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"Intervening in the discourse" : a spotlight on Reviews in DH

Reviewing Reviews in Digital Humanities
Published onMar 21, 2023
"Intervening in the discourse" : a spotlight on Reviews in DH

Reviews in Digital Humanities has maintained a longstanding collaboration and friendship with PubPub. Co-editors in chief Roopika Risam and Jennifer Guiliano share the story of their project, and describe how they created a journal that serves as powerful infrastructural support to promote the work of digital humanists.

Interview on January 24, 2023. Transcript edited for clarity.


Allison Vanouse (AV): I wonder if you can introduce yourselves just briefly and tell us where you're coming from, and tell us a little bit about your relation to the Reviews in Digital Humanities community.

Jennifer Guiliano (JG): I'm Jennifer Guiliano. I'm an associate professor of history at IUPUI in Indianapolis, Indiana. And my background is primarily as a digital historian. But I've been working in digital humanities — it's 23 years, I guess, today or close to today. I started in library and archives, and then did web development before moving into more of a project based.

Roopika Risam (RR): So I'm Roopika Risam. I'm an Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College. I am currently in Salem, Massachusetts, where I actually live. My research is… I was trained as a postcolonialist with an emphasis on the African diaspora and really got invested in the questions of how digital humanities can be used to intervene in some of the the gaps and the omissions in the kind of digitization work that's being done with archives, and it all kind of snowballed from there.

AV: So how did you start this community? Or how did you start this project together?

JG: I think it started when Roopika and I were working together on a whole variety of conference-related things for the Association for Computers and the Humanities. And I'd sort of been toying for a while with the notion that we needed a space for digital humanists to be thinking about and talking about the state of the field. We began bouncing a conversation around about some of the issues that we'd encountered as scholars when being asked to review for conferences or journals or presses. It started very much as an idea that we wanted to pilot something to see if there was any interest in anybody wanting this work. But really it started as a community of just us.

RR: One of the issues is that when you do digital humanities, one of the primary outcomes of the research is in digital form. We'd see conference presentations where people weren't always doing the best job of describing the project, and reviewers were not doing a very good job of assessing the projects. Then, of course, was the bigger problem of when people are going on the job market or trying to get reappointed or going up for tenure and promotion that digital projects are typically not peer reviewed. Because the of the lack of peer review, their projects are not appropriately valued as scholarship.

With Reviews in DH, we really were hoping that we could develop a peer review mechanism that could help address that gap, and then at the same time also help develop a capacity among people who create digital humanities projects to talk about their work, and to review other people's work. Not in the sense of “I'm reviewing this as the project I wish they had done,” but instead reviewing it as the project they did do.

AV: Yeah. It really seems to fill or fulfill a kind of infrastructural piece that's pretty well established for something like what happens if you write a scholarly book and you get it reviewed. Whereas when you're creating a digital humanities project, it seems like you're the only game in town for having really authoritative ways of saying: hey, this is what another expert thinks about it.

So who else is involved in Reviews in DH? Obviously, the two of you are co-editors?

RR: We're the founding co-editors-in-chief, and we recently brought on two managing editors, Tieanna Graphenreed and Stacy Reardon. They deal with a lot of the logistics around submissions and finding reviewers and managing the communication side of things. Tieanna's work focuses right now on projects that are nominated by the project directors or by other people in the community (we call that our open submissions process). And then Stacy is handling the special issue process, which is where we bring on special issue guest editors on a topic. They curate projects that they want to see reviewed, get those reviewed, and they write kind of a vision statement as an editorial note about how the projects in the issue attest to this field or this aspect of the field within digital humanities. Miranda Hughes-Ribeiro is our associate editor in charge of production and works on copy edits and PubPub.

We're actually in a moment of transition. We've just recently received a $566,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation. Part of this work is bringing on dedicated topic editors for 10 topics that are areas of high demand for us, like African Diaspora Studies, Latinx studies, and social justice pedagogy. We’ve recently appointed topic editors in these areas based on an application process. Their job is essentially to curate two issues a year in their area, and our team handles the workflow and logistics and communication. But we want them to have a vision for what kind of work they want to showcase within a topic. That'll be expanding our team quite expansively.

Broad scope of projects and communities

We're also, through the grant, bringing on Roxanne Shirazi, who is our metadata and discovery specialist, because one of the unanticipated outcomes of Reviews in DH was that people started putting the journal in finding aids and on their syllabi, simply as a place to find projects because there isn't really a discovery mechanism to find digital projects. If you want to find a book, you go to a catalog — look it up on WorldCat, or your library catalog. Finding digital humanities projects is the great mystery of the universe. And so we ended up using the functionality of PubPub to develop a project registry, in which you can search for the projects through different time periods, topics, disciplines, fields, and things like that. We've brought on a metadata discovery specialist to think through that more intentionally, because it was just kind of accidental.

JG: I think the most important thing for us to mention about our community is it's driven by the collaboration with project directors and reviewers. We very much look at their contributions as being a partnership with us: our project directors write a 500-word overview, and then reviewers are using those overviews to have a conversation with project directors. What's different about our model is that we're intentionally going after the wide, disparate varieties of people who are actually in digital humanities. It's not just things written by faculty members. We've got publications and overviews written by cultural heritage workers; folks from libraries, archives, museums; graduate students; undergraduate students; technologists. We define the community that we're serving as a very broadly scoped and that makes our target audience in our community a little bit different.

We intentionally publish short overviews, only 500 words, we intentionally publish short reviews, only 500 words. What we found is that it's encouraging people not just to read the entirety of the overview and the entirety of the review, but also to use those materials in a variety of ways. So as Roopika was saying, we have projects that get picked up off of our site that then show up in classrooms, or we have people who are teaching introductory classes to the field, and they're assigning students to go look at our reviews to get a sense of what the types of things people are working on in the field, to get a sense of what kind of contributions are out there. When we talk about our target community it's not just faculty, it's not just positions of privilege in the academy. It's very much about serving the individuals in the communities that these projects inhabit and work around.

We publish bilingual issues too, in some cases, to make sure that they get back to the communities where they came from. We've had a number of Spanish language issues, we have a French language issue planned, we have colleagues who are working on issues in other languages that will be forthcoming. And that's because we want to make sure that the community those projects came from actually have access to the reviews process, in a way that they normally don't with many journals.

AV: It's great that you cast such a wide net, when you're thinking about who Reviews in DH is able to serve, and who Reviews in DH really needs to serve. This thing about it being impossible to find a DH project, when you might be looking for one, is tied to both this thing about academic acknowledgement, and the general ethos of openness, which is obviously something that we care about pretty deeply as well.

Groundworks, Growth, and Grants

When you were starting this project, what was the groundwork like? Were you thinking about promotion and tenure as one of the issues you were aiming at specifically? Were you thinking about this wide reach? What was the impetus or the inspiration?

Going beyond the mainstream

RR: I think there are a couple of things. One was around intervening in the discourse among digital humanists about how we talk about projects, and how we evaluate them, or how we give constructive feedback to people on their projects. We'd often get asked to review articles for journals that didn't need to be a journal article but the authors were trying to talk about the project so they could have the paper on their CV as a proxy for getting the project evaluated. And we thought: why? Let's cut out the middleman—the middle person—and let's do the project reviewing.

The other piece of this was that we recognized that it would potentially have an impact on tenure and promotion. What's really important to both of us is that we come to digital humanities working in areas of research—so mine, postcolonial and Black diaspora; Jen's Native American and Indigenous studies—that don’t really get written about in mainstream digital humanities publications. That work tends to get reviewed poorly for conferences because people just don't get it: people who are digital humanists often don't understand how to think about the ways that our fields do digital scholarship differently. And so we wanted a place where we could help contribute to the growth and the development of digital humanities in those areas that don't get a lot of airtime in in those mainstream publications.

Improving the review process

JG: Yeah, we wanted a public project space to identify who's involved and what contributions they intend to make to the humanities, to technology, to the different communities that their project might intersect with. There's a still-developing ethos around disclosing who's doing what on your project, and what should count, and who should be cited, and how and why. And so I think for us, those initial conversations were oftentimes somewhat simple in terms of saying, we want to get projects that don't necessarily get a ton of resources or a ton of access to international venues, or the best of the best reviewers, and we want to give them the best of the best. We want to give everyone reviewers who are invested in the topics of those projects, we want to give them access to a speedy process. There are journals out there that do digital humanities that do review, but it takes, you know, 1, 2, 3, 4 years for a project to get reviewed, which, in digital humanities lifecycles is really, really long. So initially, when we put this out, we had a goal of 90 days from submission to publication. And we were lucky initially. We were able to do that in our first couple of issues before COVID hit. COVID has has slowed down our timeline a little bit. But it's still lightyears faster than other publications right now. I think we're on average, four to six months from when a project comes in the door to when it goes back out in a published issue. That means we can intervene in a timely manner for things, like someone going up for promotion and tenure or needing a project review, because they want to go after a pay raise, or they need some ideas about what could be done in the future with their project.

One of the things that we really were committed to was doing reviewing in a manner that was positive and productive for all involved, but also happened at a pretty fast clip. Both of us have had projects or grants or journal articles or other things that take so long to come to fruition. We wanted to use PubPub and the capabilities of online open access publication, so that everyone could participate and everyone could participate quickly. And without the barriers to to entry in the way that you have with other journal systems, or other journals, or global communities that are doing reviews.

RR: I think the challenge is that people at first we were very, very attentive, so it was sort of very lucky that we were able to do this. But as time has gone on, we are falling prey to the same peer review challenges that every other publication is.

JG: Yup.

RR: So when we applied for the Mellon—it was our phase-two Mellon—we asked for money to pay reviewers. Only anybody whose job description doesn't include service: so we would not pay tenure-line faculty members, we pay contingent faculty members, graduate students, people working in cultural heritage industries.

AV: So I mean, talk a little bit more about the development since the Mellon funding came through. Obviously, there are tiers and tiers of complexity that are entering into your editorial process as you helped this to grow. But what is the change going to be like? How are you defining the goals that you're setting, and the next stages?

JG: I think initially the Mellon money was amazing, because it gave us the time and space to do some planning on the institutional structures of the journal and to think about how we were going to survive as an open access publication. It also came so quickly that it opened the door to a flood of interest. When when we sat down and had our first conversation, we were like, maybe this pilot project will last a year, maybe we'll get 6, 10, 12, 18 projects reviewed, and that would be it. Within the first couple of months, wee were getting dozens of projects submitted a month. Then we were getting emails from collaborators and scholars across the field, wanting to do special issues, wanting the opportunity to work with their students. So part of what the Mellon did was reassure people in the community that we were not a fly-by-night operation that was just going to disappear in the face of all the things that academic journals face. It very much gave us a stamp of imprimatur that reassured people that we weren't just doing this on our own without any advising or any support, that we were working with really great partners like Educopia and others, to ensure that what we did not only met standards, but also was very conscious of the labor and the work and the structures of the journal and how it operates. And I think that helped us tremendously sort of grow so rapidly.

RR: Yeah, so that was the phase one Mellon that they gave us in 2020. And we've just got the second one.

Building relationships and internal support

AV: So do you turn to hiring immediately, when you reach that point of, we're getting so much feedback and so much response that we don't know what happens next? Or, what is the brainstorming process? How do you take the next growth step?

RR: The main thing is that Jen and I come at this from deep care for digital humanities, and specifically for digital humanities in areas, like ethnic studies fields, where there hasn't been a lot of attention, but there's a lot of amazing work. For us, it's not about hiring staff, it's about building relationships. But we’re committed to paying people. I think most journal managing editors volunteer.

With our first Mellon grant, we had had the money to hire a graduate assistant, and the graduate assistants were wonderful, but they were trying to manage the communications with reviewers and also managing production. That was just too much for one person. And so we were essentially burning them out. Or they worked for a year, and they wanted do something else. Miranda was our graduate research assistant, and when she graduated she said she wanted to focus on just production and build up her editorial skills. And so we were trying to be responsive and flexible to that. At the same time, I was at a regional public university, which didn't have any money for supporting research. It's hard to get money out of universities unless you have leverage. That's everybody's problem. We were locked into what we could afford with the Mellon money. But then I changed jobs and got access to more resources. And using that, we were able to hire our two managing editors. And so that was in the early fall. We ran an application process. And we hired Tieanna and Stacy.

Keeping transitions in mind

JG: After the first year, we started having conversations about succession planning, which sounds really weird to do with a journal so young—to start with planning how you are no longer going to be essential to the journal. But that's one of the things that we're committed to, and that's part of what the Mellon money is paying for. And part of phase two is working with the Nonprofit Finance Fund and some other folks to figure out who gets the journal after us. We're committed to co-editing through 2030. But we don't envision this being our journal forever. We envision this being community-owned. And so part of bringing on additional staff at the managing editor level was so that Roopika and I could get out of the weeds of some of the day-to-day a little bit so that we could start talking about what does it look like for us to pass the journal on? How do we bring on partners who might be invested in the future of the journal long term. So we've partnered with ARC [the Advanced Research Consortium], which is a really great community. We've partnered with the Western Historical Quarterly. We've partnered with the Recovery Hub for American Women Writers. They are all interested in cross-posting reviews from their projects to Reviews in DH, using our process. And so part of this, for us, is not tying the journal so tightly to Roopika and me as scholars or our institutions, but really making it something that lots of people feel invested in and where lots of people might want to lead this in the future—because our vision is our vision, but we really feel like the journal should survive without us at some point. And I think that's a little bit unusual in terms of structure, to be this young entity thinking about succession and handoff and trade off and those sorts of things.

Building new open models

RR: The other part of this grant is we're working with a Nonprofit Finance Fund to think about business modeling and financial projections for an open access journal that doesn't have subscriptions. How do we build on lots of different models out there that people have been trying to use? What do we need to create as a model for us? How do we think about fundraising? Because part of it is we would like Reviews in DH to not be dependent on a person at an institution because that's how stagnation happens. And that's how people hold on to their journal, and you can't pry it out of their hands. And then it really raises the question of the extent of which is it serving a community when it's entirely driven by one or two people? And has been for 30 years?

AV: Will you talk a little bit about how that relates to your model for publishing openly? It seems like there's an organic tie somewhere deep at the base of this: that it's never going to be exclusively tied to your own participation. But I don't know, I'm just wondering whether you could say more about that.

JG: I think a little bit of it is, we always have built-in contributions from other people. So we have an advisory board that offers thoughts, we get feedback through social media on almost every issue. We get emails from people who use the issue, saying it would be great if we could also do this or that. Part of this is Roopika and I have our own vision, but we also know that we're not necessarily the users. And it's more important that the day in, day out users of the journal, who are using it in their teaching or in their research or in their work, have it reflect their own interests. And one of the things that our processes try and do is to provide lots of on-ramps for contributors, so people can volunteer their projects, but they can also volunteer to be reviewers, they can volunteer to do a special issue. There's lots of spaces where people can bring their own vision or their own work, or their own time and labor, to the journal. And we really never turn that down. Because we know if someone's willing to spend any kind of time with us, that's a mark of our value to the community.

Using the PubPub platform

AV: I love that. Maybe just to transition this a little bit, I think that one of the things that's notable about Reviews in DH is that part of its openness is a result of using the PubPub interface. I mean, it's not existing on a listserv, it wants to be very, very accessible for all kinds of readers regardless of your level of expertise or enrollment. And so I'm wondering about what drew you to Pub Pub in particular, whether you've tried other platforms—in that kind of "transitional" moment.

RR: So I actually got to know about PubPub because I was looking for a platform for a different project. For that project, we were exploring ways to make open access digital editions. And so Catherine [Catherine Ahearn, Head of Community Services] and Travis [Travis Rich, Knowledge Futures's Executive Director] came to Salem State and we brought librarians in to see their presentation on PubPub. And I really loved what it was doing. It just wasn't the right fit for that project. So when Jen and I were looking for a platform, it struck me that PubPub felt so great for a journal, particularly because of its flexibility. Everything being a pub or a page allowed us to really put different pieces together for a project registry or for an issue. It feels sometimes like there’s a little bit of a flat ontology to the actual design of the platform, and we really felt like we could pull pieces together in ways that we needed to, to serve the readership.

JG: I think part of the the choice of PubPub, too, was we did a lot of surveying and talking to both previous review initiatives in the field that had sort of capsized under their own weight. But also, we talked to other journal editors, and other people who've been doing this work for a while, and considered our experiences serving as reviewers in OJS and other journal platforms. And one of the things that really excited us about PubPub was that we wanted something that was flexible in terms of producing DOIs, in terms of being able to remix content, to be able to link in and out in ways, and also something that didn't require hoops to jump through. It felt like some of the existing journal platforms were so technologically heavy and wanted to really force structures and workflows on us that we were not interested in. And I think that was one of the things that initially made PubPub interesting to us was that we could see through the example of publications, different ways of producing knowledge that were interesting and appealing to the reader. That's one of the things that many journal systems are not really designed to do. They're so pragmatic in their approach that you can definitely tell the ones that all use the same journal platform. They have the same aesthetic, and the same approach, and the same structures and the same everything. And we really appreciated that how PubPub laid out the block features and the page features and all of those things, so that we could make our own sort of space and our own aesthetic. We're both very minimalist. And so we really liked how clean it was, and how technologically lightweight it was, in terms of the learning curve, both for us in terms of production, but also as we're scaling up with more and more and more things, PubPub is scaling up seamlessly with us. And not every journal system can do that.

RR: Yeah. It doesn't feel like we went, found a platform, and just use the platform. I feel like we've been partnering with Catherine and PubPub. It's like a symbiotic relationship, in which we’ve been able to say, “We’re trying to do this thing. What do you think?” Like the project registry—the project registry was entirely Catherine. We wanted to do it and couldn’t really figure out how, and Catherine’s response was, "Well, you could do it this way..." So it’s really felt not like, oh, there's a platform, and it's a piece of technology, and we're using it. We've seen PubPub doing amazing development, we've had the opportunity to give input on things that would be useful for the community. It’s felt like a really collaborative relationship between community and platform in a way that I haven't experienced before.

Creating the project registry

AV: Can you talk a little bit about the about using Pub Pub as a discovery mechanism? Or, what exactly is this innovation that it's made possible for you? How did that come about?

JG: So digital humanities has had a number of project registries that have developed (and died) over different years, as well as different review processes that have sprung up and declined rather quickly. We never set out to create a registry for the field. It was not at all what we had intended. The project registry actually started off with us just wanting someplace to be able to see all of the things that we had published in one place.

Initially, it was conceptualized just as an alphabetical listing so that we could scroll through really quickly and get a sense of how many publications that are actually out there and how many things we've actually done. Then we began organizing reviews by project time period, field, and method. And then this really interesting thing happened: as soon as we started publishing issues, we realized that there might one day be the potential for people to want to remix their own issues, where they saw things that united the topics, or the methods, or the fields in the ontology that we had initially established with the projects. So we started asking each project to select five keywords from the registry.

Use in the classroom

One of the great things about PubPub is that through our registry, people could actually look for things based on metadata that interested them. And what we ended up finding out really quickly was we started showing up on people's syllabi. Like, first day of class: go to Reviews in DH, pick two projects and tell me what they're about, tell us what it looks like, tell us how they function. And that was sort of eye-opening for us. Because we'd gotten notes from a colleague who is a dear friend of ours saying, "Don't ever do a registry, it's like the worst thing ever to maintain." And here we are with this registry, that's not hard to maintain, and is not this scary place for people to go and doesn't require a ton of output.

We tend to look at the registry side as sort of these momentary snapshots of a project that stops everything in its tracks for a moment and lets people understand what a project is trying to do and whether it works or not. So we're not necessarily looking to be the place where everyone goes for everything in digital humanities, although people have asked us to build the registry in a way that it could be for everybody, for all things. For us, it was more just wanting people to be able to see some of the similarities across projects, in terms of methods or time periods or topics. So that if they were looking for stuff on 19th-century slavery, they'd be able to see all of the 19th-century slavery projects that we had reviewed, not just, you know, one issue of material at a time.

RR: So that's the goal—right? Right now they can see C19 or they could see African and African Diaspora projects. One of the things that we've been in conversations with Catherine about—and I know that other communities and MIT Press have also been interested in as well—is faceted search, and different kinds of search options. We don't have that capacity at the moment. It's okay because we don’t have thousands of projects published. But at a certain point, that faceted browsing piece is something we’re excited to be part of and help support. We wrote some money into our Mellon grant, to see if we could throw help support further development of the search function.

AV: So how does version 2.0 differ from version 1.0? Is it just is it more topical tags?

RR: No, actually. So before it was all on one page: it was all on one page where you could search by time period, field, or method. And then we split up the registry to three different pages. One is A to Z. One is by time period. One is by topic, and one is by method. Four pages. Split up into four pages.

AV: Cool.

RR: It’s responsive to the fact that the search feature at the moment isn't faceted, and therefore we can't really use it for what we'd like to do. But we're excited to be part of those conversations. And again, this goes back to the point of feeling like we're partners.

Suggestions for future features

AV: I guess that's kind of my next question. Or, anyway, my next question has to do with what new features you'd like to see PubPub creating for you, offering for this work. I guess that in a way you've answered this already. But if you can talk more about faceted search, that would be pretty cool for us to include here.

JG: So yeah, so faceted search for us, I think, is really the feature that we're most excited about coming on board with next. Part of that is because sometimes when we get queries it's, "I'm trying to find a mapping project that deals with war in Europe," or "I'm trying to find a Native Studies project that talks about sovereignty and does digital archives." Since we use multiple keywords, faceted searching would give people a little more mastery over the sort of searching and sorting functions. And so for us, you know, that's part of what's really great about the next step, and our work with PubPub.

While working on the metadata and discovery pieces, we're very conscious of the examples we're getting from people saying, “I let my students loose on your registry and told them to find all of the projects that pertain to the topic of this class.” And they're right now sort of doing that, one-by-one sorting through things, or sorting through methods or sorting through geography or, or period—a faceted searching option that would speed up the process.

Part of what that would also let us do is a pie-in-the sky idea we've talked to Catherine a little bit about previously: allowing people to create their own custom issues. The result of their faceted searching would allow them to then output a custom issue that would only pertain to the topics or things that they're interested in, so that they could actually produce something for use in the classroom or for a workshop or whatever. And that's a longer term sort of thing, obviously, but it's sort of a pie-in-the-sky dream we have, particularly as we scale up. We're producing 12 issues a year with between four and six projects per issue. But we're bringing on these new 10, topic editors, so we're going to have 20 issues from them a year, in addition to the 12 we've already got, plus our partnership issues. We're gonna see a two- or three-fold times scaling happening over the next three years. And that search and faceting filter is going to become even more important, just so that people don't have to scroll for days to find things that they're interested in. I mean, that's not fun for users. And it's difficult for us in terms of the production side of things. So we're pretty excited. And Catherine and Travis and their team seem really excited to build that out with us.

RR: I also...I really just want to have track changes. We've been talking about that. And I know there are some technical challenges. Sarah, when we did [our piece for] the Commonplace, seeing the comments in action was really useful.

But, we rely on track changes because we do so much mentoring of the project directors, in terms of how to write about their projects and mentoring reviewers how to review projects. We really need track changes. And so we end up doing things in Google Docs, and keep our workflow out of the backend of PubPub in a way that we could actually integrate it if there was track changes, if that were feasible.

AV: Well, there might be some exciting news on that front pretty soon, but I don't I don't want to open my mouth too wide. Sarah, you should jump in also. I feel like I'm monopolizing this conversation.

Outreach and and Future of Digital Humanities

SK: I guess I'm kind of curious to hear a little bit more about the project registry You mentioned that it was kind of after the first phase one of the Mellon grant that people just sort of came organically, but I'm curious if you've done any further outreach for the project registry. What does that intake form looks like and then how are you being notified that your things are being used? How do you how do you know that they're being used in a classroom setting? How are you getting that feedback that you know, that some people would want to remix and recreate their own issues?

RR: We've done surveys of users, where we've gathered data on how they are using Reviews in DH. That's been a primary way. People also contact us and say, Hey, we wish it would do this. Does it do this? I think the really interesting question is the extent to which we have the capacity to be a place to ingest projects that haven't gone through our review process. Because right now, being in the registry, is synonymous with a project having been through a review process, so we have a pub for it. This is what we’re working on with with Roxanne. I believe that we get to that part next year. What if a way we can participate is in allowing people to put projects in for registry? But also thinking about all the downsides of maintenance and things like that, and how that affects our our workload.

JG: Yeah, I mean, I think I would say that the the registry component was an unintentional byproduct of the reviews process. It was something that that was based on an ontology that Roopika had developed as part of the conference she was part of, that then I had toyed with a little bit, and then, there's a whole host of sort of developments on the ontology side. But all of that was a byproduct of simply wanting a place to look at everything we'd done all at once. And so one of the great things about this Mellon money is that it gives us the opportunity to bring on somebody who's a specialist in metadata and discovery, who is going to really think critically about how that operates, and how it works, and what functionalities of PubPub can enable in the future, with the ontology.

We're very conscious that the discovery side of things sends a message in terms of what we value and what topics we value and how we organize it. Those are statements of positionality. So we've added to the ontology as needed. But we also sort of... you know, the digital humanities is very, very big. And there's 10s of 1000s of projects. And not all of them are live. Now, some of them are blips on the screen. And so, you know, I think we're being very careful about considering: can we deliver on what we promised our communities, and I think that's where a completely open registry is probably never in our future, because we're conscious that we can't ensure the quality of all of those things. And I think that's one of the things that I think is very important to us. It's also very important to PubPub as a platform that the quality of the journals and of the publications that come out, that they meet best practices and meet standards, but also [that they] are representative of the values of the people developing them. That's so important to us that there are Open Access statements, there are copyright citation statements, there are sort of public declaration moments in the platform about what's now usable, and feasible and doable. And we appreciate that as scholars ourselves.

RR: We're also very good at trying to be aware of what we don't know how to do, and what the limits of our expertise are. And that's actually part of the topic editor expansion: because these areas have a lot of work going on, but don’t get a lot of attention. They’re really ripe for growth, but we also know that we are not the right people to be nurturing every single community, and so we want to be able to put the resources into the hands of the people who are.

SK: Yeah, I feel like it's really powerful to have that sort of curated infrastructure around having it be peer reviewed with the standards to have it be sustainable. If you have every single open component as a part of your review repository, then you can't really ensure quality sustainably.

The DH of DH

AV: One of the questions that I wrote down before this started: How does the ethos of digital humanities projects writ large, find itself reflected in your approach to this journal? Now, the reason I feel that I shouldn't ask this is because it makes it sound as if it's a unilateral thing. Like there's one "DH way."And I know, or maybe I can understand better now that that isn't the case. But do you have an answer to that? I mean, what is, or how does DH influence the way that you approach something like building a journal?

JG: I think it's more that we wanted to poke at DH and how it defines itself. One of the challenges, for example, is English is the dominant language, Global North is the dominant space. And part of what we really wanted the journal to do was to sort of show alternatives, and poke at accepted principles. There's fields we haven’t chosen for our topic areas because they get enough air time in other digital humanities spaces. We intentionally publish bilingual issues because we want to make sure that things we're publishing are not just speaking to those who can read fluent English, but are also responding to the communities that are invested in that project. I tend to be a pretty adversarial kind of person, so for me, it's less about us representing an accepted ethos of digital humanities than it is us demonstrating that digital humanities is possible with a collective and collaborative vision that doesn't require ego, the privilege, the snottiness. You don't need to be snotty to be a reviewer.

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