1. About our work
With an alternative approach to conventional publishing Contextual Alternate aims to generate scholarship and critical discourse – broadly, but not exclusively, in Asian and African contexts – across the fields of design, material culture, print, communication, technology and history at large. Drawing on a multiplicity of critical outlooks and exploring larger themes than are usually acknowledged within discrete disciplinary boundaries, it aims to address a diverse readership through more accessible modes of critical engagement.
Contextual Alternate publishes books and runs an eponymous journal, online and in print. Appearing once every year in print, and periodically online, each yearly issue is broadly framed around particular themes. All articles for the journal are originally commissioned and follow a double-blind review process. Envisioned as an avenue for constructive dialogue across a wide range of critical concerns, the journal aims to open new directions of enquiry and to function as a place for informed debates and conversations that pave the way for further research and collaboration.
Contextual Alternate is an independent publishing initiative. It is subsidised by and run within the means of its publisher, and it sustains entirely on the support of its readers and subscribers.
2. Guidelines and requirements
Journal articles must be a minimum of 5000 words in length (not including notes, references, bibliography etc). There is no strict upper limit, it may be whatever the author thinks necessary for the argument, or for the subject under consideration. However, articles over 15000 words may be divided over multiple issues. An abstract of 100 words or less and a biographical note of 150–200 words is also required along with the article.
Articles must be in English, and should be submitted as text documents by email to the contact address provided in Annexure-1. No special formatting is demanded of the author, however all articles will be edited, where required, to follow Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA) style guide. (http://www.mhra.org.uk/Publications/Books/StyleGuide/StyleGuideV3_2.pdf)
Authors should use footnotes/endnotes to any extent that suits their purpose. Where quotations are used or reference is made to any published material, full citation and bibliographic information must be provided following MHRA style. The text of article should not use the Author-Date system, references should be added as notes only.
Authors are encouraged to make use of images and visual material, and discuss the possibilities of the same with us. Please be aware that it is not possible for us to pay for image permissions with substantial fees but we may be able to cover some costs where the illustrations make a significant difference to the content of the article. In other cases, images and illustrations of our own may accompany the text, and we may also have to reconfigure those supplied by the author in keeping with the overall design.
The journal aims for intellectually engaging, non-academic style of writing, while maintaining full academic rigour and thoroughness. It aims to address a broad cross-disciplinary as well as non-academic readership. The text of the article should, therefore, use as few discipline-specific/technical terms as possible, and provide full explanations for a non-specialist reader if such terms are used. The intent is not to limit complexity of ideas but to provide intellectually challenging content in terms that can engage a broad section of the literate public.
The journal aims for wide-ranging analysis and critical inquiry. We are interested in sharp reasoning, informed arguments, fresh perspectives, and a light touch, preferring rational doubt and dissent over statements of belief or tenets of any one discipline.
3. Copyright and publishing agreement
Once an article is accepted for publication, a one-time honorarium for it will be paid within 30 days of the final acceptance for publication. [See Annexure-1 for details.] The honorarium is limited to £200 (GBP two hundred only) for one article, irrespective of the number of authors/co-authors. This payment will not take into account exchange rates, transfer rates, bank charges, or currency fluctuations. Payment is not based on length of articles, or any other factors, but is a lump-sum honorarium in good faith, in appreciation of the authors’ work. Payment is made directly to the authors’ account. Two copies of the relevant journal issue are also sent gratis to authors.
The authors retain copyright for their articles. The authors give Contextual Alternate full permission to publish their article/s in any form. Additionally, for the duration of two years from the date of publication the author/s agree not to publish the same article or a derivative or modified version elsewhere, online or in print, whether through his/her/their own platform/blog/website or through a third party publisher.
The author/s certify that the submitted article is not under review elsewhere and has not previously been published in part or whole. Any subsequent appearances of the article after the two-year period of exclusivity (see 3.2 above) must cite and carry full acknowledgement of the article’s first publication by Contextual Alternate.
The author grants Contextual Alternate the right to publish, print, and reprint the commissioned article in any form, in a compendium, anthology, or collection deriving from its journal. Contextual Alternate may publish the article within the context of its journal, online and in print, or on its own elsewhere by permission of the author.
All articles for the journal are specifically commissioned by Contextual Alternate and must be the author’s own work. The author certifies that the article is his/her heretofore unpublished original work and that no material utilised therein infringes the rights of any third parties. The responsibility for ensuring this lies with the author, Contextual Alternate will not be held responsible for any copyright infringements in the author’s work. The author hereby indemnifies Contextual Alternate from any and all liabilities and disputes arising from copyright related issues in his/her work.
The author has read and agrees to the above terms.
A.1 • HOW TO SUBMIT
Submissions made to our journal must not be under review elsewhere and must not have been previously published in part or whole. Articles should be submitted in their full form, as intended for publication, by email to: v[at]contextualternate[dot]com. All submissions should cover the requirements outlined in Section 2 above [Guidelines and requirements]. Images are not required to be submitted at this stage and only their titles or captions can be indicated.
A.2 • WHAT TO SUBMIT
We will accept manuscripts of the proposed articles only as editable text documents. Please send files in one of the following formats: doc, docx, pages, rtf, txt. A pdf file should be attached for comparison, especially where the text of the submission uses non-English characters. For a general sense of our areas of interest and to see what kind of work we usually publish, please read the material available on our website and see previous issues of the journal. We are broadly interested in areas outlined in Section 1.1 of this document. We are open to proposals that expand or reinterpret any of these definitions, though our current focus is print and material cultures in Asian and African contexts.
A.3 • RECEIPT and ACCEPTANCE
We will acknowledge receipt of all submissions within one week’s time and ask for missing details and clarifications, where necessary. The submission is then forwarded for a preliminary editorial review to determine if it will be of interest to our journal. All submissions are treated confidentially and anonymised before review.
We respond within one month’s time from the date of submission to confirm if your submission is suitable for our journal or if it falls outside our scope or current interests. We may also respond within this timeframe to let you know that we are unable to accept your submission on other grounds, such as quality expectations, language or style, research focus etc.
If your submission is accepted, we will ask you to review our terms, sign, scan, and send us the agreement document above [Section 3] and commit to the double-blind review process.
A.4 • DOUBLE-BLIND REVIEW
Please note that the double-blind review process can take up a considerable amount of time: 3–6 months. Authors should be aware that it is very likely that the original submission will require revision following this review. We engage a minimum of four referees to make sure the proposed articles address a wide and interdisciplinary readership, while conforming to high standards of research and scholarship.
Once we receive reviews of your submission from the referees, we will send you a document with consolidated, anonymised, and specific feedback on the submission. This is usually sent as a pdf document with highlighted parts and comments. We will ask you to revise your proposed article and respond briefly to all comments and suggestions made by the referees. Revisions suggested may be minor or considerable depending on the manuscript under review.
We anticipate no more than two months for these revisions to be made by the author. The revised version of the proposed article will then need to be resubmitted to us and it will be reviewed once again to check if the referees are satisfied. Final image files of specified quality for use in the journal will also need to be supplied by the author at this stage. The manuscript will then be edited for style and copy-edited before we send you a proof for your approval.
A.5 • FINAL ACCEPTANCE AND PUBLICATION
The final acceptance of the proposed article is considered to be the submission of the revised manuscript incorporating the feedback of the referees following the double-blind review. At this point Contextual Alternate will pay the author’s honorarium.
Please note that our journal appears annually. Final acceptance means that your article will appear in the volume that is practically most convenient in terms of our printing and publishing cycles. This may or may not be the immediate next volume of the journal depending on the time of the final acceptance of an article. All decisions about the volume in which an article is placed, the design and layout, and the timing of the journal and the article’s appearance will rest entirely with Contextual Alternate.