Editorial: Seven Years and Counting
School of Humanities and Social Science, University of Newcastle, NSW
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Evolution and Technology
Journal of Evolution and Technology - Vol. 25 Issue 2 – September 2015 - pgs 1-2
In January 2008, I was honored to be appointed as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Evolution and Technology. In December of that year, we published an editorial in which I set out some reflections on JETÕs illustrious past and my vision for its future. Seven years later, I am still in the editorial chair, and IÕm pleased with what weÕve been able to accomplish so far.
We have published thirteen issues on my watch – this will be the fourteenth – all of them substantial. These include our regular issues and several special issues that cover such varied topics as machine intelligence, nonhuman personhood, Friedrich Nietzsche and European posthumanist thought, and the implications of technological unemployment. I owe thanks to all of the guest editors, peer reviewers, and others who have helped to make it possible. This notably includes staff and associated scholars at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), which has been JETÕs publisher since 2004. My particular thanks go to Marcelo Rinesi (our efficient managing editor) and James Hughes (in his roles as associate editor, immediate past editor-in-chief, and executive director of IEET).
There is, of course, always room for improvement, and I hope that we can take the journal to even higher levels of quality and relevance in the coming years.
Our remit includes all manner of topics relating to the human, or posthuman, future. When JET was founded in 1998 (by Nick Bostrom and David Pearce) the intent was, as described elsewhere on our website, to provide a home for academically legitimate research on topics that many existing journals would Ōshun as too speculative, radical, or interdisciplinary.Ķ The articles published herein are not always contributed by scholars and scientists currently working within universities, but that is the default expectation. Irrespective of their authorship, contributions must meet standards of rigor, scholarship, and originality similar to those of well-established academic journals.
We continue to focus on an idea that has become familiar and plausible in recent decades, though still controversial. In its essence, the idea is that our species, Homo sapiens, is about to commence – or perhaps has already commenced – a new form of evolution. Unlike the mechanisms of change, diversification, and speciation studied by evolutionary biologists, this is driven by emerging technologies with the potential to alter human capacities. The idea merits careful consideration from many scholarly and scientific viewpoints, including cautious, unsympathetic, or skeptical ones.
An advantage of submitting to JET is that we generally publish articles as they are received, peer-reviewed, and edited. We need not wait to compile a complete issue, and this allows a relatively quick turnaround from submission to publication. When we do experience publishing delays, they are usually during the period between submission and acceptance. Once an article is accepted for publication, perhaps after revisions, it is typically published on the site within a week or two.
In my December 2008 editorial, I found myself apologizing for a backlog of articles that were then under consideration. We succeeded in clearing this at the time, but the situation has waxed and waned in the following seven years, and unfortunately we now find ourselves with a backlog that has grown quite large.
That is partly because of the challenges in editing such an interdisciplinary journal, where we need to identify and obtain expert advice from a range of disciplines. It is also, in part, because of other responsibilities affecting my own life, combined with our rather stretched resources for coping with the volume of submissions currently being received. In an effort to catch up, we have decided to close for submissions until the end of 2015. All articles that were received by the end of August 2015 are under active consideration, but some authors who were planning to submit material to us soon might want to try other journals first.
When we reopen for submissions at the beginning of 2016, we expect to be up to date. We will, of course, continue to welcome high-quality work that fits within the journalÕs purpose. Meanwhile, the current issue, 25(2), will take shape between now and the end of 2015. Over the next few months, we will produce another substantial and engaging issue from material currently in editing or under consideration.