Monday, December 29, 2008

Brave new technologies: online manuscript submissions

The publisher of one of the pieces I had promised to do this fall (now finished and submitted--hooray!) required the work to be sent to the editor AND uploaded to its manuscript submission site. MLA does its program copy for the convention this way, of course, and ASA has an elaborate online system for panel and paper proposals, as do some other conferences. Most of the manuscript reviewing and program committee work I've done for conferences, however, has been done the old-fashioned way--via email and sometimes paper.

Here's what I want to know: I know that online submission of manuscripts to a database is common in the sciences, but is it widespread in the humanities?

If you've had experience with this (as either a submitter or as a reviewer), what was that like? Is it a better system? Worse? Easier? More frustrating?


Anonymous said...

Online submission systems are not common in the visual arts. Although, they are out there.

Often times, calls for entries for exhibitions, conference-related exhibtions, grants, etc. require mailed-in CDs/DVDs of images or videos along with a couple of large, printed images that help people get an impression of your work before putting your disc into their computers.

I've always assumed that online submission systems were attempts to bring order to chaos when artists: name files in ways that make them not open, open in a specific application, or become dissociated with their resume; burn CDs at super high write speeds that make them unreadable by old, slow CD drives; send god awful Powerpoints that interrupt the flow of image screening processes; etc.

In other words, it places the burden of increased work on the submitter rather than the reviewing staff.

undine said...

I never thought of the CD speed problem, meteechart, but I've seen enough bad Powerpoints to think that you're right on the imposing order on chaos idea.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed this year that it has started in my field (humanities). I found the process to be both easy and frustrating: indeed, the old system was much more flexible regarding the length of the abstracts for papers, whereas the online submission system had a word counter (which, of course, showed 20 words more than my Word word counter!). Argh.

And maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I am never quite sure if my submission has really been received unless I receive a personal response through e-mail from a real person...

undine said...

eternalwriter, the lack of response drives me crazy, although some of the sites give you a confirmation number. Then again, it drives me crazy when I submit something through email and the conference organizer or whoever never acknowledges the submission.