Comunicar Journal Blog

Re-imagining Scholarly Publishing

The 2015 AEJMC Annual Convention came to a close yesterday. Like many other academic conference goers, I was there to learn new ideas and refresh with old friends from many difference places on this planet.

Among all the delightful and exciting encounters there, it was the most impressive knowing that my UNC-Chapel Hill professor Deb Aikat was one of the only two recipients of book contracts in the first year of the Scholarsourcing initiative. Feeling happy for him, I also started to look into what it means by “scholarsourcing.”

Scholarsourcing is still new – if you type the word into a MS Word document, it is still unrecognized and red-underlined, reminding you to check spelling. It seems the term is based on the idea of “crowdsourcing”, which has been analysed in Comunicar 43. Crowdsourcing, a term associated with the popularity of Internet and social media, is defined by Merriam-Webster as the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers (limited number of people). That is to say, then, scholarsourcing means soliciting contributions from a large group of scholars online.

AEJMC has partnered with Peter Lang Publishing since last year for the new Scholarsourcing Series, which aims to re-imagine how scholarly books are proposed peer-reviewed and approved for contract. So here is how it worked for my UNC professor Deb Aikat with his new book “Who’s a Journalist? News in a Digital Age.” In the competition’s inaugural year, AEJMC invited organization members to submit book proposals that are relevant to journalism and mass communication. Aikat made one in. The submissions were then reviewed and voted on by other AEJMC members. After the peer review, an editorial committee reviewed the top proposals, top two of which eventually earned book contracts with the publisher.

In an interview, Aikat said the scholarsourcing competition allowed him to run his idea past fellow media researchers and receive feedback. “I wanted to test market my book idea among AEJMC’s vibrant academic milieu of more than 3,700 educators, students and practitioners worldwide.”

AEJMC has launched the Year 2 Scholarsourcing Series and is now inviting abbreviated book proposals with an Oct. 15 deadline. Catch it if you can!