Guidelines for Approving New Periodical Content

In addition to maintaining archives of journal materials from the retired eLanguage enterprise and LSA updates and annual meeting handbooks, the LSA currently publishes periodical scholarly material in several formats, either on its own or in collaboration with other organizations, and has been expanding the type and amount of such content by taking advantage of evolving technologies that yield new possibilities for storing and presenting media. In order to be approved by the Executive Committee (EC), proposals for new periodical content are expected to fit with the Society’s goals for its publishing program, as stated in its Strategic Plan, and to meet the more specific criteria described below.

Journals
Proposals for either a new periodically-published section of Language or a new stand-alone journal such as Semantics and Pragmatics should be accompanied by evidence that there is a substantial audience for the content and that it will satisfy a unique and otherwise unmet need in the linguistics publishing landscape. Such evidence might come from a needs assessment with data and analysis concerning the market environment or from an existing track record, particularly in the case of a proposal to create a new journal based on an established periodical section of another LSA journal, a one-time or occasional special-theme section of another LSA journal, or a publication that might fit into the category of “other periodical publications” discussed below.

Language
Language publishes articles of relevance to the discipline at large as well as articles of interest to a wide spectrum of specialist audiences within linguistics and allied language-oriented disciplines, with a focus on theoretical linguistics. Its traditional quarterly print edition currently always includes sections entitled “Articles” and “Reviews” and may occasionally include, at the discretion of the editors, such additional sections as “Short Reports,” “Discussion Notes,” and “Review Articles,” as well as collections of articles on special topics, such as “SIL International and the Disciplinary Culture of Linguistics” (Lise M. Dobrin, guest editor), which appeared in Volume 85, Number 3. Its online edition contains all the articles from the print edition and more. It appears first on Project MUSE and then also on the LSA website, with open access, after one year. It has the potential for enhanced presentation of media (example) and supplemental addenda of various kinds (example) with immediate open access, as well as articles in web-only thematic sections that have an upon-acceptance publication schedule. Currently, these web-only sections are either continuations of journals that originated on the LSA’s eLanguage platform, i.e., “Teaching Linguistics,” “Phonological Analysis,” and “Historical Syntax,” or sections such as “Language and Public Policy” and “Perspectives,” which were established by the EC, in consultation with the Editor and the Publications Advisor, with a view to enhancing the web-only platform with content of new kinds that might either call attention to the mission of the LSA and reach new audiences or have broad appeal to linguists in general.   

New ongoing sections of Language with a special theme and designated associate editors may emerge from proposals from the EC, the editorial team, or members of the LSA at large. All such sections are expected to be motivated by evidence concerning audience and need, as noted above, to be demonstrably well-suited to the Language platform, and to show promise of broadening or deepening the journal’s coverage and enhancing its reach as well as its quality and impact, as reflected in journal rankings, revenue, or media attention. In addition, they must:

  • be administratively and fiscally viable;
  • have a title that designates a broad category of thematic content that is distinctive and reflective of its significance for the mission of the LSA and the journal’s readership;
  • have associate editors with the requisite dedication and expertise; and
  • be limited to content that is consistent in every way with the policies and procedures concerning quality, review, open access, and style that pertain to all Language content.

Other journals
In addition to Language, the LSA currently also publishes Semantics and Pragmatics, which is a continuing journal from the retired eLanguage platform that publishes scholarly articles from all perspectives within its broad field of coverage, in two categories: “Main Articles” and “Squibs, Remarks, and Replies.” It is a fully open-access, web-only publication with its own style sheet, two editors and seven associate editors, and an editorial board of more than 250 scholars. Its review processes, submission and rejection rates, publication frequency, copy-editing, formatting, and archiving procedures, citation rates, and average time to first decision compare favorably to the other top journals in its field. It is supported by the voluntary efforts of its editors and reviewers and by modest financial and infrastructure support from the LSA, the University of Texas, and MIT.

As noted above, proposals for new LSA journals are expected to provide evidence that there is a substantial audience and that an otherwise unmet publication need is met. They should also demonstrate that the proposed journal promises to be at least comparable to Semantics and Pragmatics in terms of support, quality, impact, and significance to the field and that it has or will have:

  • dedicated and accomplished editors with excellent advisory and technical support;
  • policies, procedures, and editorial guidelines that maximize quality while minimizing time to publication;
  • a means of generating revenue or guaranteeing institutional support that obviates or substantially limits the need for subsidization; and
  • an endorsement from the LSA’s Publications Advisor and the Committee of Editors of Linguistics Journals.

Other periodical publications
In addition to journals, the LSA hosts on its website other kinds of periodically issued volumes of scholarly content, as a service to the profession, using online journal production and archiving software that facilitates submission, review, bibliographical indexing, and production. Current examples include monthly book notices, extended abstracts of the LSA Annual Meeting, and collections of papers from conferences or meetings of other organizations, including the proceedings of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, Semantics and Linguistic Theory, and Phonology (forthcoming). In deciding to maintain existing content or to approve proposals for new content of this or a similar kind from external organizations or individual members of the LSA, the Executive Committee considers the extent to which

  • the content is pertinent to the mission of the Society and serves the field of linguistics;
  • adequate editorial support and organizational oversight is provided;
  • the LSA’s publishing platform and its support services and capacities are appropriate and adequate; and
  • the projected revenue to the LSA from royalties, subscriptions, or other compensation is sufficient.