conversation to follow.
You know, one problem with any Journal of Unconditional Acceptance is that it's nearly impossible to read everything that it publishes. (I wonder: Has anyone conducted an analysis of the amount of text generated by and for xmca?) I know Andy and others have been trying to find a way to curate--not gatekeep, but curate--these discussions and make them visible (and searchable, and cite-able) to a broader audience; I haven't heard much about this in a while, though it's possible updates have passed through this listserv and I haven't seen them.
My .02, as someone peering through the other side of the looking-glass: I think it's neat (i.e., GOOD NEWS!) that MCA is moving up the credibility scale, and I think it would be even neater if MCA could find a way to pair up its increasing credibility with some sort of ~notoriety~, quite possibly through a venue other than a print journal that, regardless of where it falls on any impact index, will continue to target and reach primarily other academics. Opening up more space in MCA for provocative ideas is nice, insofar as it makes space for alternative arguments and alternative research; but it's certainly nowhere near sufficient and, may I suggest, perhaps not even necessary. The scholarly journal, as we well know, is just one way of making trouble, and goodness knows there are so many other ways as well.
Learning Sciences Program, Indiana University
On Aug 25, 2011, at 9:58 PM, David Kellogg wrote:
> My dear Andy, you really needn't be so proud of those statistics. You have a long way to go before you can catch up with illustrious journals in the field such as the recently advertised "Journal of Unconditional Rejection". But perhaps that is what you mean when you say "Like any other journal of any kind, MCA does not publish anything submitted".
> Obviously, this is exactly the opposite of what I was suggesting. I was suggesting that the "thought piece" idea be greatly expanded/conflated with "editorial" and "commentary". The fact that the previous editor did not actually implement this feature, which seems to me to be a central function of the journal (and was THE central function of the journal when it was founded) is not an argument. When your practice contradicts your convictions, and the premises upon which your journal was founded, it isn't necessarily the latter which needs to be brought in line with the former.
> I find it rather hard to believe that you really discussed this with the other editors and they readily agreed to eliminating "thought pieces". I would certainly like to hear more from them about it, since your decision directly contradicts some of the most important goals of the journal. Has the managing editor, for example, been consulted? And what about other people in the MCA community? The readers, just for example?
> Martin has said that the editors of MCA are merely custodians for xmca. I think that is actually more of a wishful thought than a reality; the reality is that big names use the journal to recycle stuff they have already published elsewhere (Lantolf and Thorne). On the other hand, when the editor of MLJ said that one of my articles was extremely thought provoking but too specialized for his journal and suggested I submit to MCA instead, I knew exactly what would happen if I did (and I was right).
> Contrary to what you say, Andy, there once WAS a journal which published anything it received. Exactly twenty years ago next month, at the height of the mass arrests that followed the 1989 repressions in China, my students and I founded a journal called "Fresh Air". That was the only place I could publish my wife's first short stories, and my first research in applied linguistics. We also published pieces of short fiction that were later republished by "Passport" Magazine, in Cambridge, England (see "Children of the Revolution", Passport 4, April 1992).
> In all we published and distrbuted over 20,000 copies. Since we were self-supported, and we changed our printer regularly, we were never closed down, although sometimes the editors and distributors were called in for questioning (we could say, in my case truthfully, that we didn't read it nearly as carefully as the police did). It was a very exciting, even very free, moment in intellectual discourse with no exact equivalent here in the so-called "free" world.
> There is still a rough equivalent, though. Wolff-Michael Roth once mocked those of us who write long posts here on xmca by saying that we spend our time writing rather than publishing. Actually, it's not such a bad way to spend one's time (and I note that the quality of the writing here on xmca is in general far higher than that of the rejection notes I received from MCA under his tenure). Perhaps we should call xmca the "Journal of Unconditional Acceptance."
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> --- On Thu, 8/25/11, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> From: Andy Blunden <email@example.com>
> Subject: Re: [xmca] FW: MCA on Thompson Reuters ISI list
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Date: Thursday, August 25, 2011, 6:21 AM
> I can now confirm that we editors have discussed it and instructed Taylor & Francis to amend the "Instructions to Authors" printed on the inside back cover of MCA to bring it into line with what is actually current practice. Accordingly, we invite:
> * Original manuscripts will now be specified in word length: 6-8,000
> words, rather than number of pages, which is quite indeterminate.
> * We have deleted the invitation for "thought pieces."
> * Book reviews are normally by invitation of the editors (usually
> canvassed here in fact) and normally about 2,000 words, and
> * Commentaries up to 3,000 words.
> Like any other journal of any kind, MCA does not publish anything submitted. Commentaries will be reviewed by the editors and may be subject to review or rejection, but according to the norms of academic debate, somewhat different to the norms applying to original manuscripts.
> BTW, I have run a statistical report on our peer review process. Since last October, 45 original manuscripts (excl. book reviews) have been submitted of which 28 were rejected. Most of those not rejected went into the review process, and it is difficult to get intelligible stats on that over the short period since the change of editors, as the review process is sometimes quite extended.
> Andy Blunden wrote:
>> David, your message sent me to check the "Instructions to Authors" and I see they are out of date, and do not reflect current practice, so I will raise this with the other editors and we can redraft the instructions according to our current practice. That said ... the opportunity to submit commentaries on articles previously published in MCA remains in place.
>> Eugene's commentary was 4,800 words; my commentary was 3,300 words. We need to discuss, but I would have thought these are somewhat long for comments. We will discuss. Generally commentaries are not subject to the same criteria for publication. Both these were commentaries on edirorial practice, so they were a bit trickier. We will discuss. I have tended to presume that original manuscripts should be 6-8,000 words and all are subject to peer review and I don't see any change in that. Book reviews are treated quite differently, but we need to formalise this clearly.
>> The practice of publishing editorials has not been changed, but after the editorial introducing ourselves, I don't see this as being a continuing practice, and certainly there has been no talk of invited editorials, but we can discuss it.
>> David Kellogg wrote:
>>> I don't really want to start in again on my own rejections. As you say, there are probably perfectly good reasons why my articles are not acceptable, and they can probably be explained in ways that are perfectly civil and reasonable, without any aspersions on my commitment to the scientific enterprise or slights on my personal seriousness.
>>> What I really want to start in on is a serious suggestion that may bring that day closer. If we are going to dedicate a portion of the journal to reviewed articles which meet officially approved standards for pseudo-communicative acts that are universally accepted as evidence of academic seriousness, then we can also dedicate a portion of the journal to unreviewed articles which do not meet those standards and which can, therefore, flout them.
>>> This could be done by, say, merging the editorial with the commentary section. Instead of being an occasional feature, which as Roth pointed out, merely allows people to let off steam and can easily be ignored, this could be made a regular and even central part of the journal. Having the editorial as commentary would not only give the commentary a certain gravitas, it would keep the editors from falling into the trap of trying, redundantly, to write introductions to all the articles in the issue; instead of a kind of meta-abstract, editorializers might have a chance to really start a rumpus that we could continue here on xmca or which could even be made to reflect the rumpuses we have here. If the editors feel uncomfortable in this role, they could invite commentators from xmca to contribute.
>>> I don't think this is a destructive criticism, Andy; on the contrary, all I am suggesting is expanding a feature that already exists in the journal. It's a feature that YOU have made use of (in your response to Roth's celebration of Heidegger and phenomenology) and I have done too (in my response on deconstructionism). Along with book reviews, it is the only way I have been able to contribute to the journal (and despite what others think I do feel I have something to contribute).
>>> Sometimes in my ex-department at Seoul National University of Education we would put our students between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they had to be be objective and descriptive and realistic about what the teachers and students are doing and can do, given the curriculum, in the classroom, else our research has no generalizability. On the other, they were supposed to make radical suggestions for actually improving teaching.
>>> So in the end students had to offer radical suggestions based on nothing but theoretical prejudices, because of course there was no data to support it. If they tried to get data to suppor it, their studies would, by that very fact, have no external validity; they could not be representative of the general teaching situation which in general is poor. So then if the theoretical prejudices in question agreed with those of the examining professors, our grads would get a pass. If for some reason they did not...well, the grad also got a pass, but the path to a pass could be very long and unpleasant indeed. No wonder most of our work was so dull.
>>> It always seemed to me that the way out ot this dilemma lies actually in the data itself rather than in any radical reconstruction of our degree programme (I suppose, though, that this may only reflect my own Obama-like timidity). We just needed research methods which valorized the ATYPICAL in the data as well as the typical, modal, mean.
>>> In any spoken corpus (and in any written corpus like MCA) there are lots of atypical acts. Some of them don't go anywhere (and I think a fair amount of what I write does fall into that category and can be justly excluded for that reason). But when newness comes into the world, it always, necessarily, appears as a singularity, and only some sense of what is coming next will tell you which singularities are the dragonflies which are harbingers of the typhoon season.
>>> I certainly can't agree that all of the articles I read in MCA are "swimming against the stream". I think that if that WERE true then only articles that were swimming WITH the general cognitivist stream would really be against the MCA stream. Instead, I see a rising tide of mediocrity, and I think this is both causing and caused by the factor of "impact factor".
>>> As with any data base, though, there are significant singularities, and these can very fruitfully be expanded if there is editorial will to expand them. For example, Eugene Matusov's response to the impact factor issue in his commentary "Too Many Notes" was the delightfully appropriate expression: Mazel tov!
>>> David Kellogg
>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>> --- On *Fri, 8/19/11, Andy Blunden /<email@example.com>/* wrote:
>>> From: Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] FW: MCA on Thompson Reuters ISI list
>>> To: "Culture ActivityeXtended Mind" <email@example.com>
>>> Date: Friday, August 19, 2011, 6:38 PM
>>> The ISI listing was a process started in Michael Roth's tenure.
>>> While I personally don't have any strong feeling about the
>>> listing, I know that for a certain section of our valued community
>>> of authors it is important as it helps their academic career. I am
>>> happy that they will be happy that's all. But it certainly never
>>> influences either the editors or our reviewers in their assessment
>>> of articles.
>>> While you make a generalisation whose truth is undeniable, I
>>> cannot accept that MCA reviewers can be tarred with such a brush.
>>> All of us are swimming against the stream, that is a fact.
>>> David Kellogg wrote:
>>> > I don't really see how this is GOOD news, Andy. From my point of
>>> view, it builds the wall around MCA even higher, and makes it even
>>> less likely that I will ever be able to publish there.
>>> > But I HAVE published in highly ranked impact factor journals,
>>> and I'm a reviewer for half a dozen of them, including several on
>>> the Thompson Reuters ISI list. I can tell you this: the vast
>>> majority of articles that pass through our review process and into
>>> our pages are what I would call pseudo-communicative acts.
>>> > That is, they are designed to tell you things that you already
>>> know in such a way that you will recognize at a glance their
>>> versimilitude and erudition as a copy of your own. They are
>>> probably the biggest single reason for stagnation and attrition in
>>> professional knowledge, and if that is the kind of impact we are
>>> talking about, I rather hope our impact factor is as low as possible.
>>> > I think this makes it more urgent than ever that the editors,
>>> and above all the reviewers, of MCA open their pages to genuinely
>>> communicative acts, of the sort xmca is made of, even if these are
>>> couched in terms that might seem glippant or flib to reviewers. I
>>> don't think we can measure the commitment of our writers to a
>>> scientific vision by lexical choice and style alone.
>>> > If this isn't workable, perhaps we could greatly expand the
>>> "Commentary" section? Or how about a few cutting edge editorials?
>>> > David Kellogg
>>> > Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>> > --- On *Fri, 8/19/11, Andy Blunden /<firstname.lastname@example.org
>>> > From: Andy Blunden <email@example.com
>>> > Subject: Re: [xmca] FW: MCA on Thompson Reuters ISI list
>>> > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org
>>> > Date: Friday, August 19, 2011, 4:50 AM
>>> > I am one of the editors, Arthur, and we are learning all
>>> this from
>>> > you! :)
>>> > andy
>>> > Bakker, A. (Arthur) wrote:
>>> > > No, sorry, I don't. The Publisher writes: "next year MCA will
>>> > receive its first ISI number and rank."
>>> > >
>>> > > I know of other journals (e.g., Educational Research Review)
>>> > that between the announcement of acceptance until citation
>>> > there can be a considerable time lag (more than a year). But I
>>> > have also heard impact factors of journals that were not yet on
>>> > the ISI list (e.g., Educational Studies in Mathematics), so the
>>> > publisher then has computed such figures themselves.
>>> > >
>>> > > Anybody else? Editors of MCA?
>>> > >
>>> > > Arthur
>>> > >
>>> > >
>>> > > -----Original Message-----
>>> > > From: email@example.com
>>> > <http://firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>> > [mailto:email@example.com
>>> > <http://firstname.lastname@example.org>]
>>> > On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
>>> > > Sent: vrijdag 19 augustus 2011 11:50
>>> > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>> > > Subject: Re: [xmca] FW: MCA on Thompson Reuters ISI list
>>> > >
>>> > > Arthur,
>>> > > I found (today) MIND CULTURE AND ACTIVITY listed as a journal
>>> > covered by
>>> > > the Web of Science, Social Science Index, but I still
>>> could not
>>> > find an
>>> > > index, Impact Factor, or such like. Do you have any idea
>>> on how
>>> > TR-ISI
>>> > > rated MCA?
>>> > >
>>> > > Andy Blunden
>>> > >
>>> > > Bakker, A. (Arthur) wrote:
>>> > > >> Good news, confirmed by the publisher: MCA is now
>>> included in
>>> > Thompson Reuters' Social Sciences Citation index (SSCI)
>>> > >>
>>> > >> Arthur
>>> > >>
>>> > >> My name is Jacob Harte, Editorial Assistant for Mind, Culture
>>> > and Activity. I'd like to thank you for your interest and
>>> > for MCA.
>>> > >>
>>> > >> Recently I was forwarded your query and I'm proud to
>>> inform you
>>> > that MCA is now included in Thompson Reuters' Social Sciences
>>> > Citation index and next year will receive its first ISI
>>> number and
>>> > rank.
>>> > >>
>>> > >> Should you have any further questions please feel free to
>>> > contact me directly.
>>> > >>
>>> > >> Kindly,
>>> > >> Jacob
>>> > >>
>>> > >> Jacob Harte
>>> > >> Editorial Assistant
>>> > >> Education, Arts & Humanities
>>> > >> Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
>>> > >> 325 Chestnut St, Suite 800
>>> > >> Philadelphia, PA 19106
>>> > >> Phone: (215) 625-8900 ext. 379
>>> > >> Fax: (215) 625-2940
>>> > >> Email: email@example.com
>>> > <http://firstname.lastname@example.org><mailto:email@example.com
>>> > <http://firstname.lastname@example.org>>
>>> > >>
>>> > >> > __________________________________________
>>> > _____
>>> > xmca mailing list
>>> > email@example.com
>>> > <http://firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>> > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> Joint Editor MCA:
>>> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
>>> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857
>>> MIA: http://www.marxists.org <http://www.marxists.org/>
>>> xmca mailing list
> -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g932564744
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857
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