ElAnt v1n3 - EDITORIAL

Volume 1, Number 3
August 1993


We have had a number of requests for us to make specific our editorial policy. We had hoped that this might have been obvious from our very first editorial statement. For us to attempt to replicate the practices of print journals seems both foolish (not to say presumptuous - can there be two TAPhA's?), and ill-advised. The advantages of electronic publication, it seems to us, are above all those of speed and (to a lesser extent) size. Much of our policy flows from these two factors. We think that an excellent example of the possibilities of this electronic medium is offered by this month's Homeric debate between John Lenz and Barry Powell (see the file 'Obloquy').

This electronic medium has enabled us to air their differences in the month after Powell's original article appeared - and to air them without being restricted by space. We hope that other authors will avail themselves of this possibility.

Barry Powell has described his original article as a fat balloon. We believe that description best describes the sort of material that Electronic Antiquity should also carry. We all need tenure and we all need promotion post tenure - balloons may not suit all deans. But ought that to set the pace for what you write (at all times) and where you publish? Balloons run the risk of error. But they do stimulate debate. A careful, well documented article is usually conservative. It will get into a tolerable journal, cheer the author up, and be read by his or her friends and the journal's editors and referees. Thence it will disappear into the great sea of unread articles. It probably has no especial purchase on truth, nor does it provoke thought, nor does it advance the discipline. In the eye of a cynical beholder such an article's sole reason for being is career advancement. The speed offered by electronic publication, at least of the sort we practice, makes it ideal for provocative balloons - and counterblasts. We would sooner see something err on the side of being provocative, rather than suiting the dean. If it makes errors - well, they must be weighed against the ideas.

We are, therefore, reasonably non-interventionist in our editorial policy. We do often have our material read. But an illiberal policy of acceptance, while good maybe for contributors' CV 's (a dubious motive the best of times), does not necessarily encourage debate. Bloated balloons have a habit of stimulating debate.

One last point. Do we need to remind our readers that the term 'classical' oscillates between being used as a term of conservative cultural accreditation and, understandably, a swear-word? The term is easily confused with canonical and that with truth. Print based journals, especially those in classics, often seem subject to this confusion. Their articles, rather than being designed to stimulate or to enunciate provisionally the state of textual play, make an exaggerated claim upon truth and, worse still, confuse this truth with accurate proof reading. It is as if the criterion for the preservation of the texts of classical antiquity have been confounded with their exegesis and, indeed, with the dissemination of that research.

Again, we are pleased to acknowledge the generous assistance of the Information Technology Services at the University of Tasmania, which stores the journal and provides gopher and ftp access.

This month, however, we would also like to single out the particular assistance given us by Mrs. Annette Ince of the Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of New England.

Submission of contributions should be electronic, either e-mail or on disk (see the file 'Guidelines'). We prefer e-mail.

COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright remains with authors, but due reference should be made to this journal if any part of the above is later published elsewhere.

Electronic Antiquity Vol. 1 Issue 3 - August 1993
edited by Peter Toohey and Ian Worthington
ISSN 1320-3606