Sociotechnical Notemaking: Short-form to Long-form Writing Practices

I've just published a piece in the journal Present Tense that attempts to bring research from my discipline (Rhetoric and Writing) to a public debate about networked writing practices (especially via social software), while simultaneously bringing that public debate to the attention of scholars in my field.

In this sense, the article is less "academic" than other stuff I write because I'm explicitly trying to reach a public audience and show them that, hey, we've been researching this stuff for years, and it is meaningful ("it" being short-form writing). That said, it's still pretty academic in tone...

Sociotechnical Notemaking: Short-form to Long-form Writing Practices

On a related note, I wanted to mention how great it was to interact with Present Tense through the review process. I submitted my manuscript on May 4th and had a decision on May 26th. You read that right. The piece was reviewed by two referees (who provided excellent feedback) and returned with editor's comments in the space of 3 weeks!

If you're an academic, you know that this approaches the speed of light for peer-reviewing scholarship. Granted, part of the reason that Present Tense can turn manuscripts around so quickly is the brevity of the articles it publishes—2,000 to 2,500 words. In fact, part of the lag between the decision and today's publication was my need to trim my 3,100 word submission down to about 2,500 words.

I also really like that Present Tense publishes articles when they're ready rather than waiting to cobble together 6 or 8 articles before releasing a full issue. They still publish issues (my article is in Vol 2 Number 1), but they publish finished articles directly to the site when they're ready to go, which also decreases the overall turnaround time dramatically and gets ideas out into the public domain in a timely manner. Finally, they have fantastic Review and Advisory Boards, their editors were wonderful throughout the process, and articles are fully open access and published with a Creative Commons license.

If you have a shorter article or an idea for a more concise article (for example, I wrote my piece specifically for the journal), I'd highly recommend Present Tense.


Noah said...

My blog, HiR used to publish e-Zine twice a year, or thereabouts, but it was mostly written by a small handful of locals. It's still written by that small handful of locals, but in a much more free-form manner. From production to consumption in the digital world, pushing individual feature articles is really the only way to do it online. Periodic compendiums, on the other hand, make much more sense when considering the logistics of printed media. It's cool to see Present Tense does both.

Brian J. McNely said...

I agree, Noah. That's one of the reasons I wrote something for Present Tense—I thought their approach was really innovative, and I wanted to be a part of it!

cbd said...

Did you see the discussion about peer review on the Blogora? Pretty interesting. It would be nice to see this trend continue. http://rsa.cwrl.utexas.edu/node/5442

Brian J. McNely said...

Thanks for the tip, Bradley. I hadn't seen that discussion, and the comments to the piece are quite interesting.

I just kind of expect that when I submit something to a major venue that it will be at least two years before it sees publication, if all goes well. In the interim, my philosophy is to try to have my activity generate enough stuff out at any given time that these rolling dates won't matter as much.

I also work in areas where proceedings publications are valued (like Computer Science), and those obviously have a tighter submission to production schedule, which is nice.

But still, the Present Tense turnaround is amazing.

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