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Provocative international arts journal now free and available to all through open access Scholars Compass

August 12, 2015

Illustration of an article on assessment by Sharif Bey, Syracuse University The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, Cover, No. 34

An important publication in the arts world, The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, now has a new publishing base: Virginia Commonwealth University’s Scholars Compass.  

VCU Libraries launched it in mid-summer. Paper proposals for the next thematic issue on “Navigating Divides” will also be managed through Scholars Compass. Deadline for submission is October 15.

Published annually since 1980, and currently edited by a VCU faculty member, The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education (JSTAE) serves as an alternative voice in art education. It showcases research that addresses social issues, action and transformation as well as creative methods of research and writing. JSTAE is the official journal of the Caucus of Social Theory in Art Education, an issues group of the NAEA National Art Education Association.

“We were founded to represent points of view that have not always been embraced or accepted by mainstream journals,” said Editor Melanie Buffington, Ph.D., an associate professor of Art Education at VCUArts. “As a journal, we are open to a range of article formats and different points of view. There are numerous traditional journals in the field. We co-exist alongside them and present a range of voices.”

The intersection of arts and society provides a broad canvas for JSTAE. Recent article topics include craft as activism, feminist zines, religion and visual culture, freedom of speech and censorship, and public monuments and memorials. Many of the ideas explored and theories investigated have immediate real-world applications in schools, non-profits, galleries, public art offices and other community resources that generally lack access to scholarly journals.

“Anyone who is interested in the content, anywhere in the world can now access it,” Buffington said. “The theories our members and authors embrace often address underserved populations, so making these ideas freely available to a wider audience is appropriate for our mission.”

Outreach beyond academic circles was appealing to Buffington, who particularly wants teachers to have access to these ideas that can translate to classroom use. For the first time, the peer-reviewed journal’s full archives, from the first issue in 1980 to the present, are openly available online.

An additional appeal to Scholars Compass, she said, is posting contributions that go beyond text and include robust images, video, audio and interactive components. “Contemporary artists expand the limits of works of art. It is fitting that an art education journal expands the limits of what is an article.”

JSTAE is a sound example of the kind of journal that is well suited to open-access publishing. It serves the public and also serves scholarship. Its content has public-serving purposes and fulfills VCU’s mission of translational research--moving findings and ideas from the academy quickly into the public realm, where scholarship can improve quality of life and society.

“Given the international prominence of VCU’s School of the Arts and the established reputation of JSTAE, this is a great fit for Scholars Compass,” said Jimmy Ghaphery, Head of Digital

Technologies for VCU Libraries. “We expect the journal to continue to grow in exposure and gain readership through our search engine optimization. We are also very excited that the journal embraces open-access publishing as a way to share its content as widely as possible. This is especially rewarding to me in a field like art education, where many of the practitioners do not have access to high priced subscription journals.”

“This is our first full peer-reviewed open access journal in Scholars Compass since we launched less than one year ago,” said Sam Byrd, Digital Collections Systems Librarian at VCU Libraries. “We invite more faculty to bring their projects to VCU Libraries. We’re here to help.”  Byrd can be contacted at sbyrd2@vcu.edu.

About Scholars Compass

Academic journals are at the foundation of scholarship. As digital access becomes more the norm and prices of printed or electronic journals continue to rise unchecked, academic libraries nationwide are providing affordable avenues for easier publication online and management of the peer-review process. Run by VCU Libraries, Scholars Compass provides technical support and training to faculty who want to manage journals, peer-review processes, conferences, conference proceedings and reports and much more. Have a project to discuss? Contact: Sam Byrd, sbyrd2@vcu.edu.

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