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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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An evaluation of the experience of publishing in the only current humanities mega-journal. The short version: it was good! Your mileage may vary as they have different editors for difference pieces but mine was efficient and tough but fair. The review process was rigorous. My editorial process was coordinated by Lucy Ferris who teaches a course on Cloud Atlas (on which my article focused) at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut.

What I will say is that the process was not quick (for an online "megajournal", although noting that some of the hold-ups were then mine). It took almost exactly a year from submission to publication. It took the journal two months to find an editorial coordinator and reviewers. The reviewers took one month to do their first review. I took two months to implement the revisions. The reviewers took another month and a half to review the revisions. I then submitted the final revisions in December. Proofing took a while then there was a somewhat inexplicable 5 day wait after signoff for the piece to be put on the website (inexplicable to me because there is no print copy).

The final galley (PDF) has a two-column layout that isn't quite to my liking. They do have a nice HTML version, but it seems that they are not used to typesetting epigraphs (or do not have the facility to so do).

The APC that I paid was $99, which is £60. I paid this myself as our university has not got (I suspect, although I didn't ask) any funds to subsidise this. That said, this was a reasonable fee to say the least and I wanted to have a go.

Would I do it again? Maybe. There are a few glitches that need sorting. They need to typeset epigraphs properly and to be careful if providing proofs: getting the author's name wrong is not great and, while it's simply narcissism, will get people's backs up. Conversely, the reviews were thorough and written by people who were clearly competent and able to comment. the reviews were thorough and written by people who were clearly competent and able to comment I will also confess, however, that the article that I submitted was not the piece of work with which I feel the happiest in my writing career. In fact, I already feel dissatisfied with it. It is really, really difficult to write anything meaningful about Russell Hoban, it turns out -- a writer whose work seems to try to evade academic dissection. This is, of course, nothing to do with SAGE Open -- it's inherent in my writing about literature (I tend to hate almost everything I write almost immediately after it's published and I've worked at this piece since 2011) -- but I wonder whether I had a hunch about this before I submitted. The reviewers thought it OK, though.

15th February 2013

Submitted.

15th March 2013

So far, nothing seems to have happened. I submitted my paper on the 15th of February. It is now the 15th of March and, 1 month on, I am still in the "Reviewer Selection" phase, according to SAGE Track (which uses ScholarOne Manuscripts).

While SAGE aren't claiming here to have any specific turnaround for review, it would be nice if the review were the aspect taking the time, not the selection of reviewers... Their "who should publish with us" page lists: "Authors who want their articles to receive quality reviews and efficient production, ensuring the quickest publication time".

15th April 2013

No change.

7th May 2013

Ah ha! My piece has now gone into "under review".

29th May 2013

A set of two reviews were returned along with extensive editorial feedback. In fact, the editor's response was 663 words length in total. Review #1 (which was fairly critical and suggested some hefty reworkings) totalled 634 words and, again, was substantially engaged. Review #2 (which was in favour of unconditional publication) gave a more lean 175 words (but was flattering so I'll let them off). The editor was fair in her assessment and I agreed to undertake revisions.

31st July 2013

Revisions submitted.

13th September 2013

A further round of responses suggesting the correction of minor grammatical points and typos. This included re-evaluations by both of the original reviewers who now felt the piece substantially improved and up-to-scratch.

Some time in early December 2013

I submitted final revisions, having held on to the article so it didn't fall in the REF2020 "dead zone" -- ridiculous, I know.

7th January 2014

Article accepted! I paid the publication fee, filled out the online-only copyright form (I get to keep copyright and agree to CC licensing).

17th January 2014

First page proofs come through... and they've put my name down as "Michael Paul Eve". Oh dear. Nonetheless, there are no real further major issues.

31st January 2014

Final page proofs. A few minor tweaks needed, mostly lost italics.

12th February 2014

Piece published.