Dear H-Net Community,
My name is Yelena Kalinsky, I am H-Net's Associate Director for Research & Publications and Managing Editor of H-Net Reviews. I started working at H-Net last year after completing my PhD in art history at Rutgers University and deciding to pursue a career off the tenure track. My favorite part about working at H-Net is working with editors who share a mission of fostering scholarly communications across disciplines, geographies, and professional situations. They are the ones behind the scenes who help to keep this non-commercial, collective resource going even while changes in technology and academia itself are transforming the way we teach, research, and publish. H-Net Reviews highlights the work of the volunteer review editors at the heart of this mission.
Gary Roth, review editor at H-Socialisms writes: "Perhaps what I like best about H-Net Reviews is the deep-seated sense of communication that informs the review process, of how I was encouraged as a reviewer to keep writing and how as a review editor I now do the same for others, of how important it is to match precisely a reviewer’s interests with an intriguing book, and how the review itself is both a personal and an objective form of communication directed to the book’s author while also serving as a series of comments aimed at the review’s readers."
It is this kind of communication that makes scholarship matter and that H-Net supports.
Charles Reed, review editor at H-Empire and a member of the H-Net Council writes: "I think that many of us take for granted what H-Net contributes to our scholarship and to our academic lives. I have encountered so many (most?) of the opportunities that I have taken up, from conferences to grant opportunities, on H-Net. As it was emphasized to me by an, ahem, more experienced scholar at a recent conference, H-Net reviews are published at lightning speed compared to traditional journals and are read by a much larger audience. On H-Empire, distinguished scholars contribute reviews alongside graduate students. The reviews on H-Empire (and H-Albion and H-World and...) allow me to stay connected to my field in a way that would have been impossible thirty years ago. The H-Net Commons only enriches our ability to engage in the latest scholarship."
In the past two years, H-Net has been undergoing a transformation. Reviews, Academic Announcements, and the Job Guide are H-Net's bread and butter, but they are just the beginning of what the Commons can do. There is much grumbling in academic circles about paywalls and the corporatization of academic publishing. "Academia not edu" and the closing of independent publishers. H-Net's accessibility, its dedicated audience, and its completely non-commercial mission position H-Net at the crossroads of these debates. In the coming years, I hope to see more editors and networks take advantage of this resource to pursue peer-reviewed publication right on the H-Net Commons, to democratize academic publishing and put it in the hands of those who produce it. The possibilities are there.
If you share this mission, I hope you will join us by becoming an editor or by donating today to keep this resource free and available to all.
Yelena Kalinsky, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Research & Publications
H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online
Managing Editor, H-Net Reviews
506 E Circle Drive #141H
East Lansing, MI 48824