Do we need a NIME journal?

The community has discussed the need for a NIME journal for many years. This was also part of the discussion about an extended NIME publication ecosystem during a workshop at NIME 2020.

Some people argue that there is no need for a journal, and that it is better to publish NIME-related content in already existing journals. Others argue that we need a journal that is open for the multimedia-rich and interdisciplinary art/science research that we find in our community.

It seems to be clear that if we decide to establish a journal, it should be open access, free/cheap, and multimedia-rich. The challenge, however, is to figure out achieve this, and how it could fit into the rest of the NIME community’s activities.

What do you think? All sorts of thoughts and suggestions are welcome!

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Here are some links to interesting things that were mentioned during the workshop at NIME 2020.

Interesting conferences:

Interesting journals:

Interesting resources/tools:

Please add links to more interesting things we should look at!

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I’m interested in a journal. Some of the reasons came up in the chat for NIME 2020.

The idea of “reviews” or evaluations of commercial DMI’s is an interesting one that might find its place in such a periodic publication. I can imaging some really short tech notes, too, along the lines of “this tool just came out, and it has this interesting feature for the NIME community.” Conferences used to have “studio reports,” which also might fit this format. Also, I find the whole of NIME hard to consume in one conference. Having it a little more spread out would make it easier to digest.

A journal might be a place to experiment with different kinds of peer review, or editorial policies. Long articles might have a more interactive reviewing process, or shorter entries might not be peer reviewed.

For those of us working in academia, there is the issue of impact factor. Journals tend to be more respected, although that’s subjective. I think that a new NIME journal would not take away the incentive to publish in more established places, such as Transactions on Computer-Human Interface (you could add that one to your list). As somebody working in a computing department, I doubt a NIME Journal would really add much to my research portfolio.

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I just want to link here to Michael Gurevich’s comments about investigating a NIME journal start

Michael’s excellent comment articulated some of the practical concerns and costs about starting a journal at a university publishing house. This reminds me of some of our community discussions about changing to a media-rich publishing platform for the conference. In both cases, the technical solutions haven’t seemed right to solve our problems, and the costs do not seem like a good investment.

The product that the university publishers are selling (basically boils down to managed hosting of PDFs, registering DOIs, and potentially better indexing - unless I’m missing something important) doesn’t solve a problem we have.

As a community we have been very successful at hosting a folder of PDFs on the internet for quite some time now. We have also found a solution for registering DOIs, and are chipping away at various indexing solutions. As we found when looking at publishing platforms, there isn’t a clear solution to our ambitions for media-rich WYSIWIG publication.

As far as I can tell, the two most valuable things we can hope to gain from a journal are 1) the opportunity to accept papers all year round (not coupled to the conference), and 2) to have a longer and more careful editorial process with multiple revisions that could be open to different styles of writing than the typical tight 4-6 page NIME paper.

(I could add somewhat cynically that a publication with “Journal of…” in front of it seems to be worth substantially more to some than any “Proceedings of…” no matter what the comparative impact/relevance/prestige of the two might be.)

The above two things actually can’t be bought.

All we need for these great outcomes are a team of volunteers in place to handle the editorial tasks, a community of folks to submit manuscripts and, perhaps at risk of over simplifying things, an email address to send them to? I think that our community can very much handle these things!

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I totally agree with this, and don’t see very much value in publishing with a university publisher. It is true that “Journal of…” scores me more points in the research excellence framework, but that’s pretty minor.

If we think of it as a NIME zine, that might be a better match for the DIY side of this community.

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I’m sure you know this, but just to say it: There is a “if you build it they will come” element.

I like that a journal would let us define what constitutes good work and what are appropriate evaluation criteria for our community. And if we do this well, the impact and regard for our work will grow over time.

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