In the Fall of 2009 Brill, confronted with budget challenges, chose to terminate its publication of Societies Without Borders: Human Rights and the Social Sciences. There were two ways to respond to this change: shop the journal to other publishers or look into a closer relationship with Sociologists Without Borders/ Sociólogos Sin Fronteras (SSF). The answer was clear almost immediately—we should look for a way for SSF to publish Societies Without Borders. This would free us from the tides of capitalism and allow SSF to push the boundaries of what it means to publish in academic journals.
The first step for the new iteration of Societies Without Borders was the naming of a new editorial staff. Three co-editors, David L. Brunsma, Keri E. Iyall Smith, and Mark Frezzo guide the new journal with extensive assistance from our Editorial Collective. Members of the editorial collective offer leadership and guidance, in addition to offering thoughtful reviews of submitted articles. As both readers and authors they constructively contribute to, critique, and shape the new Societies Without Borders.
It is with this first issue of Volume V that we are beginning to establish new norms of what it means to publish and read academic journal articles. Societies Without Borders is now open source—the content is freely available to all readers. The journal is solely published at www.societieswithoutborders.org, with subscription services and updates offered via email. Signing up for an email subscription allows readers to be notified when new content is available. Many double-blind, peer reviewed journals, like Societies Without Borders, have moved to the web to save production and printing costs.
There are other advantages to the use of the web for publication. With assistance from Google translate, Societies Without Borders is now available in forty-nine languages. Using a blog format for the journal also allows for continuous dialogue about articles. Under each article, readers may click the “Leave a Comment” button to offer feedback to the author or ask a question of the community of readers. For authors this is an opportunity to learn how readers receive their work and for readers it is an opportunity to engage ideas in a more dynamic fashion. The use of comments will also create space for community to develop. In this way the journal is not only talking about human rights and social sciences, it is also a way of doing human rights as social scientists.
In addition to changing the way we read and analyze content, Societies Without Borders is changing how we produce academic content. As well as the traditional article and book review formats employed by academic journals, the journal now offers three other ways to publish. In “Expressions of Human Rights” authors are invited to analyze, present, articulate, and express human rights in human societies in poetic or artistic works. Authors of “Living Human Rights” share a view of the ways that people around the world are demanding respect for their human rights. Research notes, commentaries, and shorter analyses and arguments are presented in “Notes from the Field.” To maintain academic integrity, articles are double blind peer-reviewed, the editors review “Notes from the Field,” and jury of artists evaluates submissions for “Expressions of Human Rights.”
For Societies Without Borders to achieve its goal of being a journal of Human Rights and the Social Sciences, we rely upon you—the reader and author—to participate in myriad ways to make this a vibrant space. Our human rights city is unbound, but it can only thrive with active civic engagement. Join us.
Brunsma, David L., KeriE. Iyall Smith & Mark Frezzo.
"Reborn: A Note From the Editors."
Societies Without Borders
Available at: http://scholarlycommons.law.case.edu/swb/vol5/iss1/1