Accepted paper:

Going the extra-step: getting beyond rigid processes in order to bridge the gap


Birgit Englert (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

In this roundtable, I would like to share my experiences as managing editor of the Africanist journal Stichproben. Vienna Journal of African Studies. Since 2001, it has been published twice a year in print and online as full open access publication (

Paper long abstract:

The journal Stichproben is published by an association based at the Department of African Studies, University of Vienna, and has thus remained independent from the demands of a commercial publisher. This gives us flexibility, e.g. with regard to forms which texts might take or the languages in which articles can be published. Moreover, there is also certain flexibility in the way the peer-review process is realised. It is an explicit aim of the journal to provide younger, less experienced scholars - whether based in Africa or elsewhere - with additional guidance and assistance in the process of revising their manuscripts than is commonly offered by journals in the field. While maintaining high standards, the review process is adapted to the needs of the authors and might include corrections and/or detailed comments inserted directly in the document. Further, once it has been decided that a paper is accepted provided a satisfactory revision is achieved, the editorial team provides additional counselling in written or spoken which in most cases ultimately leads to a publishable paper. I propose to discuss especially the broadening of language choices and the adaptation and individualisation of the peer-review process as strategies which can contribute to actually "bridge the gap" - between authors who enjoy support networks which enable them to produce papers that would also pass a formalised process and those who can only succeed in producing a publishable paper when additional efforts by reviewers and editors are made to guide them through the process.

panel Lang09
Connecting people through academic writing - how to bridge the gap? [Roundtable]