Suzanne Ferriss and Steven Alford, Former Editors Revised: 15.05.15
The International Journal of Motorcycle Studies is now in its 11th year of successful publication. Yet, still—occasionally—we encounter a bit of resistance. We might have expected some scholars to question our focus on motorcycles as an area of academic investigation, which is why we included a page called “Why Motorcycles Studies?” But that hasn’t been the issue. Instead, some have questioned our choice to publish the journal online. We’d like to take a few minutes to explain our decision.
IJMS was created by an international group of scholars devoted to the emerging, interdisciplinary field of motorcycle studies. In 2000, Gary Kieffner founded the Motorcycling Culture and Myth Area of the Southwest/Texas Popular Culture/American Culture Association conference. In 2003, owing to its prominence at the regional meeting, the area became a part of the national meeting of the PCA/ACA as well. At our initial meeting there, we agreed to create the journal as a way of extending our discussions—beyond the borders of the conference and outside North America. We wanted to engage not only other scholars but other motorcyclists, taking seriously the idea that intellectual discourse should not be confined to the academy, while simultaneously recognizing that obeying the conventions—and rigor—of conventional academic research would be paramount among our concerns. We would bring all that is valuable in academic publishing to the Internet to reach as wide an audience as we could. Only then would we be able to attract a global cadre of scholars and advance the study of motorcycling in all its forms.
This journal, like thousands of other academic journals, differs from more traditional journals only in its form of publication: online rather than print.
IJMS is a peer-reviewed journal overseen by an editorial board of published scholars from a variety of academic disciplines, working in the United States, Canada and Europe. Each essay undergoes a rigorous peer review process, with a minimum of two evaluations by faculty members teaching in business, history, transportation studies, literature, film, media/cultural studies and more. The journal is listed in the MLA Directory of Periodicals as well as the Directory of Open Access Journals, which lists over 5530 other “free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals” (DOAJ). Soon after its publication, the journal was mentioned in the Chronicle of Higher Education and featured in an article in Inside Higher Ed.
As anyone who has ever published in an academic journal knows, it regularly takes an article submitted to a print journal to take years before publication, owing to the time-consuming printing process. This delay not only retards the progress of discussion among experts, it also can affect their careers, since publication is a significant component of the promotion process. Electronic tools have allowed us to cut the process at least in half. Our review process takes only months and most essays accepted for publication appear within a year, if not less. We also publish reviews of books, films and television shows soon after they appear, not months or years later. Online publication allows us to speed up the time from acceptance to publication so that cutting-edge scholarship can reach the largest possible academic and general readership.
Free and Open
With over 3000 readers each month (not per issue), IJMS reaches an audience well in excess of the average scholarly journal. Our readership is truly international: the journal is read by enthusiasts in 97 countries around the globe. This was a key reason in our decision to publish the journal, without subscription, online.
Online publication is no longer the future of academic publishing. It is the present. We happily stand by the quality of our published scholars and hope that those in the academy agree.