Opening the Journal: How an Open-Access E-journal Can Serve Scholarship, the Liberal Arts, and the Community
Use the link to access the full text article published in the journal Perspectives on History. Open access to the article was made possible by the American Historical Association. The article opens as follows: "During this period of great turmoil for higher education, when the “usefulness” of liberal arts education is under assault, supporters of the humanities and the liberal arts must actively and creatively advance the cause by finding ways to increase participation, interest, and relevance without watering down scholarship. We at the Middle Ground Journal found that an open-access e-journal can be the center of such an effort, contributing to its host institution’s core mission of liberal arts education while connecting the surrounding communities to a global network and broad perspective. The Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies is the journal of the Midwest World History Association (MWWHA), an affiliate of the World History Association (WHA). The journal was launched in 2010 and is housed at the College of St. Scholastica, which generously provides critical IT and logistical support. Like any peer-reviewed journal, Middle Ground publishes the latest research and furthers scholarly discourse. The journal has adhered to the important standards of peer review for research articles. We have also developed an active scholarly book review section facilitated by good working relationships with many of the major publishers. Because of the open-access and e-format, our reviews are freely available to readers around the world. But we have also made a concerted effort to involve undergraduates and K–12 students with diverse interests, turning the Middle Ground Journal into an effective tool for broad outreach and advocacy on behalf of the liberal arts. We’ve found three components that allow the Middle Ground Journal to serve both scholarship and outreach. First, we have meaningful undergraduate participation. In particular, we creatively developed areas for undergraduate participation beyond world history and global studies, such as teaching, marketing, study abroad, experiential learning, and web 2.0 and social media. Managing these functions is labor intensive, but it is a fundamental part of the journal’s mission. Second, we created and nurtured community outreach and partnerships with area K–12 classes. Finally, we started experiments with formats more suitable to contributors outside academe—such as columns, reflective essays on teaching, interviews (potentially as video clips or podcasts), and class materials for teachers on all levels ..."