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MAA Procedures for Evaluation of Proposals & Submissions to the Library of Digital Latin Texts(LDLT)



1. Introduction

Editions of medieval Latin texts in LDLT will appear under the aegis of the MAA, after review and approval in accordance with the following guidelines. It is to be noted that editions of ancient Latin texts will be reviewed by the Society for Classical Studies and those of Renaissance Latin texts by the Renaissance Society of America, each in accordance with its own policies and procedures.

The MAA will recognize two types of publications in this series:

A “Peer Reviewed Critical Edition” will meet the standards of a critical edition commonly accepted in the field of medieval studies. Acceptance by the editorial board will be evidence that the work is judged by the MAA to be equal in quality to the kinds of editions that appear in MAA print publications or scholarly articles that appear the MAA journal Speculum.

A “Peer Reviewed Working Edition” will be a high quality edition that should be regarded by scholars as useful and reliable. While lacking certain features that are expected of a full critical edition (such as a collation of certain manuscripts, an apparatus fontium, etc.), it is free from errors, and offers a text that is a genuine improvement over what has heretofore been available.

2. Editorial Board

The Digital Humanities and Multimedia Studies Committee shall serve as the initial editorial board for this series, with the chair of the committee serving as chair of the board. If the volume of work proves too burdensome for the committee, the Executive Director of the MAA may establish a separate editorial board as a subcommittee of the Digital Humanities and Multimedia Studies Committee.

The responsibilities of the editorial board include:

1. communication with prospective editors about proposals
2. approval of proposals
3. maintenance of a record of ongoing projects
4. coordination with the leadership, executive and technical, of the LDLT where necessary
5. identification and communication with external reviewers
6. approval of digital publications as working or finished editions
7. coordination with the MAA Publications Committee, if necessary

3. Preproposal

Scholars contemplating working on an edition for this venue should consult the Guidelines for LDLT Editions provided by the Digital Latin Library, particularly the section “3. Definition of an LDLT Edition,” and consult with the Executive Director of the Medieval Academy as to the appropriateness of the project for the series and whether the proposed text is already in development by someone else.

The editorial board may be approached with projects in three different states of development:

1. An already encoded draft digital edition.
2. A draft text edition, not yet encoded.
3. A simple plan for a digital edition.

In all three cases, editors should be referred to the technical requirements described in the Guidelines for LDLT editions. In the case of 1), it will be a matter of adjusting coding to the LDLT schema, if not already done. In the case of 2), it will be a matter of impressing on the editor their responsibility for the coding (with guidance from DLL staff). In the case of 3), it will be a matter of encouraging the editor to keep the requirements in mind in preparing the proposal.

If the project is deemed appropriate and is not already in development, editors should indicate to the Executive Director of the Medieval Academy intent to submit a proposal. If a proposal is not received within one year of notification of the editor’s intention to submit, the “reservation” of this text will lapse unless (1) the editor informs the editorial board of ongoing work and indicates a reasonable timetable for submitting the proposal, and (2) the editorial board acknowledges continuation of the “reservation” until a new deadline.

4. Proposal

A. Editors should submit, by email to the Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America, a proposal including the following items:

1. Author and title of the text to be edited.
2. Brief survey of existing editions.
3. Justification of a new working or critical edition, explaining how it will improve upon earlier editions, if any.
4. Discussion of the editor’s qualifications.
5. Description of the work completed to date.
6. Plan for implementing features of the LDLT’s encoding guidelines.
7. Sample of the encoded text.

Item 6 should address whether or not the edition will include a textual commentary, apparatus fontium et testium, tags for analysis, and/or any of the advanced semantic encoding techniques mentioned in the guidelines.

B. The editorial board will review the proposal and determine whether or not to give it provisional acceptance. The editorial board may choose to consult informally outside scholars at this point (on an anonymous basis) as to the merits of the proposal. If they decide to pursue the project, the chair will inform the author of the proposal and the director of the DLL that the project should proceed to the next stage. Approval at this stage does not guarantee acceptance. Rather, approval means that the proposed project is likely to meet the standards of the MAA and is deemed worth pursuing.

5. Development

The editor will interact with Digital Latin Library (DLL) staff during development to do the following:

1. Set up a repository for version control and storage of the edition’s files and data.
2. Set up a Zotero collection for bibliography related to the edition.
3. Establish a plan for representing the edition’s data according to the LDLT guidelines.

During development, a number of mechanisms will be in place to encourage compliance with the LDLT’s encoding guidelines. The schema for LDLT texts will provide warnings when the XML is not valid and well formed. Instructions will also be available to enable an editor to prepare material in plain text files and spreadsheets so that much of the edition can be encoded automatically by scripts prepared by the DLL. The editor will also have access to a testing version of the DLL’s “reading room” viewer to verify that the data is behaving as expected. DLL staff will also be available for consultation.

6. Submission of Final Draft

A. When the final draft of the edition has been completed, the editor will send the following materials to the Executive Director of the Medieval Academy:

1. A description of the project
2. A copy of an e-mail from the technical director of the DLL certifying that the edition adheres to the LDLT encoding guidelines.
3. Directions for access to the edition on the DLL’s testing site, the Zotero bibliography, and the repository for the edition’s files and data.
4. A .pdf version of the file appropriate for “paper” review.

B. The Executive Director, in consultation with the Editorial Board, will select two expert referees to assess these materials and to write reports. A qualified member of the editorial board may serve as one of the referees. For substantial, book-length projects, the MAA will offer an honorarium of $300 for each referee’s report. For shorter texts, more the length of articles, no honorarium will be paid. In either case, the review will be carried out on a double-blind basis.

C. The editorial board will review the referees’ reports and, after discussion, formulate the appropriate response. Generally, the possibilities will be:

1. accept unconditionally (the author may of course make minor revisions in response to any suggestions of the referees or the editorial board).
2. accept with the expectation that the author will revise in the light of specific suggestions made by the referees or the editorial board, with the chair of the editorial board being charged to verify that the author’s final version takes account of the suggestions.
3. ask the author to revise and resubmit, with the resubmission to be evaluated by one or two referees (not necessarily the same as used previously), who will be provided copies of the previous reports and response. The choice between one or two referees will be at the discretion of the editorial board, and use of the same referee(s) will be at the discretion of the board and subject to the availability and willingness of the referee. 4. If the edition does not meet the expectations of the reviewers, it may be rejected, in which case all materials revert to the editor, who may choose to pursue publication elsewhere.

7. Coordination with Publications Advisory Board

For more substantial, critical editions, editors may express an interest in pursuing a traditional print publication in the series Medieval Academy Books, published in cooperation with the University of Toronto Press. This is, in principle, a completely separate process. If, however, a publication of this type will be a particular instantiation of the digital edition being prepared for the LDLT, the Publications Advisory Board will wait for approval by the MAA LDLT editorial board before proceeding, reusing the referee’s reports if it wishes. The chairs of the editorial board and of the Publications Advisory Board should coordinate on any possible editions that might come before both committees.

Copyright ©2018 The Medieval Academy of America
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