Faculty and students to launch journal on ethics in publishing in fall

Media Credit: File Photo by Connor Witschonke | Staff Photographer

The Journal of Ethics in Publishing will launch this fall as an open-access resource.

Updated: April 14, 2020 at 6:48 p.m.

College of Professional Studies faculty and students are launching a journal focused on the ethics of publishing in academia.

Students enrolled in the Masters of Professional Studies in Publishing program – which teaches students about issues in the publishing industry, like copyright and marketing – will manage the Journal of Ethics in Publishing, set to debut this fall. Faculty and students developing the journal said the publication will be an open-access resource, free for anyone to access online.

John Warren, the director of the publishing program and an associate professor, said he was inspired to create the journal after reading capstone projects from students in the program that dealt with related issues. He added that no journal in the academic community currently addresses the topic.

“There’s a lot of journals about publishing, and they will publish articles about ethics,” he said. “They would not say, ‘This doesn’t fit.’ And there’s journals about ethics that might publish something of ethics in publishing, but there is no existing journal on publishing ethics.”

He said graduate students in the publishing program will assist with edits, peer reviews and publishing of the upcoming journal. The experience of running a journal will provide students with practical work experience and “real-world learning” in the realm of publishing, Warren said.

“There would be a good opportunity for our students to publish, but the other main idea behind the journal was also to give students in the program the opportunity to work on a journal,” he said.

The journal is accepting submissions from undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and professionals in the publishing world who hope to increase the field’s visibility. There is currently no submission fee for the journal, Warren said.

Warren said applications for an editor in chief with professional experience for the journal are open. Warren, along with publishing program faculty, will select the editor, the application states.

Once the position is filled, an editorial advisory board consisting of publishing professionals, program alumni and other stakeholders and experts in the field will form to work with the editor in chief to determine the journal’s direction and scope, Warren said.

He said the journal is a step toward his idea of forming a GW “teaching press” through which students and other community members have more opportunities to publish research. Warren said he expects this journal will inspire other students and faculty to start their own publications at the University.

“What I hope to achieve is to show faculty and students at GW that we have the ability to start journals like this, and there aren’t a lot of costs but rather time, effort and thought that’s involved,” he said.

The journal will launch in conjunction with the 10th annual GW Ethics in Publishing Conference, which was initially scheduled for April 23 but was postponed until the fall because of the ongoing pandemic.

Publishing ethics rose to the national forefront last month when a publishing company facing backlash decided against printing Woody Allen’s memoirs, in which he denies multiple sexual assault allegations against him. Another publisher has since elected to publish the memoir instead.

Shannon O’Reilly, a student in the publishing program, said her experience participating in discussions about the journal’s mission reflects the types of conversations a professional publisher would have. She said she hopes the journal will serve as an outlet for students to learn directly about the field.

“It’s not only going to become a tool for learning but a tool for highlighting really important issues within the publishing industry,” she said.

She said the journal will elevate the University’s publishing program and make it more attractive to students who want education and training in the field.

“The journal will really help set the GW publishing program apart by providing an opportunity for students to get hands-on experience working on a journal,” she said. “It will enhance the program even more and make it a really nice and grounded experience for incoming students.”

Josephine Sciortino, an alumna and a lecturer in the publishing program, said she plans to apply for the position of editor in chief and is “excited” about all the people who want to get involved with the journal. She said she wants to be involved in the journal even if she isn’t selected for its top post so she can help establish a “home” for student research.

“I’m really excited about the potential people who will put their name in the hat, and overall it would be a great way for the program to showcase what it does,” she said.

This post has been updated to reflect the following correction:
An earlier version of this post included an inaccurate quote attributed to John Warren. That quote has been updated. We regret this error.

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