Message from the Editor - Welcome to the New Normal
On Aug 24, 2009, the online-only Engineering Design Graphics Journal (the Journal) was launched (see http://www.edgj.org) following an eighteen month self-study. The self-study began Feb 2, 2008 when the then Engineering Design Graphics Division Executive Committee Chair, Kathryn Holliday-Darr, issued a challenge in response to division member concerns and complaints: “…make suggestions on how to fix the problem”. One of the major concerns was for the sustainability of the Journal.
Following the Feb 2, 2008 challenge, an online dialogue took place among division members regarding the immediate future of the Journal. During the division’s 2008 annual conference, a five member ad-hoc committee was formed to look into the various options for publishing an online-only journal. At the division’s 63rd annual mid-year conference, La Verne Abe Harris, the journal’s editor and the division’s director of publications, proposed adoption of Open Journal Systems (OJS) as the means for publishing the Journal based on recommendations by the five member ad-hoc committee. By the division’s 2009 annual conference, and because of support provided by East Carolina University and the availability of a graduate assistant, an OJS online-journal test site had been launched and six issues of the journal, including the two most recent issues, volume 73 numbers 1 and 2, had been posted. At the conference, I assumed responsibility as the division’s director of publications and editor of the Journal. During the division’s 64th mid-year conference, in addition to reporting that the journal had been officially launched following secession of testing, it was reported that a total of 27 issues of the journal had been posted.
Prior to the publication of volume 73, all issues of the Journal were printed and physically mailed to those entitled to issues. As well, and up through the last issue published, volume 73 number 2, all manuscripts were submitted as attachments to an email message and the editorial process was handled by means of emailing attachments: a rather cumbersome process at the very least.
Key to the successful production of any journal in transition includes ensuring authors can continue negotiating the submission, editorial, and publication process; reviewers can continue evaluating manuscripts; and editors can continue working with authors and reviewers with relative ease. For this reason, the Journal is presently pursuing a blended approach to publishing the journal. A successful transition will involve getting authors and reviewers trained and acclimated to the new normal of the fully online process. A year will be set aside to complete this transition. That is, for the next year or so, the Journal will continue accepting manuscripts the old fashion way and reviewers will continue receiving manuscripts for review the old fashion way. However, authors and reviewers will be encouraged to use the system. Delivery of the Journal however will be online. During this one year period, it’s anticipated that authors and reviewers will transition to the new normal.
I look forward to working with the members of the division, encourage authors to check out our site and submit their manuscripts, and welcome inputs that will help us succeed in this endeavor. Your willingness to negotiate the new normal will ensure our success.