How will Fembot be Run?

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.



4 responses to “How will Fembot be Run?

  1. I’m okay with Institute, btw.

  2. I love these ideas. I also wonder how we build a sense of collaborative connectivity with each other and with our different milieus. I am a part of a vibrant collection of feminist scholars at Concordia, sometimes struggling to keep the very word alive in the institution, and to a lesser extent in my Department. I assume that many of my feminist colleagues would love to be connected to the fembot effort: many of us are self identified feminist-technoperverts. Can I inform them of the fembot-initiative and can we set up vibrant nodes/hubs/modules/clusters in our local crucibles, and bring them on board in some way?

    To build towards a symposium, and create a track record of activity, can we take some preliminary steps to mini-symposia, afternoon seminars, virtual lunches, late afternoon cocktail events using the possibility of ‘skype’ (or whatever) to get to know each other?

    Can we also set this up so we can present work in progress?

  3. I think having local hubs/nodes/etc would be a great way to help us build a more vibrant community. Please do inform folks at Concordia and others you may know and invite them to participate.

    I also like the idea of presenting works in progress and that may be something that we can figure out as part of the workflow modules and differing levels of review or types of materials that could also be tied to the portfolio. I want to make sure we scope the project for the start-up grant to emphasize the journal aspects, but I think an essential part of the community will be the ability to review each others’ work.

    The virtual mini get togethers could be fun. I’ll need to think a little more about the logistics.

    Thanks for the great ideas and keep them coming!

  4. Michelle Rodino-Colocino

    I’m thinking of words we’d like to use, as a tentative way to reference our work as a more community-oriented, interactive, participative “editorial-board-that-does-so-much-more.” So far, we’ve got editorial institute or just “institute.” I’m also thinking of drawing on language from CSA (community-supported agriculture) movement, collective action models and community/participatory research methods: So here are some suggestions, please chime in with your thoughts on these, add other terminology or sources for language, and mix and match as inspired:
    Instead of “editorial board,” Fembot members belong to an:
    Editorial Institute
    –Importing CSA language:
    Community-supported research board (CSR instead of CSA)
    Feminist-supported research community (these are kinda wordy)

    –A few additional questions for the group: Is it “editorial” or “board” you find misrepresents the goals and philosophy of Fembot? “Editorial” seems to miss much of what we want to do as an interactive, collaborative, democratic community. “Board” also seems a bit dead and not to interactive. But there might be institutional value (ie for legitimacy in the eyes of the academy) in keeping one of these more familiar terms.

    Perhaps emphasizing the peer review aspects of our work would balance our interest in being legit w/ our interest in pushing boundaries?
    Peer review community
    Peer review network
    Review collective
    Review collaboratory
    Editorial collaboratory


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