CFP: On Gathering: Exploring Collective and Embodied Modes of Scholarly Communication and Publishing”

The Journal of Electronic Publishing invites proposals for their special issue, “On Gathering: Exploring Collective and Embodied Modes of Scholarly Communication and Publishing.” From the call:

When we think of scholarly communication, we’re usually thinking of something that can be shared independent of its creator(s). A book, a journal article, multimodal work, conference proceedings—the formal and disembodied aftereffects of a long process of thought, conversation, writing, and editing. Much harder to trace are the ephemeral steps that precede that formal work. And yet, those in-between steps are vital to the research process—so how can we make them more apparent in formal and informal publishing as well? Changes in scholarly communication have shifted the boundaries of where and how we share our work, and through which intermediaries. Still, even in more fluid forms of gray literature and digital publishing, which blurs some of the lines between polished work and work-in-progress, we typically think in terms of artifacts.

And yet, so much of our actual thinking takes place in spaces of indeterminacy and interpersonal connection. These momentary and provisional collectives—what Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing describes as “patchy assemblages”—spark new modes of working, thinking, and being together in higher education as well as sharing the outputs of such collaboration. What emerges from connection, engagement, amplification, thinking-together across disciplinary spaces and ways of knowing? How do we make manifest the relationship-oriented, process-oriented modes of working that shape scholarly thought? And, conversely, how are our thoughts and ideas circumscribed by the institutional, hierarchical, and publishing structures we have inherited, as well as the tools and technologies we work with?

Just as mushrooms spring up from the rot of the forest floor and return nutrients to depleted soil, perhaps something new might emerge in scholarly communication from the decomposing remnants of what came before. Drawing on this metaphor of the ecological functions of fungi, we encourage contributions that consider matters of interdependence, coalition building, and collective thriving in and beyond the university, even in less-than-pristine conditions.

For this special issue, we invite contributions that explore these questions, and that offer ideas for how we might continue to reimagine how we share research. How do we together create the conditions for this flourishing? How do we collectively foster the quiet attunement that predicates urgent action? Following Natalie Loveless and Carrie Smith, how might an attention to tempo—slowing down and observing at times, working with urgency at others—be a purposeful act of resistance? We invite submissions that imagine what the communication of scholarship might look like if organized around the collective flourishing of those who work, learn, and teach within its bounds. Experimentation with form or substance is welcome.

This special issue grows from the Inkcap Collective, an informal gathering of practitioners in and around higher education who share a frustration with the status quo and a hope that things can be better. We value curiosity and care, equity and mutual sustainability, messiness and beauty. The group is a space of abundance and overflow, where desires exceed institutional parameters. It is predicated on critical hope: a hope that does not overlook the challenges of our current social, economic, and environmental conditions. We believe that educational institutions can support research, exploration, teaching, and human development without falling into lockstep with market forces. Rather, higher education can be a space that resists these forces, that instead upholds values of curiosity, delight, and shared human flourishing.

For instance:

  • Case studies of successful collaborations, gatherings, and process work in this area
  • Evocative conceptual pieces that illustrate the themes of the CFP
  • Speculative imaginings of multi-agential or plural scholarly communication futures
  • Ideas for, or examples of, mutually beneficial partnerships that extend beyond the university and serve scholarly communication reform
  • Pieces that extend and deepen the ecological metaphors presented here, in relation to scholarly communication and / or digital publishing collabs
  • Materials that show process over product
  • Analyses that illuminate the material and intellectual boundary work around scholarly communication
  • Other topics welcome! Please contact the special issue editor, Katina Rogers, if you’d like to discuss other ideas prior to submitting []

Proposal abstracts are due by December 15, 2023.

dh+lib Review

This post was produced through a cooperation between Jennifer Matthews, Kayla Abner, Rebekah Walker, Ruth Carpenter, Arianne Hartsell-Gundy, Elizabeth Parke, Divya Mathur, Kristin Van Diest, Emily Cukier, Leigh Bonds, Melissa Runnels, Johannes Sibeko, and Amy Gay (Editors-at-large for the week), Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara and Rachel Starry (Editors for the week), Claudia Berger, Linsey Ford, Pamela Lach, Hillary Richardson, and John Russell (dh+lib Review Editors).