welcome phantom At last year's CAA meeting in Seattle, art editors had a special meeting to discuss "the crisis in art publishing." Apparently, the publication of art books is becoming so costly that it is no longer economically viable. This is even truer for scholarly art history books, which are printed in small editions and have a long shelf life. One editor told me in private that junior faculty can no longer count on having a book published by the time they come up for tenure, as university presses won't be able to produce as many books as there are junior scholars who need them to keep their jobs. phantom
While this is worrisome, it is a sign of the times. Paper publishing, especially of scholarly materials, is slowly becoming a thing of the past. A New York Times article, dated June 26, 2004, informed its readers that many scientists are abandoning the old, established paper journals to publish in online journals instead. In part, this is a question of economics: most libraries can no longer afford the astronomical cost of science journals. But according to Pamela Burdman, the author of the article, there is more at stake than money alone: "Free and widespread distribution of new research has the potential to redefine the way scientific and intellectual developments are recorded, circulated and preserved for years to come."
E-journals such Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide are the new reality of scholarly publishing. Most universities now recognize electronic peer-reviewed journals as a valid mode of circulating new scholarship and many have already articulated this in their tenure documents. An informal survey suggests that university presidents and deans are more open to e-publishing than faculty members (particularly in the humanities), many of whom remain stuck on paper publishing. No wonder that in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (November 7, 2003), Richard Atkinson advocates that "faculty members [my emphasis] should recognize and reward colleagues who choose alternative ways to disseminate their research." Says Richardson, "The rapid emergence of scholarly electronic publishing challenges our traditional methods of assessing professors' work for tenure and promotion purposes. We should take steps to guarantee that our evaluation practices keep pace with the adoption of new communication technologies."
While e-publishing is eminently accessible, particularly in the cases of journals that are free (hence not password-protected), there are some concerns that they don't have the same visibility in the scholarly world as paper journals. Thanks to the fact that both Art Index and BHA have begun to index e-journals, including Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, this no longer seems to be an issue. Many are also listed on university library websites, making them, literally, a few clicks away from the reader.
Another concern frequently voiced against e-journals is their alleged limited lifespan. Authors worry that their articles will disappear in cyberspace as technology changes. A new program, LOCKSS, funded in part by the Mellon Foundation, helps selected journals with digital preservation to guarantee continued access. We are happy to inform you that Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide has been targeted as one of the humanities e-journals in the LOCKSS preservation program.
We, herewith, present you with the eighth issue of Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, hoping that we can count on your continued support as readers, authors, and/or funders. We remain grateful to all who have helped us to come as far as we have.