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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Prospective Guest Editors

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Questions

  1. Who reads Reconstruction?
  2. How do people find out about Reconstruction?
  3. Why guest editors?
  4. How do I become a guest editor?
  5. Do I need a co-editor?
  6. What happens if I do not have a co-editor?
  7. What are the steps to developing a successful issue?
  8. Can I feature things other than standard essays and reviews in my issue?
  9. Is there a particular process I must follow to review Reconstruction
    submissions?
  10. Do I need to arrange book reviews for my issue?
  11. What information should be included in my Call for Papers (CFP)?
  12. What if I don't get as many responses to my CFP as I hoped for?
  13. What if I don't get as many papers as promised?
  14. How frequently do I need to update the managing editor?
  15. What are APD and TPD?
  16. I haven't heard from my co-editor in some time - what do I do?
  17. Where do I send finalized submissions?
  18. How should submissions be formatted when I submit them to Reconstruction for posting online?
  19. Is there a peer review process for guest edited issues?
  20. How will the introduction be handled?

 

Answers

  1. Who reads Reconstruction?

Over 1,600 people visit Reconstruction each day. Although Reconstruction is aimed at academic communities, our diverse readership is comprised of interested parties from over 110 countries.

 

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  1. How do people find out about Reconstruction?

CFPs and publication announcements are posted to major online membership lists (UPenn, H-Net, CULT-L), as well as specialized lists as appropriate. Reconstruction is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals as well as the MLA International Database.

 

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  1. Why guest editors?

Moving to a format involving guest editors was about giving people the opportunity to bring together scholars from different fields, different institutions, different parts of the world to convene on a particular thematic. As such, it gives junior scholars an opportunity to work as editors and to come to understand how the editorial processes of academic journals work, as well as giving specialists in particular fields opportunities to place their work in (or put together, in the editors' cases) issues of journals dedicated to their kind of work, thereby producing focal points for the future study of various topics, themes, texts, etc. So, it served both to make the journal more participatory, more of a collective effort, as well as providing editorial and publishing opportunities that are relatively foreclosed for young scholars.

For Reconstruction, as a collective, it gives us a chance to stake out theoretical ground that hasn't been explored. A CFP allows a scholar the freedom to frame an issue in a particular way, seek out scholars who share an approach that might not find expression in the academy, and introduce the larger academic community to new ways of thinking.

 

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  1. How do I become a guest editor?

Reconstruction regularly sends out calls for papers (CFPs), and will soon begin sending out calls for editors (COEs).

To become a guest editor, please send an abstract of 500-800 words to the submissions editor. The abstract should detail the themes, debates and positions you wish to explore with your issue and how it is located in terms of ongoing academic conversations. You should also include a brief listing of your expectations for the number of papers, reviews and the types of submissions you envision for the issue. Proposals will be considered by the editorial board and comments should be returned to you within two months of your submission.

 

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  1. Do I need a co-editor?

You are not required to have a co-editor. However, Reconstruction is run by an editorial collective, and we feel strongly that this should be reflected in the composition of our issue editing process (i.e., collective effort = more than 1 person).

Solo guest editors may be offered the opportunity to work more closely with our members. Alternatively, the solo editor can consult more closely with the executive, especially the managing editor, to ensure an even distribution of the work and also to provide the guest editor with the necessary support for the completion of the issue.

 

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  1. What happens if I do not have a co-editor?

In the event that you do not have a co-editor, we will do our best to find (a) suitable co-editor(s) among our domain editors. You would always be the lead editor, but we do have every confidence that the working relationship will flourish and that the final publication will reflect both the intent of the original proposal and the aims and goals of the Reconstruction collective. The domain editor(s) will assist you with the vetting of papers, the arrangement of the papers (along thematic, disciplinary or other lines) and will help you maintain the rigour of the peer-review process.

 

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  1. What are the steps to developing a successful issue?

When preparing your issue, please keep two things in mind: first, try to determine a realistic schedule before beginning to plan the issue and make sure you have enough time to complete a quality issue before starting (issues can always be rescheduled); second, count backward from your expected publication date (confirm with managing editor), allowing realistic and generous amounts of time for each stage of the process.

Stages of Issue Preparation and Time Requirements

  • Call For Papers (CFP)

The managing editor will provide you with a standardized template for Reconstruction Themed Issue CFPs. You can adapt as you see fit, as long as the paragraph describing the journal stays (relatively) unchanged. CFPs are posted to major online membership lists (UPenn, H-Net, CULT-L), as well as specialized lists as appropriate. Allow at least six (6) months prior to first deadline.

  • Abstracts

    Guest editors often request abstracts (300-500 words, usually) to use in selecting contributors. Selection should be considered on a provisional basis. Allow three (3) to six (6) months between deadline for abstracts and selection of contributors. The selected contributors are then requested to submit a full-length submission. The editors may include comments and suggestions on the direction of individual submissions.

  • Full-Length Submissions

Either initial or selected full-length submissions should be considered the first draft of the final product. Time should be allowed for a full reading and review (and, if co-edited, discussion) of papers, and considered written responses should be provided to each contributor. Revisions should be expected. Allow at least four (4) months, though upwards to six (6) months or longer may be advisable, between notice (CFP or abstract selection) and deadline.

  • Final Revised Submissions

Contributors should be given a sufficient amount of time to revise their submissions, engaging all of the issue editor(s) comments by making the suggested changes or expressing and fully explaining disagreement. Also, contributors should be requested to provide final abstracts, endnotes, short biographies, and contact email (optional). Allow at least two (2) months to complete revisions. Proofs of the issue will be posted as quickly as possible and the technical editor will inform you as soon as this occurs. You should then contact your contributors immediately so that they can view their work and, if necessary, suggest cosmetic improvements and/or fix formatting issues which occasionally appear.

  • Delivery of Final Work to Technical Editor

Guest editor(s) may deliver final materials to the technical editor to be set up either in piecemeal fashion or all at once. Allow at least one (1) full month before expected publication date for set up, editorial board panel review, and final review. Again, proofs will be posted as quickly as possible and the technical editor will inform you as soon as this occurs. You should then contact your contributors immediately so that they can view their work and, if necessary, suggest cosmetic improvements and/or fix formatting issues which occasionally appear.

In total, the process of developing a guest edited Reconstruction themed issue may take 13-21 months from CFP to publication.

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  1. Can I feature things other than standard essays and reviews in my issue?

Reconstruction hopes to exploit of the capabilities of an online journal and as such we welcome non-traditional submissions which contribute to critical enquiry of any given topic. In the event that you expect and/or receive such submissions, we recommend that you contact both the managing editor and the technical editor as soon as possible so that we can determine the best way to assess and to present the material in question.

 

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  1. Is there a particular process I must follow to review Reconstruction submissions?

Ultimately, you and your co-editor(s) will be the primary readers but we also strive to maintain a supporting peer review process.

Reconstruction has a reader response similar to those used by other academic journals. If you would like to utilize our standardized reader report form, a copy is linked here or can be emailed to you upon request.

It may be advisable for you to find suitable readers in a particular area of expertise to provide expert opinions on particular pieces. Contact the Reconstructionsubmission editor and/or the managing editor to see if Reconstruction can provide such a reader. If you would like to use a subject-area reader outside of the Reconstruction collective, she or he must first be confirmed by the submission editor and/or managing editor, so that we can maintain a blind review process.

If you are ever in doubt about the quality of a given piece, or how to suggest improvements, you may always access our normal peer review process, as described on our Submission Guidelines page. We can always expedite the process and get you a response from one or more of our editorial board readers ASAP.

When your issue nears completion, an editorial review panel will review the entire issue as described below.

 

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  1. Do I need to arrange book reviews for my issue?

Themed issues require four to six reviews per issue. It is required that you consult with the reviews editor to develop your supply of reviews. You can recruit the reviews on your own, but you must do so in communication with the reviews editor so s/he can ensure that each issue has sufficient reviews. The reviews editor can assist you in getting books from publishers for review. You can also recruit reviews of performances, innovative projects/research, unique places, online sites, and visual/media/mulitmedia texts.

Reconstruction reserves the right to insert additional reviews into a guest edited issue if there are too few. The reviews editor will monitor and supply reviews as needed.

 

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  1. What information should be included in my Call for Papers (CFP)?

You are free to craft your own CFP, but we ask that the following paragraph, descriptive of the journal, be included:

    "Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture (ISSN: 1547-4348) is an innovative cultural studies journal dedicated to fostering an intellectual community composed of scholars and their audience, granting them all the ability to share thoughts and opinions on the most important and influential work in contemporary interdisciplinary studies. Reconstruction publishes one open issue and three themed issues quarterly. Reconstruction is indexed in the MLA International Bibliography."

Make sure you include in your CFP the first submission deadline and the expected date of publication, and your contact information. Sample CFPs for past issues can be supplied upon request.

It is recommended that CFPs be composed and saved as simple text (.txt) documents to avoid formatting errors when posting to lists that do not allow .html formatting.

 

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  1. What if I don't get as many responses to my CFP as I hoped for?

It may happen that your CFP does not receive as many responses as hoped. This should not be taken as a complete rejection but as an opportunity to rethink the issue and to take cues from the submissions that have arrived to determine how best to proceed. Regardless, should you encounter any difficulties please do not hesitate to contact the managing editor immediately.

 

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  1. What if I don't get as many papers as promised?

One of the more challenging aspects of the editorial process is having to coax and to cajole (to nudge and to needle) contributors and readers when it comes time to produce a final draft. Above we have provided you with a typical schedule of events. Guest editors should communicate the timeline to their contributors and maintain regular (six weeks is recommended) contact with them.

If you do not receive revisions from people who have promised papers, it may be necessary to create a stock email and send one for each outstanding submission. A typical contact would be:

"Dear [colleague],

I'm in need of your revisions for your essay "xxx" (#####xx) in order to finalize the contents for our upcoming Reconstruction [x.x: Issue Title]. Please send me revised paper as soon as humanly possible - preferably within a [the time remaining before the technical editor needs them]. If you are unable to complete the revisions in time, please let us know if you would like your essay to be considered instead for one the open issues.

Thank you!

PS. Attached are the reviewers' comments, in case you misplaced the set I originally sent."

Regardless, should you encounter any difficulties please do not hesitate to contact the managing editor immediately.

 

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  1. How frequently do I need to update the managing editor?

Hopefully you will be able to offer the managing editor an update which coincides with the release of a particular issue. As a minimum, you should update the working title for your issue, the number of submissions and their titles, the review and/or decision status for each submissions, the revision status of the submissions. The submissions editor may require more frequent updates.

However, if you encounter any difficulties please do not hesitate to contact the managing editor immediately.

 

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  1. What are APD and TPD?

These are our shorthand for Actual Publication Date (APD) and Target Publication Date (TPD). The TPD is our ideal date to release the finished version of each issue. That date will not change: the Monday of the third week of each quarter. In other words, the Monday of the third week of January, April, July, and October. Ideally, the APD and TPD will be the same. Any delay in the APD will likely mean that your particular issue will receive less time as the "current issue" than it might otherwise receive. This can seriously affect the readership and therefore the dissemination of the information.

 

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  1. I haven't heard from my co-editor in some time - what do I do?

While guest editors should develop an overall schedule of events in consultation with the managing editor, they should also arrive at a schedule of events and distribution of work on their own. Once these have been established the executive board will generally allow the guest editors to operate with as few interventions as possible. However, if for any reason you encounter any difficulties please do not hesitate to contact the managing editor immediately.

 

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  1. Where do I send finalized submissions?

Please send all finished papers to the technical editor so that proofs can be posted.

 

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  1. How should submissions be formatted when I submit them to Reconstruction for posting online?

    For general formatting of documents, please consult Reconstruction's Submission Guidelines page.

Please request your contributors to format their final submissions based on the following guidelines:

    • Save as Microsoft Word ".doc" documents, if possible.

    • Number each body paragraph sequentially as so: "<1> ... <2> ... <3> ..."

      • Do NOT number epigrams or block quotations

      • Leave a space between the number and the paragraph text, as so: "<1> Miller makes a grand error in saying..."

    • Use italics rather than underline for major work reference

    • If possible, make special graphics (flowcharts etc.) into picture files (e.g., .jpg, .gif, etc.)

    • Send pictures separately

      • You may send original files of whatever size - I will resize them for intra-essay publication with a link to the full-sized picture

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  1. Is there a peer review process for guest edited issues?

Once the proofs have been posted by the technical editor (please see schedule questions for timelines), every issue is given a final reading by a team consisting of at least the managing editor and one or two of the first three relevant domain editors. The final (blind) read is only to suggest relevant topics which might be added to the introduction (i.e., areas of further study that the issue points to, connections that occur for potential ordering), and, of course, cosmetic issues such as typos, syntax and grammar. As with any issue, publication of any article is at the discretion of the managing editor, in consultation with the editorial board.

 

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  1. How will the introduction be handled?

The guest editor should handle the introduction. You should begin writing this once the final cohort of essays has been determined and the introduction should direct readers to relevant themes and debates which have arisen in response to your CFP. Some issues arise from conference panels and the kinds of ad hoc conversations that occur during and after panels make great starting points. Don't be shy. Occasionally the direction of the issue will surprise you or you might discover the direction of the next conversation which might lead to another special issue. The introduction is a great place to address these issues. Help, as always, is available from the managing editor.

 

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