Wed, 4 Aug 1999 07:59:43 EDT

Dear listmembers,

Allin, Paul C and I have been working on the proposal that OPE-L should start
an electronic journal. The following is a summary of our discussions,
proposals, achievements, and questions. This report returns the discussion to
the list. There is no organising committee, and no-one is in charge of
anything. If we want to pursue one of the avenues outlined below, or do
something entirely different, we will have to determine what to do, how to do
it, and who will do it.


We are in favour of OPE-L starting a series of e-publications. If we start a
journal, the proposed title is Online Political Economy (OPE).

*Question:* Should we start a journal or a discussion paper series?

We quite like the idea of starting a journal, and have produced a draft
editorial policy and rules of procedure (below). We have also registered the
title with the British Library, and have an ISSN number (available on

ADVANTAGES OF A JOURNAL: Impact on the academic community, outlet for PE
material, respectability, etc.

DISADVANTAGES OF A JOURNAL: There is not much point in having a journal that
is not recognised as such by the academic community, because it would only
receive weak submissions (usually only papers rejected by established
journals). In order to overcome this hurdle, OPE should be classified as a
'proper' journal by copyright libraries, and listed in SSCI/IBSS/BIDS and
other widely used archival/retrieval systems. However, SSCI/IBSS/BIDS do not
currently list any e-journals, although they accept that this rule may have
to change in the future. The British Library agrees in principle to stock
OPE, as long as we can agree with them some form of copyright protection
(i.e., what will prevent me from electronically modifying the text of an old
article of mine in OPE and subsequently claim that Stiglitz, say, has been
plagiarising my work?).

Unless we can solve these problems, the best alternative is probably to start
a refereed discussion paper series (possibly moving into a journal in the
future, when the above problems have been sorted). A discussion paper series
may be attractive, because it would not prevent authors from submitting the
same articles in established journals. As we should be able to process papers
very quickly, a discussion paper series may encourage authors to make their
research available through us.

(This can be adapted to suit the discussion paper series if we decide to go
for it.)

1. Online Political Economy (OPE) is owned and edited by Online Political
Economy (OPE-L), a closed electronic list. The editorial board of OPE
includes all OPE-L list-members.

2. The editorial policy of OPE is decided by its editorial board, following a
majority decision in OPE-L.

3. Day-to-day management of OPE is the responsibility of the management
committee of the editorial board. This Committee is elected annually by the
members of the editorial board. Any member of the editorial board can ask for
a debate or a vote of confidence on the management committee or any of its
members at any time.

4. The management committee will have five members, one of whom will be the

5. OPE is founded on the tradition of Karl Marx. It aims to be an alternative
to printed journals in the field of political economy, by providing a
combination of peer-refereeing, fast publication and free access to published
material. It welcomes contributions from across the analytical spectrum,
especially those inspired by non-mainstream writers such as Marx, Keynes,
Schumpeter, Kalecki and Sraffa. It especially welcomes contributions that (a)
cut across the barriers separating academic 'disciplines' from one another,
(b) challenge all forms of oppression and exploitation, including those based
on class, gender, race, and sexual orientation, and (c) analyse empirically
or theoretically pre-capitalist, capitalist and post-capitalist economies.

6. Sumissions should be emailed to OPE-L <address> attached to a mail
message. They should include JEL codes and keywords to facilitate searching.
Receipt of the article will be confirmed, and the author/s will be supplied
with the name and email address of one member of the management committee who
will act as the the co-ordinator of this submission.

7. OPE includes four sections: (a) main articles (up to 10,000 words), (b)
contributions (up to 3,000 words), (c) news & debates (up to 3,000 words),
(d) reviews (up to 2,000 words).

8. Main articles analyse theoretical, empirical or methodological problems,
and generally follow the traditional academic format. Publication should be
decided within twelve weeks of submission.

9. Contributions analyse well-defined problems, but can be more speculative
and/or follow a less conventional format. Publication should be decided
within twelve weeks of submission.

10. News & debates are comments on recent news or theoretical developments,
which may be 'journalistic' in nature and need not follow academic
conventions. Publication should be decided within eight weeks of submission.

11. Reviews critically analyse recent papers, articles or books. Publication
should be decided within eight weeks of submission.

12. Submissions to OPE will be allocated by the co-ordinator to one member of
the management committee as their responsibility, and advertised on OPE-L.
Board-members may offer themselves to referee any paper they wish. It is
expected that reports will not take longer than four weeks.

13. Main Articles and Contributions will be refereed by at least two members
of the editorial board, and by at least one non-member, invited by the
management committee. News & Debates will be refereed by at least two members
of the editorial board, and Reviews will be refereed by at least one member
of the editorial board.

14. If the minimum number of referees cannot be found within four weeks of
submission, or if the minimum number of reports is not available after twelve
weeks, the paper will be automatically rejected as being outside the areas of
interest of OPE and/or of expertise of the editorial board.

15. On the basis of the referee reports, the management committee will decide
for (a) immediate publication, (b) publication subject to satisfactory
changes, (c) rejection.

16. The full text of the referee reports and subsequent debate within the
management committee and OPE-L will be made available to the authors of
individual papers and to all members of the editorial board on request.
However, individual referees or members of the editorial board may request
that their own contribution is treated in confidence.

17. OPE will be published three times per year.

18. OPE holds the copyright to all papers it publishes. OPE supports the free
circulation of ideas, and encourages readers and writers to reproduce all its
articles widely, as long as the source is mentioned.

(a) We can register an internet domain name relatively easily, for USD70 for
two years (to be funded by the editorial board). Unfortunately www.ope.net
and www.ope.org are both taken. We could have www.onlinepolecon.org, or
(probably a better choice) www.ope-l.org. We can then have a separate
www.ope-l.org/archives page for the list archives, which would require a
username and password.

(b) We need technical and design resources to produce our pages. Allin has
agreed to work on this, but he may need help. There is a lot to be done! If
we decide to go ahead, we will need more volunteers.