Senior scholars, the A-list of academic publishing, seem to submit fewer unsolicited manuscripts to traditional humanities journals than they used to. "The journal has become, with very few exceptions, the place where junior and midlevel scholars are placing their work," according to Bonnie Wheeler, president of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. . . .The article goes on to quote Craig Howes as saying that "a book [of articles] is valued more," although as the author of the article, Jennifer Howard, points out, articles in journals are read by more people because of database access.
Several journal editors said they had observed this trend, and had different theories about it. Maybe it's a natural winnowing, as disciplines evolve and careers move forward. Humanities fields like history and literary studies have become more specialized over the past couple of decades, making more-general journals like PMLA, the journal of the Modern Language Association, perhaps less tempting as venues. Journals go in and out of fashion. Eminent scholars get busier. . . .
The vogue for edited collections may also be distracting scholars. In 2005, James Eli Adams, an associate professor of English at Cornell University, published an article in the Journal of Victorian Culture called "The Function of Journals at the Present Time," in which he argued that the "explosion" of edited collections has tended "to siphon off a great deal of article-length work from senior scholars."
Any thoughts about this? The last I'd heard, journal publication was a kind of gold standard, with edited collections considered to be maybe 14K to the 18K of journal publication; also, I had heard that edited collections were even harder to place than monographs, due to publishing constraints. What have you heard?