One year "interface", a self-review

Issue 4 (Autumn 2017), pp. 1-6

DOI: 10.6667/interface.4.2017.49


Editorial: One year interface, a self-review

Vassilis Vagios

National Taiwan University


As with the current issue of interface we enter the second year of its publication, we thought that it might be a good opportunity to take stock of the state of our journal up to this point; a kind of review of what we set out to achieve, what do we think we have we actually achieved, and in which areas we still need to improve.

Although the words to express it can appear to be complicated, in our minds our purpose was always very simple: we set out to establish a journal that would be inter/multi/trans-disciplinary (but for now on, for the sake of simplicity, we will call this nexus of scholarly concepts as simply interdisciplinary), and at the same time multi-lingual. As a journal we set out provide the opportunity for scholars that traditional academia would divide into separate departments (German, French, Spanish, Russian, Classics, etc.) to address their work across and beyond the walls of this divide. At the same time, we also rejected the idea of setting up a divide between Literary Studies and Language Studies, preferring instead to see these concepts as the terminal points in a continuum of Studying Discourse. Furthermore, we also refused to circumscribe the work to be welcome in interface by adjectives such as “theoretical” and “applied”; actually even the one boundary we initially felt that we would insist on, (namely, to accept only papers that deal with some manifestation of language), eventually it appeared to us to be still part of a continuum, since language is just one of the semiotic systems producing meaning in human life. Consequently, we decided to relax it in the case of special topic issues. Finally, we set English as a lingua franca, but we also recognized that some of the people who have very interesting things to tell us, might not necessarily express themselves best in English (especially, as being located in East Asia, for very many of us English is a third or fourth language), and so we offered from the very beginning the opportunity for those who wish it to publish in German, French, Spanish or Russian also. Actually, since then our resources have increased, and starting from Issue 5, we will also accept papers in Italian.

Our offer to accept papers in other languages apart from English, so far has not been taken up by the community. So with the exception of a book review in Issue 2 and another one that appears in this issue, all other submissions we have received so far have all been in English. We are not sure whether this is because our colleagues do not need this facility, or because they are not aware that the facility exists. However, we intend to continue offering it and publicize it for the foreseeable future.

Nevertheless, in other respects the offers we made to the scholarly community has been embraced in a way that we have found very satisfactory. The vast majority of the papers that appeared in interface either straddle traditional academic boundaries, or have strong relevance for fields beyond the field of their origin. Just as an indicative example one could mention the paper by Roberval Teixeira E Silva in Issue 1 regarding “silence in classroom”. Written within the context of teaching Portuguese in Macao, it offers insights to anyone who is interested in teaching methodologies in any filed in most East Asian educational systems. Again, the article by Ihmku Kim in Issue 3 has a very strong theoretical orientation, but this theoretical orientation is very much concerned with the actual practice of the interpretation of literature. An example of movement in the opposite direction, from practice to theory, is provided by the article by Beatrice Cabau in Issue 1, when starting with the description of the application of a CLIL programme for teaching French she formulates important observations regarding the theory behind CLIL (which, not surprisingly, have repercussions for any language programme, not just French). Indeed, with the exceptions of the papers by I-Kai Jeng and Shunichiro Yoshida in Issue 2, none of the other ten papers we published in the first three issues of interface could easily be placed in any particular category; as for these two papers that could be placed squarely to the discourses of European Philosophy and Latin Literature respectively, an open-minded reader could still use them easily as stimulus towards investigation on issues with which superficially they may appear unrelated (e.g. the paper on Latin could be significant for research on the relevance of totalitarian/oppressive regimes to the development of metaphorical narratives/ways of expression).

Apart from the content targets, we also set qualitative targets: we wanted the articles we publish would be of high quality and that they would be recognized as such by the international scholarly community. So we made sure that during the double-blind peer review process we engage scholars that have demonstrated expertise on the topics dealt by our authors. Furthermore, thanks to the generous funding from National Taiwan University, we offer each and every reviewer an honorarium as an act of appreciation for devoting valuable time to the papers under consideration. Finally, we try to involve in the review process as many reviewers from outside Taiwan as possible, so that we ensure that our standards remain in contact with general international standards, and we feel particularly happy that of the 52 reviewers from whose services we benefited, 20 are located in 12 countries abroad (full details of the location and the nationality of the reviewers that co-operatedd with interface are given in Table 1). As a result of the high standards we set, and despite the fact that we do not try to achieve any particular rejection rate, we did not feel able to publish 15 of the 27 (i.e., around 56%) papers that were submitted to us.

interface, Issues 1-3
by Location
by Nationality
Taiwan 32 24
Hong Kong 1 1
Germany 4 6
Russia 3
Spain 1
USA 2 6
Japan 3 3
Korea 3 3
Italy 1 1
Portugal 1 1
UK 1 1
Singapore 1
Australia 1
Czechia 1 2
Thailand 1
Egypt 1

Total 52 52
Table 1: Location and Nationality of interface reviewers

Of course internationalization of a journal does not only mean a great amount of international reviewers; it also means a great amount of international authors. Here too, we feel happy by the rate of acceptance of the community: the papers we received were submitted by colleagues working in 8 countries and belonging to 11 nationalities (full details of the location and the nationality of the authors that submitted papers to interface, as well as of the authors whose papers we accepted for publication are given in Table 2).

interface, Issues 1-3
by Location
by Nationality
Submitted Accepted Submitted Accepted
Taiwan 12 774
Hong Kong 3 11
Macao 3 1
France 11
Germany 0 044
Brazil 11
Russia 1 2
Spain 1 2
Japan 3 131
Korea 3 131
Portugal 20
Sweden 10
Egypt 1 1
China 1

Total 27 12 27 12
Table 2: Location and Nationality of interface authors

We, the people working for interface, would like to thank the community for their warm embrace of our project and we will continue to strive towards maintaining the high standards of this publication. It seems that for the foreseeable future interface has settled in a pattern of issues alternating between general content and special topics. We have already announced that the topic of the fifth issue will be “Refugees and Exiles in European Languages and Literatures” , and the sixth issue will be a general issue; in the meanwhile, we are close to deciding a special topic for issue seven which we will announce in January. Furthermore, we are working towards expanding the international links of interface and we hope that we will be able to co-operate with more people from more countries in the very near future.

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