9.316 delays in publishing

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Sun, 26 Nov 1995 20:44:59 -0500 (EST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 316.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)

[1] From: John Coldewey <jcjc@u.washington.edu> (127)
Subject: Re: 9.309 advice requested

In response to your difficulty with the long delay in publication, I
would suggest that you ask for another third party to intervene. One
possibility is the Mediation Board of the Council of Editors of Learned
Journals (CELJ), an allied organization of the Modern Language
Association. Starting in late December, their new Mediation Board will be
chaired by R.A. Shoaf, Editor of Exemplaria. My own term as Chair of the
Mediation Board will end then, and since these cases often take some time
to work through (your own timeline is instructive here!), I think
Professor Shoaf would be the one to contact. His various addresses are:

R. A. Shoaf, Alumni Professor of English
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-2036
Senior Editor,
President, Council of Editors of Learned Journals

Typically, after being contacted, the Board collects all relevant
information and then tries to help work out an amicable solution.
Although it may not always seem so, academic publications are worth money
(as their protection by copyright laws would indicate) and have career
implications, which is why a contract to publish is legally binding on
both parties. The editor who acts callously, casually, or irresponsibly
is also acting in ways that can have legal consequences, though legal
recourse is rarely pursued for humanities publications.

I believe that experiences as extreme as yours are rare, though
excruciating delays are relatively common, as Michael Metzger points out
in his posting. Sometimes the intervention of a professional organization
can help clear up misunderstandings as well as intentional or unintentional
editorial lapses.

Your own reluctance to publish the name of the editor or the title of the
journal is a good indication of how much damage can be wrought by even
the whiff of such editorial misconduct as you describe. As is often the
case, the threat of sins being made public can act to deter them or bring
about a happy change of behavior. I hope that the prospect of such fame
being spread instantly and globally via list-serv devices like Humanist
will act to improve the relations between editors and their contributors.
Meanwhile, do contact Professor Shoaf to see if he will act on your behalf.

John Coldewey, Chair (until December 27)
Mediation Board
Council of Editors of Learned Journals