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May 2018 Update from the Publications Advisory Committee

The Publications Advisory Committee (PAC) is responsible for guiding and supporting ISSOTL’s scholarly journal, Teaching & Learning Inquiry (TLI). While the co-editors and editorial board make decisions about TLI’s content and focus, the PAC addresses issues of financial health and sustainability, and ensures that the journal effectively supports the mission of the organization.

Over the last year, the PAC undertook an ambitious stock-taking process aimed at giving ISSOTL members and journal readers a clear, up-to-date account of TLI’s status and direction. We urge you to read the report, which appears in the most recent issue of the journal, and to note, especially, the concluding list of suggestions about how you can contribute to TLI’s reach and impact--by identifying and encouraging potential contributors, for instance, and by suggesting topics, authors and features to the journal’s editors.

Note too that the Focus and Scope section of the TLI site now contains a one-page flyer about the journal that you can print and take along to conferences and other events that bring together potential new readers and authors.

One of the topics dealt with in the stock-taking report is progress in ensuring that TLI is indexed in appropriate major databases. Inclusion in databases adds credibility, increases visibility, and widens accessibility. As of this writing, TLI is indexed by Google Scholar, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), EBSCO Education Source, EBSCO Discovery Service, Proquest, and the MLA International Bibliography. Additionally, we are a member of Crossref, which facilitates links between articles.

Recently, the PAC has continued its attention to indexing with an eye to inclusion in Scopus, a major database with a focus on the sciences. A prerequisite for inclusion in Scopus is to have a clear statement on Publication Ethics and Misconduct. Much of the relevant information was already included in various sections of the TLI website. But in composing the required statement PAC members Lauren Hays and Margy MacMillan (both library faculty) were able to fill in some gaps and clarify policies and expectations. The resulting statement is useful for authors and readers to be able to access information related to editorial policies in one place, but most importantly the statement affirms TLI’s commitment to the highest standards of academic publishing. The PAC has resubmitted our request to Scopus and is awaiting a reply.

Scopus is important in its own right, bringing greater visibility and prestige to the journal. But it is also an important step toward having TLI recognized on the African continent and in South Africa, where journals must be accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Articles published in accredited-journals are used in high-stakes university decisions such as in tenure, promotions and applications for professorship. Additionally, South African universities and researchers are financially rewarded for articles published in accredited national and international journals. DHET recognizes five international indices including Scopus. Thus, achieving recognition in Scopus will be an important way to give TLI a more international profile and reach, in keeping with ISSOTL’s founding principles and mission.

The PAC will keep members apprised about inclusion in Scopus and about other TLI developments. If you have questions or suggestions for us, please contact PAC chair, Pat Hutchings.

Thanks to PAC members Lauren Hays, Margy MacMillan, and Teboho Pitso for preparing this article.

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