Clunky way of putting our first question. Let me try to frame it more elegantly. We don’t want Fembot to replicate the problems of those early, heady days of academic web design, where people just took print-based information and slapped it onto a website. That is, we don’t want Fembot to do what so many online journals seem to be doing, which is to just turn print journals into online journals, importing all the downsides of traditional journals in the process.
More to the point, we have an opportunity not only to reinvent academic publishing — taking control of the means of production and making our scholarship open in the broadest possible sense — but we also have the opportunity to reinvent the organization overseeing publication.
We’ve been struggling for some time to define what kind of administrative structure we’d need for this project. I think that we agreed that we don’t want an editorial board that is seldom if ever consulted about the administration of the publication, that never interacts (no sense of community), and whose relationship to the process of editing and reviewing is pretty much a one-off deal (e.g. you evaluate the journal and then sometimes see a second draft).
At the same time, we need to have an organization that will be understood to be legitimate within the academy so that our decisions about publishing (and the publications themselves) will carry the kind of cultural capital our contributors need for tenure and promotion cases.
So in a nutshell, here’s the first question. If we aren’t an editorial board, what are we? The term “institute” was suggested, which gets us closer, imo, and “collaboratory” has also been thrown into the mix. Keep in mind that we want a structure that’s transparent in its rules for membership (which will also give it more credibility); that is grounded in collaboration rather than isolated intellectual labor; and that won’t be too taxing in terms of work load for individual members.