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Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
The Open Library of Humanities Journal is open to submissions “from researchers working in any humanities' discipline in any language.” Subjects covered range from “classics, theology and philosophy, to modern languages and literatures, film and media studies, anthropology, political theory and sociology,” and the journal publishes “general articles as well as special collections focused on a particular topic or theme.”
The journal is funded on “the OLH Model” [a Library Partnership Subsidy model] by “an international library consortium and has no charges to authors or readers,” It’s published online as “a continuous volume and issue throughout the year.” The editorial team is a distinguished one, with experts and scholars from a diverse range of subject areas. A research integrity section in the journal speaks to its Anti-plagiarism Checking policy, noting, “A combination of pre-screening and open access is the best possible defence against plagiarism. All articles submitted to Open Library of Humanities journals are automatically screened for plagiarism by the CrossCheck system from CrossRef. This system compares incoming articles to a large database of academic content, and alerts editors to any possible issues.”
Recent articles to be found here include, “Politics, Poetics, Place,” a piece in the special collection, “Imaginaries of the Future 02,” which explores the questions “what passions does poetry animate in imaginary utopian societies? And why is it featured there at all?” and concludes that “poetry in utopian prose may open up spaces of negativity that contradict positive utopian designs”; “The Sons of Phil: Rothian Self-Satire and Self-Incrimination in Shalom Auslander’s Foreskin’s Lament and Gary Shteyngart’s Little Failure,” an article in the “New Voices in Jewish-American Literature” special collection that analyzes the “self-satirising, self-incriminating comedy… [that] emerges from an intertextual dialogue with the work of Philip Roth, so that we might call Shteyngart and Auslander—adapting the ‘Sons of Ben’ label given to a generation of Caroline authors who regarded themselves as disciples of the Renaissance poet and playwright Ben Jonson—‘sons of Phil’”; and the special collection “American Literature and the Transnational Marketplace” article, “An Enemy Abroad: The Transnational Politics of Francis Jeffrey and the War of 1812,” that tells the story of how “the celebrated founding editor of the Edinburgh Review, Francis Jeffrey, travelled to New York and Washington while Britain was at war with the United States and … examines Jeffrey’s interactions in the White House, his reactions to encounters with African Americans and his Romantic responses to the American landscape in order to investigate his transnational politics.” As you can see, the subject matter is from different areas of study, but the scholarship displayed throughout the journal is excellent and illustrates the wide variety of material that falls rightfully within the humanities.
A highly significant aspect of this journal is the “why” behind the OLH funding model, articulated thusly: “The OLH recognises that the economics of the humanities are different. The majority of research in the humanities remains unfunded except through institutional time. For this reason, Article Processing Charges are not a palatable option for these disciplines. We are funded instead through a model of Library Partnership Subsidies to collectively fund the venue and its array of journals . A large number of libraries and institutions worldwide already support us, which makes for a sustainable, safe platform.” It will be interesting to see if this funding model can be sustained and (it’s to be hoped) expanded. Highly recommended for academic libraries.