REPORT OF THE EDITORIAL COMMITTEE OF ACTA CLASSICA

FOR THE PERIOD 2003-2005

 

1. Editorial Board

 

The members of the Editorial Board for the period were:

Prof. W.J. Henderson (UJ), Managing Editor

Prof. J.C. Thom (US), Chairperson of CASA, ex officio

Prof. G.J. Mader (UNISA), Treasurer

Dr Martine de Marre (UNISA), Secretary

Prof. Louise Cilliers (UFS), Additional Member

Prof. R.A. Whitaker (UCT), Additional Member

The Editorial Committee conducted all business by e-mail.

 

2. Articles

 

The policy of preserving the status of the journal as an international academic publication is still being maintained (see par. 3.3 and 3.4). All articles submitted for publication are sent to one internal and one external referee, while notes are refereed by two local scholars, if available (decision of CASA Business Meeting, 24 January 1989).

 

Submitted articles continue to be processed mainly by e-mail. The procedure is as follows:

1.      Articles are received by e-mail, sometimes followed (especially if Greek is involved) by a printed copy and disk.

2.      The mss are forwarded to the two referees, normally by e-mail.

3.      Reports are received and forwarded to the author, with an assessment and, if publication has been recommended, a request for revision and a final version.

4.      The final version is then formatted and any further corrections made or points clarified.

5.      The print-ready text is usually also sent by e-mail to the author for final checking, but a printed version is sent where Greek is involved or there are other considerations.

6.      A print-ready copy (title page, contents and first and last pages) of the final text, with correct pagination, is sent to all local contributors for subsidy purposes.

 

Articles have again come from various parts of the world: the USA, the UK, and Australia. The assistance of local and foreign referees is gratefully acknowledged: their input is indispensable for maintaining high standards and helping the authors. The external referees each receive a letter of thanks and a free copy of the volume of Acta Classica in which the article they refereed appears. The necessity of the system is proven by the fact that no article was published without revision. Only the Keynote Address and the Chairperson’s address were not refereed.

 

In accordance with a decision by the Editorial Board and Executive Committee, the size of the volume has been limited to about 150-200 pages. The size of the font has been reduced, the number of volumes printed reduced to 410, the number of off-prints for authors reduced to 10. The editing and lay-out are done internally. The final text of the volume is saved on to disk and taken to the printers in Pretoria, where the full process of production is discussed and problems ironed out. The text is printed straight on to transparent sheets for the printing. Needless to say, the new system has brought about large savings in production costs. The know-how thus developed is easily transferable to anyone who is computer-literate.

 

The use of Abstracts at the head of articles has been maintained, especially in view of the new developments (see par. 3.3 and 3.4).

 

Acta Classica Vol. XLVI (2003) contained an obituary, the Keynote Address, the Chairperson’s address, 3 articles (2 local, 1 foreign), 3 notes (1 local, 2 foreign), 1 review and 18 pages of summaries of conference papers– a total of 154 pages.

 

Vol. XLVII (2004) contained 8 articles (5 local, 3 foreign), 2 notes (foreign), and 3 reviews – a total of 172 pages.

 

In 2003 the Editorial Board received a motivated request for the next volume of Acta Classica (XLVIII) to be dedicated to Prof. John Atkinson. Since it was to be a normal volume of Acta Classica, all articles were to be subject to refereeing. After approval from the Executive Committee and assent from Prof. Atkinson (cf. Constitution 1 Acta Classica (c)), a general invitation was sent by e-mail to all South African colleagues and a number of overseas colleagues in April 2004, and as a reminder again in March 2005.

 

The honour must not be lightly bestowed, yet needs, perhaps, to be used more often. Persons so honoured have been Haarhoff (1958), Petrie (1959), Rollo (1960, posthumously), Naudé (1977), Gonin (1981) and Vogel (1999, posthumously); a further tribute was paid to Petrie in 1974. Among the advantages of such a volume are that the articles generate subsidy, the journal gains added prestige and circulation, and attracts foreign contributors.

 

3. Developments

 

3.1 Department of Education Journal Database

 

On 14 October 2003 the Minister of Education gazetted the new Policy for the Measurement of Research Output of Public Higher Education Institutions. The policy came into effect on 1 January 2005. Acta Classica is among the periodicals listed for subsidy. To remain there, the editor was required to submit information on the journal by 31 May 2004.

A copy is attached.

 

3.2 Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) Survey

 

On 4 February 2005 a request was received from ASSAf, on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology and in collaboration with the Department of Education, to complete and submit a survey for Acta Classica by 25 February 2005. The purpose is “to refine the criteria for accreditation of South African research journals in terms of their usefulness in quantifying research outputs of institutions and awarding subsidy under the gazetted policy.” The information was also intended to update data on journals for the Thomson ISI or IBSS databases, and “for a data base or registry of South African research journals that is amenable to analysis and evaluation within the context of the National System of Innovation (NSI) …” The request was complied with.

A copy is attached.

 

3.3 Sabinet

 

Acta Classica is now available in electronic (PDF) format on Sabinet. This gives our journal wider international access. The Licence Agreement between CASA and Sabinet On Line was signed on behalf of CASA by Prof. Atkinson. Subscribers pay the price of a hard copy ($40) or purchase ad hoc copies of articles. Revenue has already been generated for the journal.

A copy of the Agreement is attached.

 

3.4 ProQuest Information and Learning Services

 

On 17 February 2005 the editor was approached for electronic rights to Acta Classica by the above organisation. ProQuest (to quote from the e-mail communication) is “an electronic publisher of databases to the global academic, government, public library and schools market. Founded as UMI in 1938, (it) is a powerful brand name with a customer base of over 20 000 library customers worldwide… partnerships with over 9000 publishers to date.” The products offered are, among others: current electronic journals service (including ABI Inform and ProQuest Medical Library), archival products (e.g. PCI Full-Text, APS, online course-packs).

 

The advantages for Acta Classica are worldwide accessibility, revenue and copyright compliance. This system does not conflict with Sabinet, as it provides PCI full-text. After due consideration, it was decided to accept this offer. They already have the back-numbers from 1958-1992, and we have undertaken to send them the rest.

A copy of the Agreement is attached.

 

4. Thanks

 

On behalf of the Editorial Committee I wish to thank the following:

1.      All the scholars who have contributed to the two volumes published in this period.

2.      All the referees who willingly offered their expertise and knowledge to ensure the quality of the journal.

3.      The additional members of the Editorial Board for their input.

4.      The secretariat and staff of the Department of Classics at Unisa for compiling the list of exchange periodicals, and for handling the postage of manuscripts and the distribution of Acta Classica.

5.      Unisa’s library for managing the exchange periodicals.

 

As I have decided not to stand for re-election as Managing Editor, I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the Association for the confidence placed in me to manage Acta Classica for the past eight years. It has been an honour and privilege to serve the Association and its researchers in this capacity. Since Vol. XLVIII (2005) is midway through production, I am willing to assist the new Managing Editor as Co-Editor to see it through to publication.

 

……………………….

W.J. Henderson

Managing Editor