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a born-digital, open-review volume edited by Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki

response from Press reviewer 2 (March 2011)

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 March 2011
I am pleased to see us pursue a volume focused on digital history that will be born-digital.  Given the commitment to and expertise in digital publishing already evidenced by the two editors, this strikes me as exactly the right route to take.  Their reference to the Shakespeare Quarterly open-peer review process is an appropriate comparison, and it also suggests that more clarity may be needed in exactly what shape the project will take.  That project had a very specific set of goals and a carefully designed process mapped out before the project began.  I think the proposal at hand would benefit from another working through along both of these lines.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Regarding the goals, the first assessment from the editors does a good job suggesting how the project might be better contextualized by the editors. Such a frame would be useful to have in place before essays are solicited.  These questions should be addressed in the revised proposal: What specific interventions do the editors intend to make?  Are their goals to model new historigraphical methodologies?  Reach broader audiences?  Navigate between ‘public’ and ‘private’ history?  All of the above?  Will the volume be open to all periods and sub-fields?  It might be useful to have the editors submit a draft of the Call For Papers they will circulate, as this document would likely address many of these concerns.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 More practical elements of process need also be addressed.  How will essays be broadly solicited?  Will all submitted essays be put online but only some selected for publication?  Or will a pre-web selection process take place?  Will authors be encouraged to comment on other submitted essays on the site?  How will others be encouraged to contribute to the review?  Will the final product be revised essays on the site itself or some digital object for purchase? (not unimportant)  Will commenting on drafts stay ‘open’ even after the publication of a final project?  Will readers be able to comment upon (and authors continually revise) the final project?

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 1 As noted above, I am excited that this is proposed as a ‘born-digital’ project.  Are there ways that the editors might push this format in interesting directions?  For instance, since much online historical publishing deals with multimedia, dynamic datasets, or mapping, do they conceive of a format that pushes beyond strictly print?  I could imagine a project like this stretching to include new curatorial models as well as ‘excerpts’ of multimedia platforms, including something like HyperCities.  (The editors might contact Todd Presner and Phil Ethington in this regard.  They would be great contributors at any rate.)

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 I also wonder if the time line is a bit rushed.  If the essays are meant to be new ones, why not give scholars until at least midsummer to prepare substantive drafts, and then allow a month or so for commenting, and further time for editing?  In other words, why the late summer deadline?  While Hacking the Academy uses a model of aggregation of existing content (or of short form newer pieces), the Shakespeare Quarterly experiment featured original, long-form essays.  This second model seems to require more time.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Overall, we think this proposal has great promise and represents the direction we should be moving forward with for the series.  Still, having a bit more by way of details is required before idea before moving forward.

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Source: http://writinghistory.trincoll.edu/evolution/reviewer2/