Thursday, 26 January 2012

Editorial - LLC. The Journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 27/1

It has been an exciting year for the Digital Humanities in general and for LLC in particular. Not only has the Journal managed to raise its subscriptions by 25%, submissions have gone up by an amazing 300% compared to the previous year. In 2011, LLC received 140 submissions, 80% of which got a decision within 3 months. The accepted papers were published in advance access on within 6 weeks after the final decision, and all four issues in 2011 appeared on time or even ahead of time. The issues were packed with slightly more papers than the previous year, and the Journal wants to grow further and negociate a larger page budget with its stakeholders. This is necessary because of the increase in submissions and the current acceptance rate of 55.10%.

The large number of submissions is explained by four evolutions in the Digital Humanities. First of all, the Digital Humanities are in very good health around the globe, which has recently been demonstrated by the Infographic 'Quantifying Digital Humanities' Melissa Terras published. More research is being funded which results in a higher number of theoretical and methodological papers as well as papers presenting research data and results. Publishing these papers will remain the core focus of LLC and I invite the readership to keep on submitting their papers to the Journal. Second, because the Digital Humanities are by definition interdisciplinary, new clusters of thematic research are being formed. This is reflected in a growing number of fine proposals for thematic issues the Journal receives. Although there is still room for unsollicited copy in the 2012 volume, we're already planning thematic issues for the 2014 volume. Together with the success of the Digital Humanities worldwide, a large number of taught courses, MA and PhD programmes are being organised. I point this out as a third evolution which influences the Journal because the introduction of the short paper in LLC especially appeals to young scholars enrolled or graduating from these programmes and has pushed the number of submissions up. The short paper offers young scholars the opportunity to getting acknowledged with the publication procedures of a peer reviewed Journal. At the same time the Journal profits contentwise from the submission of exciting reports on innovative and ongoing research. A fourth evolution in the Digital Humanities is the continuously growing production of publications which are being covered in the Journal by the intensive book review activity by our Reviews Editors.

The Journal also saw some changes during the last year. Huw Price has left OUP as Acting Publisher and LLC is now being looked after by Sarah Scutts. I'd like to thank Huw for all the hard work and the many fruitful discussions about the nature and the future of the Journal. I am looking forward to working with Sarah and her team. Also, Eva Gooding, who has been the Journal's Production Editor for many years, has handed over to Alexandra McAuley. I wish to extend my thanks to Eva for managing the production of the Journal so well, and I have no doubts that the Journal is in good hands with Alexandra.

At the end of 2011 we said goodbye to Stéfan Sinclair and Femke Vandevelde who have both been instrumental in the transition of the Journal between Editors. Stéfan Sinclair was appointed Associate Editor of LLC in 2005 and has served the Journal for seven years. Unfortunately, his new appointment as Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at McGill University, for which I want to congratulate him, is incompatible with the work on the Journal. Stéfan will continue his involvement with the Journal as member of the Editorial Board, to which I welcome him. Femke Vandevelde has been with the Journal as Reviews Editor for only one year, but together with Ron Van den Branden, she has added a new dynamic to this ever-expanding task. Femke has left her position at the Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature and is establishing herself as a food and lifestyle writer and editor. I'd like to thank Femke and Stéfan for the pleasant year(s) of collaboration on the Journal and wish them all the best in their further careers.

Marilyn Deegan, our Consulting Editor, is also to be thanked for helping me out in my first year of my editorship. Her experience with the Journal has been an invaluable source of information and her friendship means a lot to me.

I should also like to thank all of our book reviewers and paper referees, many of whom of course do their work anonymously and without whom peer-refereed journals could not survive. There has been a lot of debate over the last year about the investment academics make intellectually and time-wise to the peer-review of publications which are not Open Access. I believe LLC occupies an unique position in the Journal market because the copyright remains with authors who are entitled to (re)publish their contributions after publication in the Journal, as long as the original publication is referred to. This provides authors of LLC with the opportunity to publish in an established peer-reviewed Journal, with impact factor, ànd make their papers widely accessible in Open Access repositories. Also, in the coming year, LLC will be exploring a mixed model of conjoint publishing with DHQ wherein LLC publishes a peer reviewed article and DHQ simultaneously publishes an evenly peer reviewed piece making information and data available in Open Access. I hope that more authors will take up on this model and submit such mixed contributions to the Journal.

LLC remains to be the beating heart of the associations' activities and existence. The revenue of the Journal is substantial and goes directly to the participating associations. The Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing (ALLC), the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH), the Society for Digital Humanities/Société pour l'étude des médias interactifs (SDH/SEMI), and the recently joined centerNet, together with their umbrella organisation ADHO (Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations) reinvest this money in the Digital Humanities community by funding a wide scala of activities such as the production and publication of DHQ (Digital Humanities Quarterly), support of the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative), the organisation and sponsoring of workshops and conferences, the funding of small projects, the award of bursaries, awards and prizes. I invite you to keep on subscribing to the Journal and urging your institutions to do so as well in order to support his inmportant work. At the end of 2011 LLC counted 378 individual subscriptions and the Journal was accessible from 3,018 institutional sites.

Looking back on a terrific year for LLC and with a promising year in front of us, I should excplicitly thank the readership for their support and feedback. We can only maintain to serve the community if we hear about your views and comments. You can do this by including the hashtag #LLCjournal in your tweets and you can stay informed by following @LLCjournal on Twitter, find us on Facebook, visit the journal's website regularly or sign up to be notified automatically whenever a new issue becomes available online. You can be involved in the organisation of the journal by creating an account in the Journal's online system and registering your areas of expertise or by contacting the Journal ( if you want to become a referee or book reviewer.

Finally, my personal gratitude goes to Ron Van den Branden, our Reviews Editor, and to Wendy Anderson and Isabel Galina, our Associate Editors, for their hard work.

Edward Vanhoutte