This issue of Ethnologia Europaea presents an exciting and timely themed section on “Brexit Matters” which discusses the departure of the UK from the EU in a comparative mode. Brexit “matters” in many ways, as the contributions to this section show by considering from an ethnographic perspective previous “exits” or disintegration processes in the ongoing history of European ruptures, thereby contextualizing and historicizing current developments in the UK. Please see the guest editor’s introduction for a more detailed discussion.
This editorial has to address another exit: With this issue, Marie Sandberg and Monique Scheer are stepping down as editors-in-chief of Ethnologia Europaea. Marie Sandberg entered EE as editor in 2013, taking over from Prof. emeritus Orvar Löfgren who had been co-editing the journal with Prof. Regina Bendix since 2006. Marie Sandberg and Regina Bendix co-edited the journal until 2016, when Monique Scheer volunteered to step in as a new co-editor. Both of us have decided it is time to move on to other academic roles and allow the journal to be led by a new team. We are delighted to announce that from 2021, Prof. Laura Stark, University of Jyväskylä, and Prof. Alexandra Schwell, University of Klagenfurt, will be the new editors-in-chief.
This transition calls for a few reflections on the past eight years of this journal’s trajectory, which included three major milestones: a new partnership, a birthday celebration, and a golden publication model (fully digital and OA) hosted by the Open Library of Humanities.
In 2015, a new cooperation was (re)instantiated between SIEF and EE, on the initiative of then President of SIEF, Valdimar Hafstein, and then Vice President, Peter Jan Margry. After much communication and several meetings in Copenhagen, we decided it was time to get past the historical struggles between SIEF and EE (Rogan 2008) and mark EE officially as SIEF’s flagship journal. By joining forces, both the journal and the society could become stronger and more sustainable. It is not least due to this cooperation that EE is in safe hands, even after moving to a non-subscription publication model.
After all, 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of EE’s very first issue in 1967, making it one of the longest-running international journals in our field (established 1966). This was celebrated with a “reader’s choice” issue, in which each decade of EE’s existence was documented by an article selected by colleagues who found them particularly inspiring and representative of the journal. Announced and presented at the SIEF conference in Göttingen that year, this was indeed a celebratory moment for EE.
In 2019, EE entered the world of open access, a move which, from the outside, perhaps seems rather straightforward. Yet seen from perspective of the EE “engine room” and in the early phases of open access publishing, it was a risky undertaking. The migration required many careful considerations and there were a number of difficult decisions to make. The world of open access is not purely golden; one could end up in the hands of predatory publishers, putting prohibitive APCs (Article Processing Charge) on the authors themselves, or conversely, lose so much revenue that costs could no longer be covered, threatening the journal’s existence. Would going digital result in more visibility for the journal, or would it simply drown in the ocean of easily accessible online material? In light of such concerns, we are more than thrilled by the fact that EE has found a new home at the Open Library of Humanities, a 100% non-profit publisher who has pioneered a sustainable model based on contributions by university libraries and who would never dream of capitalizing on our authors’ work. Thanks to continued funding from NOP-HS and the support from SIEF member dues, EE can maintain its high quality in the production process, which hinges on the extraordinary excellence of our production manager, Magdalena Tellenbach. That we could keep EE’s signature image with its colourful front covers and its graphic identity, so skilfully renewed for the digital format by Pernille Sys Hansen, Damp Design, added to our satisfaction. Last but not least, the careful scanning of all EE back issues with the help of the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam and the Ludwig Uhland Institute in Tübingen is priceless and has indeed helped preserve a sustainable archive of EE for the future.
Now it is the time to pass the journal on to new hands, as we are convinced that it will profit from the renewed vigour that comes with new leadership. We like to think of EE as a lively locus of exchange, gathering material and ethnographically informed insights from all (im)possible corners of our fields. That our pipeline is continually filled with highly varied and innovative article submissions and special issue proposals bears witness to the rich diversity and creativity within our fields.
We leave the journal now, extremely happy with its current state, and rest assured that the new editorial team will continue taking EE to new heights.
Marie Sandberg and Monique Scheer
Rogan, Bjarne 2008: The Troubled Past of European Ethnology: SIEF and International Cooperation from Prague to Derry. Ethnologia Europaea 38(1): 66–78. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1036.