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#KeepUp with WLU Press

#KeepUp with WLU Press

By Siobhan McMenemy Date: November 10, 2021 Tags: Blog

Inspired by the ongoing efforts of scholars and university presses engaged in developing born-digital publications, I’ve been collaborating with publishing scholar and podcaster Dr. Hannah McGregor since 2017 on devising a way to support the creation, editing and production, peer review, and publication of scholarly podcasts. Our first casual conversation about podcasts was immediately fueled by a shared desire to experiment. We wanted to find a way to push boundaries in our respective professional fields and determined that we could do so if we collaborated on a pilot scholarly podcast with a set of research aims flexible enough to accommodate, over three years, changes to our editorial, production, and peer review process based on lessons learned as our work unfolded. On Hannah’s side, the pilot scholarly podcast involved engaging with podcasting methods, scholarly forms, and feminist functions, and for me, the focus was on publishing models, editorial and production processes, and open peer review for podcast series. Our work together on Hannah’s Secret Feminist Agenda garnered early praise and embraced healthy skepticism, and generally inspired a lot of conversation, with opportunities to make conference presentations and give guest lectures and interviews, and contribute to the burgeoning scholarship in the field of podcast studies.

Along with experimentation, at the heart of our work is a commitment to collaboration and partnership. As with the strongest scholarship, we recognise the ways in which our work is building on the earlier efforts of others. WLU Press has a history of imagining digital futures. It was among the earlier university presses to embrace electronic journal production and to digitize its backlist. In 2012, the Press created a book app in support of a best-selling cookbook, Food that Really Schmecks, by local writer Edna Staebler. Scholars and publishers producing born-digital scholarship, embracing open peer review, and exploring new forms of digital scholarly publishing certainly influenced our work on Hannah’s podcast through three seasons of her podcast and continues to encourage us along as we’ve begun to build outward, from one scholarly podcast to establish a new network for scholarly podcasting. 

The Amplify Podcast Network is currently in development, supported by institutional partners and scholars from across Canada collectively engaged in the creation of a stable home for scholarly podcasts. As with the original pilot podcast, our work on Amplify is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Hannah and I as co-directors, along with media producer and Joseph-Armand Bombardier (CGS) Ph.D. candidate Stacey Copeland, our extraordinary supervising producer, continue to experiment with editorial and production methods for scholarly podcasts. With the assistance of colleagues at WLU Press, WLU Library, Simon Fraser University’s Digital Humanities Innovation Lab, and DOXA, the Documentary Media Society, along with our podcasters and collaborating researchers and podcasters from SpokenWeb and the Canada and the Spanish Civil War projects, we are exploring new methods for the dissemination, discovery, promotion, and distribution of podcasts. New processes and more flexible conventions for editorial and production work; new tools for metadata creation; new means to ensure discovery and user data collection; new engagement with accessibility guidelines; new systems for stable and sustainable storage of audio files… With each step forward we find ourselves facing expected and unforeseen challenges that bring our collective of scholars, publishers, librarians, and tech innovators into conversation and collaborative work to devise a working model for this ongoing work on scholarly podcasting.

I can’t think of a better exemplar of the spirit of scholarship and scholarly publishing than that.


Be sure to check out these posts from other university presses on the University Press Blog Tour