Today, as we continue to celebrate International Open Access Week and reflect on finding joy in OA work, we’ve got a guest post from our friends at H-Net and the Journal of Festive Studies.
More than six years ago, the open access joy of The Journal of Festive Studies began. Patrick Cox, the then-Vice-President for Networks at H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online reached out to Ellen Litwicki and Aurélie Godet – both scholars of festive studies – to ask them to act as lead-editors for this new open access publication. H-Net had been established nearly 25 years before and had since blossomed into a well-established platform where scholars shared resources and ideas and published tens of thousands of freely available book reviews, making it well situated to publish an open access journal.
At the same time Patrick reached out to Ellen and Aurélie, he also initiated the process of starting a new H-Net network, H-Celebration, to host the journal. Patrick also recruited me as managing editor and Réa de Matas, who currently is a member of H-Net’s Council, to become an editor for H-Celebration and develop the graphics and logos for the journal. In the background, Yelena Kalinsky, H-Net’s Associate Director of Research and Publications at the time, already worked their magic, supporting us as production manager—and with everything else. Basia Nowak and Charlotte Weber, the copyeditors for H-Net Reviews, soon joined the team with their copyediting expertise.
Back then, we received journal submissions via email, which we then had to upload and organize on a private H-Net network on the H-Net Commons. While this system worked well enough in the beginning, it quickly became confusing as we separated submissions, author bios, and peer reviews to ensure the double-blind peer review process. Luckily, Yelena was already working on another solution: using the Open Journal Systems.
Since the inaugural issue, a lot has changed. We now use Open Journal Systems – a management software for open access academic journals—a huge relief! A few months ago, Emily Joan Elliott took over for Yelena. After issue 4, Ellen will leave us and Isabel Machado, our guest editor for issue 3, has already begun to take over Ellen’s responsibilities, working with us on issue 5.
From the beginning, there was no question that the Journal of Festive Studies would be an online, open access publication that allowed authors to maintain the rights to their work through a Creative Commons license. We value that this approach would give everyone free access to research that isn’t hidden behind a paywall.
Together, the journal editors, the editorial board, and our contributors both find and bring joy by virtue of the field they study and knowing that others can freely access this scholarship. We are proud of the role we play in expanding the fields of both open access scholarship and festive studies. We hope others will join us in that work.
Cora Gaebel is the managing editor for the Journal of Festive Studies, a cultural anthropologist, a world traveler, and a life cycle celebrant.