The Suda called him "posessed of an evil spirit"
October 26, 2010 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Please suggest classics publications that might accept an article by a non-scholar.

I am finishing an article on a notorious figure of the ancient world, Sotades of Maroneia. Much has been written about him, and a good bit recently, but I don't see any extensive survey of his life. So over many years, I've pulled one together, heavily researched and rather comprehensive, carefully footnoted, etc. with the help of several academics who provided translations, perspective, etc. I would like to get this published but obviously, my lack of any formal training in philology or classics will be a major issue for most scholarly journals. Any and all advice appreciated. Thanks!
posted by msalt to Religion & Philosophy (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Searching online, I have found the following links to online journals. I would prefer, however, to be in print if possible.

Electronic Antiquity
Leeds International Classical Studies
Scholia (not accepting submissions right now)
Studia Humaniora Tartuensia
posted by msalt at 2:38 PM on October 26, 2010

If the paper is well-researched, well-written, and conforms to the conventions of academic writing, why would your formal training or lack thereof be an issue for any journal? If your paper meets those criteria, you are a scholar de facto, at least within this narrow area.

When I review papers for journals, I read the paper; I don't go out and look up the author's educational background.

Classics isn't my field, so I can't recommend any particular journal, but if you believe your paper is worthy, then aim high and submit to the best journals out there, working your way down as you get rejections (and you will get rejections, just as the most eminent academic scholars do). When you finally get back a set of reviews that say "you must do this, and this, and this" and the editor says "we'll be happy to accept a revised paper for re-review" you're golden. You're not in yet, but if you do the things the reviewers suggest and resubmit; it'll probably be accepted on the second go-around, and if not, the revised version is more likely to get in to the next journal you try. Don't get discouraged - it can be a lengthy process (again, for anyone, academic or not).

I would strongly recommend consulting the "academics who provided translations, perspective, etc." for advice on preparing your paper for submission, since they will certainly have useful advice for you and, of course, may be able to suggest places to submit to. Indeed one of them may be willing to write a "cover letter" recommending the paper to an editor -- while this isn't common in most fields, it may help in your case, reassuring an editor right off the bat that you're not a crackpot. I'd like to think that, assuming your paper is good enough to speak for itself, such a letter isn't necessary, but it can't hurt.
posted by Kiscica at 2:59 PM on October 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

I would like to get this published but obviously, my lack of any formal training in philology or classics will be a major issue for most scholarly journals.

I don't see why that would be the case if they use blind reviewing. (So long, of course, as your work is up to snuff.)

So, journals, this is not my area, but how about Arion?
posted by Jahaza at 3:05 PM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

We should be careful to distinguish between "blind" or anonymous peer review -- where the author is not told who reviewed hes paper, but the referee does know who authored the paper -- from "double blind" review, which is what I think you're referring to, Jahaza. Double-blind review, in which the reviewers are not told the identity of the author either, would indeed prevent msalt's lack of academic background from being a factor in the reviews themselves, although of course the editor who makes the initial decision to send the paper out for review (or not) will still know.

For what it's worth in almost 20 years of academia I only rarely encountered "double-blind" peer review. It may be the rule rather than the exception in classics, though; I just don't know.
posted by Kiscica at 3:18 PM on October 26, 2010

Call yourself an "independent researcher" or "independent scholar" -- undergrads (though rarely) and grad students without PhDs get published; why not you?
posted by pised at 4:35 PM on October 26, 2010

I'm not in Classics, but in history. One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of academic journals prefer articles that address current problems in the field, and their editors might not be terribly interested in an article, even a very good one, that does not directly engage with current issues. Before deciding on a venue, look at recent issues of the journal (or the tables of contents which are usually free online, even if the journal isn't). How long are their articles, and how does that compare with the length of your draft? What kinds of things do they publish, and does your article look like it will fit in? If your article looks like a good fit, the editor might well decide to send it out for review; if it is not a good fit, then it won't reach that stage.
posted by brianogilvie at 7:10 PM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks for a lot of good perspectives. Follow-up question: can anyone point me to a recent survey or "Life Of..." article in a classics journal? Most seem to be on very particular questions, and I'm wondering if that is a bigger hurdle for my article than my (lack of) formal qualifications.
posted by msalt at 9:50 PM on October 28, 2010

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