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Paper, paper, paper...

Last week, the CALYX editors gathered around my kitchen table eating almonds while we discussed an important question: Should CALYX Journal switch to accepting electronic submissions through an online submission manager, or should we stick with the good ol’ fashioned SASE system?

Here are some of the questions that were on our mind as our discussion blossomed:

How will the change affect our accessibility to writers from diverse groups?

Despite the ever-growing influence of technology in our lives, many women today continue to lack regular access to the internet or may face circumstances which do not allow them to get online frequently. There are also many women who cannot afford the costs of postage, printing, and paper which our regular submission process requires. In order to be sensitive to both of these limitations (and therefore be accessible as a journal to more women), we have decided to remain open for both paper submissions and electronic submissions for the coming year.

How will electronic submissions influence the amount of submissions that we receive?

We anticipate that opening to electronic submissions will greatly increase the amount of work that we receive. In 2009, we received around 1200 submissions. Last year, it was down to 950. We’re hoping that accepting online submissions will turn this trend around and we’ll see work from many new writers–and many writers who have never submitted to us in the past.

How will electronic submissions affect us around the office?

Last year, our paper submissions process produced approximately 125 lbs of paper that are in boxes around our office (see photo). We’re hoping that moving to electronic subs will help us reduce clutter and paper waste. We’re also hoping that it will save us some time and speed up our response time back to our writers.

How will electronic submissions affect our reading process?

While the change will affect the way that our volunteer readers and editors literally read manuscripts (Retired Senior Editor Beverly McFarland loves to read out on her back porch in the sunshine), it will not affect the integrity of our decision-making process and the care with which our editors read each piece of writing. We will continue to practice collective decision-making and every submission will still be read by at least 2 different readers before it’s presented to the editorial collective.

Are we excited?

Yes, yes, yes. What a great change. We’re all on board, and we look forward to seeing your work in our system when we open for submissions on October 1.

Read our editorial guidelines and find our online submission manager here: http://www.calyxpress.org/submission.html