You want to be part of the Limn superorganism. Here is what you need to know:
Limn is network of scholars and authors. We work together researching contemporary problems and concepts. It is not a traditional scholarly journal, but instead an experiment in collective, collaborative communication of ideas.
Limn organizes work around issues. This includes print and web publication as well as workshops, conferences, grant proposals, and all of the things that make up the work of scholarship today. Limn’s goal is to serve as an umbrella and outlet for this work — facilitating connections, providing a space for collaboration, and ultimately offering a publication platform that includes both an open access online version and beautifully designed print materials for sale and download. We are inside and outside the University at the same time, trying to find space for thought that is not overly driven by the demands, metrics, and career goals that dominate academia.
Limn does not take unsolicited submissions of articles. Instead we encourage collaborating researchers to propose a “research topic” organized clearly around a well-defined problem, and a preliminary list of proposed contributors. Together with members of the advisory committee, we help refine the ideas, identify potential contributors, provide advice, access to expertise, and a workflow for turning the ideas into great, short, well written, articles that bring a distinctive light to pressing contemporary problems.
Every issue is a collective effort. In order to preserve the flexibility to publish when we want, how we want, and with whom we want, we ask everyone to contribute something to the effort. We do not rely on the service of any large or small conventional publisher. We do not have a large staff of workers to serve authors’ needs, and we do not have a bottom line. In order to make it work, we rely on the in-kind support of scholars for everything from writing and editing to raising the funds needed to pay for design, copy-editing, print distribution, and whatever else we can or want to do.
Interested in proposing an issue? Here are some things to consider:
- Do you have a sharp, clear idea and a sense of scholars who are currently working on this topic? Is it matched by clear, public, interest in the topic, which you and your collaborators can recast or re-route in a new way? Is there space to do novel, collaborative “concept work” that pushes at the edges of contemporary scholarship in the social and human sciences? If so, you are closing in on a Limn project. If your project is merely a set of papers that once were presented at a conference, or a list of people threaded together along a clever theme, then we will probably push back and ask for something more interesting. If you come to us with a proposal that engages a contemporary problem from a variety of disciplinary and practical perspectives, we will probably be more interested than if you propose a project tied up in knots about a narrow discipline-specific theoretical debate.
- Have you designed a collaboration? Do you want scholars to interact around a topic in ways that will challenge everyone’s understanding, push on the limits of a concept, or create enlightening juxtapositions of research approaches and material? If so, then we can get behind it, and probably propose some interesting potential contributors and hopefully raise the stakes on what can be said about a topic.
- Are you working on a conference, a workshop, or a research proposal? We consider ourselves to be a research network first, and a publication second—if you have an idea that is already taking the form of a proposal or a conference, we welcome including Limn as part of that process: from consulting about a topic, to helping identify participants, to lending our support for dissemination and publication plans. The earlier you contact us about a project, the more we enjoy collaborating on it, and hopefully, the better the final outcome.
- Do you have any money? We rely on our collaborators to help raise money. The more money we raise for an issue, the more interesting things we can do— from innovative print or web presentations, to photography and design, to hosting workshops or issue launch events. We are not a commerical press, and none of the money we raise goes to Limn itself—only to the people whom we pay to do good work.
If it seems like you have a Limn idea, send us an email with a 1-2 page description, including details about the scope of the project and the stage you are at, how Limn might fit in with your plans, as well as your proposed contributors. We’ll circulate it to the editorial collective and get back to you ASAP.
A word on quality and beauty
Limn exists to make scholarship better, both in content and in form. Amidst the enthusiasm for new digital technologies and their liberating formal possibilities, Limn is more modest and traditional. We think form and content need to serve each other; scholarship is best improved by being tested and refined in collaboration with others. Peer review is better when it includes close, careful, honest, committed attention to detail and a generous, shared sense of responsibility for the writing and explanation that results. The form that this takes—whether online or in print—has to reflect that commitment and resposibility, which is why we include designers, design, copy-editing and editorial feedback as much as possible in all stages of our work. Often Limn is mistaken for an “art” publication—we accept the flattery, but really, our goal is simply to raise the bar on quality for academic research in the social and human sciences.