Monday, June 22, 2009

Norms of Publication

Can anybody tell me why every single academic journal (at least, in my discipline) comes up with a list of very peculiar norms of publication? We have our MLA Handbook, why can't we just follow the norms for quoting and bibliography that it suggests? We all know the MLA requirements very well and feel conmofrtable with them. But no, that would make our academic lives way too easy.

When you are used to quoting in a certain format, it's incredibly time-consuming to have to go through an article and redo it according to some weird and inexplicable requirements of a specific journal. And the most upsetting thing is that if they reject your article, you'll have to redo the entire bibliography and all of your quotes for another journal.

A journal where I submitted my most recent article (on Rosa Montero's Temblor as a Neo-Baroque Bildungsroman) wrote to say that it successfully passed the first round of evaluation (whatever that means) but now I have to change the bibliography according to their norms as soon as possible. Why couldn't they first decide whether they accept it and then ask me to do all this work changing it?

So, on this beautiful sunny day I have to be sitting here trying to grasp the intricacies of their unusual system of quoting. I hope it's not for nothing.


Anonymous said...

I think it is healthy to have different norms of publication, even if it is tiresome and some of them are downright stupid and repetitive: "In his 1998 article, Smith says that whales are endangered species" (Smith 1988: 35). But suppose that I believe that the MLA does not represent me well as a scholar or as a teacher, then I would be happy not to reproduce their norms of publication once in a while.

Anyways, what annoys me profoundly are endnotes vs footnotes. Why endnotes??? If you want to skip footnotes, you skip them while reading. Endnotes should be banned.

Clarissa said...

Exactly!! Nobody will flip back all the time for the endnotes, which often include very interesting stuff. I found a publishing house that says they actually welcome footnotes (unlike all other publishing houses, especially those where you send doctoral dissertatioon for publication). We'll see if they were telling the truth. I want to save my footnotes, thy are so good!!