Historically, the value of publication has been measured by success in the marketplace and impact of the publication, whether that impact be cultural or scholarly. The calculus of this value has been as straightforward as number of copies sold (documented most widely in “best seller” lists) and/or dollars in profit generated to the complex citation and referral counts that result in a scholarly “impact factor.” As with so many areas of our cultural and intellectual lives, the widespread adoption of digital technology and networked communication (with its attendant social media practices) has disrupted our metrics of publishing value and has called for a revision of the ways in which that value is calculated. In some professional and social circles, page visits, link referrals, Google ranks, presence in the Twitter universe and other social media prominence, are now taken as seriously as scholarly citation and profit margins, a shift that raises questions for how scholars balance the emerging professional requirement for an online presences with the need for privacy and protected space for research. In addition, the value measure of pages visits and glances (where a quick hit might “count” for the same as an extended period of study and engagement) are still in the early stages of development. While we have seen the rise of “altmetrics” and “impact stories,” weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List continue to indicate worthiness for attention and the case for scholarly job security continues to be made by citation based measures. In addition, the increased ease of collaboration and co-authoring, even across wide spans of time and space, make assigning authorial and impact “credit” both more compelling and more difficult. We are also still developing rubrics for calculating the broader social contribution of work that is made widely available via the Web. In the scholarly context this revision of measures of value continue to be embedded in disciplinary practices and prejudices, contexts that have a significant impact upon shaping evaluation metrics.
The Journal of Electronic Publishing (JEP) invites reflections and reportage on enduring, emerging and potential measures of publication value. We expect such discussions will be rooted in the publishing context (of value to whom, for whom?) and will address both short-comings and usefulness of the metrics under discussion. While we anticipate that our contributors will be attendant to changes wrought by digital technology and networked communication, we are also interested in metrics embedded within print culture, both those that endure and those that are no longer current.
Publication is anticipated for late spring, 2014; final drafts will be due in April, 2014. Please send article ideas and indications of interest to the editor, Maria Bonn firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see the journal website for more information about the journal and the submission process.
JEP articles are peer-reviewed at the request of the author, and peer-reviewed articles are identified as such in both the article and in the preservation metadata. Editorial decisions are otherwise made by the editor in consultation with the editorial board. If you yourself are not prepared to write on these topics but you know of others who should be invited to contribute, please send suggestions to the editor, as above.