Where to Next?

We’re very happy to be publishing FCJ 20, the Network Utopias issue. It’s a fine issue. With a great deal of subtlety and force, it pulls apart the notion of network utopia, while leaving a great deal of room for what it is that networks truly give us. There’s been an enormous amount of work done by guest editors Su Ballard, Zita Joyce and Lizzie Muller—careful and demanding work. The CFP received a huge response, and Su, Zita and Lizzie have done a wonderful job crafting the issue that we now publish. FCJ wants to warmly thank everyone who submitted abstracts and articles during this process. Of course, we could not publish all the articles we received, and this has often been a cause for genuine sadness at times, but hope the ideas that didn’t make it through the long and complex process of editing this issue find a home elsewhere.

Where to next? When the Fibreculture Journal published its first issue in 2003, it was one of a small group of online, open access journals. Now it’s one of very many. In 2003 the issues involved were perhaps obscure. Now open access publishing, open data, open journalism, and social media, in a variety of online and offline combinations, have truly arrived. Moreover, it’s now well understood that this is not only a matter of getting information out in a different format. It’s also a question of profound shifts in the nature of social organisation, something discussed in detail in many of the articles in the Network Utopias issue. It’s certainly been heartening to be part of all this, in our own small way.

This is, of course, the Fibreculture Journal’s main concern. In many ways we have achieved everything that we aimed to in 2003 when we first published, so what should we do now? As a journal? As an online community/platform that could so easily become more-than-a-journal? As a member of the community of publishers, of fosterers of knowledge and thinking, not only in the humanities but in the sciences, and the exciting possibilities of meetings between the two? What can we learn from other humanities publishers? What can we learn from science publishing? From new forms of social organisation outside of established institutions?

As always, but more so, the Fibreculture Journal is currently, and intensively, re-imagining what it might become. What do you want of a journal/community/platform such as the Fibreculture Journal? How might you re-imagine publishing and the forms of social organisation it allows. Ask not what you can do for the Fibreculture Journal (well, actually, don’t stop asking that) but what the Fibreculture Journal might do for you?

We’d be very happy to hear from you as we think about the way forward for the next few years.