The new preprint server MediArXiv was launched in January and will begin accepting submissions on Friday, February 1. The project, initiated by Open Access in Media Studies, aims to introduce the concept of pre- and post-print publishing in the fields of media, film, and communication studies. MediArXiv encourages submissions across all domains of media, film, and communication studies, along with cognate fields like information science and science & technology studies. We invited Jeroen Sondervan and Jefferson Pooley, members of the MediArXiv steering committee, to tell us about the project.
The mission of MediArXiv is to open up media, film, and communication research to a broader readership and to help build the future of scholarly communication. One important aspect of advancing scholarly communication is to speed up the process of publishing journals and books. The time between an article’s submission to a published version can take a very long time, sometimes even years, and pressure on reviewers is getting out of hand. MediArXiv provides a non-profit platform for media, film, and communication scholars to upload their working papers, pre-prints, accepted manuscripts (post-prints), and published manuscripts.
Preprints—as an instrument and option for speeding (and opening) up the scholarly communication process—are fairly new to the humanities, and still somewhat uncommon in the social sciences. But preprints are now routine in many of the natural science fields (e.g., arXiv, BioArXiv). The slow uptake in the humanities disciplines is partly due to a lack of knowledge about the concept, and a perception that posting might jeopardize eventual journal publication. Building awareness about pre- and post-prints within the media studies network is essential here, and will be an important part of the MediArXiv project.
Although MediArXiv is part of the Open Science Framework “Preprints” service, the server will host research works at a number of stages in the research process:
- In-progress works: Any draft of a work that is ready to share with interested parties, but has not yet been peer reviewed. If you are sharing your work with a group of colleagues, a conference, or a journal, this may be the perfect time to widen the circle and post it on MediArXiv;
- Preprints: Most people use this term to refer to completed works that have not yet been peer-reviewed (like working papers);
- Postprints: After a work has been published by a journal, this is a version that you elect to share on our open platform. It may be a version that does not include the publisher’s formatting or other changes, or it may be the publisher’s copy (or “version of record”) if you have the right to distribute it. This is the version you share when you’ve published something but it’s behind a paywall and you want anyone to be able to read it.
The upload service will be accepting submissions beginning February 1. With this project, we not only hope to offer a new (practical) service for open access publishing, but also ignite the conversation about how to advance in digital scholarly communication in the humanities—and, more specifically, media and communication studies.