The Journal: Capturing Cutting Edge Thinking

Assuming we need to capture our knowledge in a more formalized manner...

Should an IA journal be scholarly or more geared toward practitioners? Or do we need two journals?

Where does peer review fit in? Academic journals typically undergo a strict peer review process to ensure quality and authority; however, this process delays publication for months or, occasionally, years. Are there good models for more practice-oriented journals? Or do we simply call these magazines? WebTechniques might be a good model.

Finally, is there any need for a print version?

Posted by Louis Rosenfeld at November 02, 2001 04:02 PM

I think the peer review is needed if you want any academic acknowledgement of IA. But it does not necessarily have to happen prior to publication. If we use the Internet for publication, wouldn't we be brave enough to let our peers review us on line? Or perhaps some other workflow where selected members review together before release, again on the Internet, to the rest of the world.

Posted by Natasja Paulssen at November 12, 2001 8:30 AM

I also believe a peer reviewed journal is a good idea for research or theory oriented writing. One lacking aspect of field that exists in other fields such as Library and Information Science or HCI is a body of research that proposes theories that are tested repeatedly. Creating a journal that pushes for this type of research will help to further acceptance of our work in the academy.

Perhaps an additional publication that covers practical matters such as deliverable creation might also be created separately or as an adjunct to the journal? Or the two publications can live together somehow if the differences of scope are delineated well.

Posted by Michael Angeles at November 12, 2001 1:59 PM

We've actually got a practical journal in the works ("we" and the journal's nature to be annouced slightly later)

Posted by christina at November 12, 2001 5:48 PM

Having a peer-reviewed IA journal would add a great deal of credibility to the profession, I think. At the same time, I think many folks have a great deal to say in a less formal setting. Perhaps a split journal might be the solution. I'm thinking of something along the lines of Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship, which has "Board Accepted" and "Refereed" articles. The former is a less rigorous review than the latter.

Posted by Ken Varnum at November 12, 2001 8:19 PM

coming soon to a browser near you

as promised: we are

David Bloxom
Lisa Chan
George Olsen
Adam Greenfield
Chad Thornton
Gabe Zentall
Erin Malone
Andi Lewis
Thomas Vanderwal
Christina Wodtke

Posted by christina at November 14, 2001 6:23 AM

A couple of observations from an academic perspective. In my experience academics are being judged more and more on the 'quality' of publications, which tends to be judged on the perceived 'quality' of the journal. Indicators of journal quality include the publisher, the Editorial Board, the authors and whether it is peer reviewed. If you want to attract high quality academic papers then these quality indicators are important. It is also interesting to note that there isn't really a natural home for IA academic papers at the moment.

However peer reviewed does not necesarily mean paper based - look at JODI as an example of an online-only peer reviewed journal.

One of the BIG downsides to peer reviewing is actually finding peers who are willing and have enough time to do reviews.

Academic and practitioner 'journals' have different requirements, different readership and different authorships. However this does not necessarily mean that we need two separate publications - I seem to remember that ACM Interactions was quite a nice mix (this was a couple of years ago - it may have changed).

I would like to think that we want to encourage and develop both academics and practitioners in our community.

Posted by Daniel Cunliffe at November 19, 2001 2:54 PM

In any discipline there is a gap between theory and practice. Why? Academics tend to spew long-winded theories that lack concrete solutions from their lofty, tenured thrones that can instantly cure the worse case of insomia; Practitioners are too busy cranking out anything to meet that holy deadline to lift their heads out of the sand. (OK, so I'm exaggerating and over simplifying things.)

The point is, there is a lot of good stuff out there that practicing IAs don't know about, and a lot of real-world knowledge that scholars are unaware of.

An IA journal, something that is surely needed, should perhaps attempt to bring the two together (finally). Research that informs practice - imagine that!

This requires a new metaphor not based on the traditional journal model. I don't see the "either/or" option, nor do I think two journals (at least during IA infancy) would fly. Peer-review articles, for example, appear with the designation "peer-reviewed" somewhere in the heading. Editorials about the article explain what it all means and are not peer-reviewed. Other columns are also not peer-reviewed and as current as possible. Can it be done?

Print version: yes.

Posted by James Kalbach at January 18, 2002 10:01 AM

Boxes and Arrows

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