In Conversation With Jay Dolmage

The left hand sometimes doesn’t know what the right hand is doing: in this case I had no idea the UWaterloo Library had conducted an interview with the English Department’s own Jay Dolmage about what it was like to start an academic journal. Read on to find out what shocked–yes, his word, shocked!–him. –JLH

In Conversation With Jay Dolmage

Dr. Jay Dolmage is Associate Professor of English and the founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies. In this interview, Dolmage shares his experience as Editor, how the Library supports his efforts and why open-access is essential.

  1. What motivated you to start the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies?

The Canadian Disability Studies Association put a call out for applicants to be the editor — the first editor. This was right at the time that I had accepted a job at the University of Waterloo and was moving back to Canada. This seemed like a terrific opportunity to get involved in and to contribute to disability studies here in Canada.

  1. How has editing this journal had an impact on your research and scholarship?

Editing the journal has taught me a lot about the breadth and depth of the field of disability studies. But the major way the journal has changed my research and scholarship has been about access: the journal is open access and all of the content is available anywhere in the world for free. Moreover, we use specific formats and stylistic guidelines to be sure that the content is accessible to all readers. I have been shocked by how many readers we have, and where they come to us from. This has changed what I think of as the role for disability studies in a globalizing world: we need to work hard to make the field as accessible as possible, globally.

  1. How has the Library supported your efforts?

The Library has been tremendous — handling all of the technical details associated with hosting the journal, archiving the data, ensuring that updates are installed. The Library also “gets” the open access philosophy and has invested in it.

  1. What advice would you have for faculty members interested in starting an open access journal?

I would say do it!  I knew very little about it before I began, aside from the fact that I believed that a disability studies journal had to be open access.  I have learned as I went along, with the help of the Library.

This interview originally appeared in UWaterloo Library News.


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