(June 24) Co-Editors Sheizaf Rafaeli and I recently announced the establishment of a new refereed scholarly journal, The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. JCMC is a joint project of the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, and the Information Systems Division of the School of Business Administration, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The journal seeks to publish original essays and research reports on such topics as interpersonal and group processes in communication networks, issues of economics, privacy and access in the developing information infrastructure, instructional communication in distance learning, computer-supported cooperative work, and organizational and social policy issues occasioned by the new medium.
JCMC will be distributed as a hypermedia document on the World Wide Web, and can also be accessed as plain text through gopher. Contributors will be able to include illustrative materials such as photographs, color graphics, sound clips, and short video clips, and as well to provide hyperlinks to related documents such as annotated bibliographies, archived data, and journals in cognate fields. Other features of the WWW version of JCMC will be a comments page for providing feedback on articles, and keyword searches of current and archived texts. To access JCMC via the Web, visit either of the welcome pages at USC or HUJ, or the USC gopher.
The motivation for launching the new journal was to provide a rigorously refereed, highly visible, central outlet for the publication of CMC scholarly work, which is currently scattered across a dozen disciplines and as many outlets. Planning for the journal was influenced by the phenomenal growth of the Internet generally and the WWW in particular. The growing size of the Web, the rapid diffusion of Web browsers like Mosaic, and the availability of user-friendly hyptertext editing tools present a clear opportunity to develop a new kind of scholarly publication, one which allows authors to exploit multiple modalities of communication and to ground their work in a matrix of related documents and sources.
Launching the journal presented few practical difficulties: support from The Annenberg School at USC and the School of Business Administration at HUJ was immediate and gratifying. Announcements posted to the net brought an initial flood of responses which temporarily strained the resources of the Editors, but ultimately resulted in a substantial mailing list of potential readers and contributors. The ongoing effort to construct the Editorial Board has to date met with similar success; JCMC has a diverse board of top scholars, representing a number of disciplines including communication, computer science, psychology, information technology, business administration, sociology, and international relations.
The Editors expect that the initial issue of JCMC will make its debut in November of 1994 and plan to issue it quarterly in February, May, August, and November of each year. Plans are in the works for a number of special issues, on such topics as commerce on the Internet; play and performance in CMC; publishing on the network; and new technologies for institutional collaborations.
Margaret L McLaughlin (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is Professor of Communication, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California.