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On generous scholarship

Over a decade ago, the Canadian academic, Connie Russell, wrote about ‘generous scholarship’, an umbrella term that includes using appropriate citation methods, acknowledging how other people’s ideas have influenced your own, writing peer reviews that are not gratuitously negative, and giving praise to other colleagues when it is due (Russell, 2006). I would like to use this editorial to discuss the generous scholarship that characterises the workings of this journal.

In his editorial in Issue 1, the Director of the Science Museum Group (SMG), Ian Blatchford explained the purpose of the SMGJ as follows:

We are proud of our growing body of research and here we will freely share it, but we also invite original work from others working in museums and universities across the world, knowing that new thinking, discussion and debate will nudge us all into greater creativity.

The Science Museum Group Journal (SMGJ) is an open-access forum that publishes, electronically, peer-reviewed contributions from scholars whose work is related to the collections and practices of the international science museum community. Authors get no remuneration for their papers and the Journal’s relatively new appearance on the block means that they won’t get much academic credit either in places where Impact Factors and citations count for promotion and status. Likewise, the peer reviewers and the editorial board, which I have the pleasure of chairing. And yet the SMGJ is thriving – the number of readers continues to rise, high quality contributions come in from around the world and the original aim, to provide ‘an innovative voice in discussions worldwide about science and its history, material culture, communication, display and presentation in museums’ is increasingly being realised. This generosity of scholarship in the current academic climate would not be possible without the equally generous support from the SMG.

So, where next? Generous scholarship also involves building on ideas and collaborating. SMGJ will seek to encourage papers from collaborations in the field. We also aim to diversify our engagement with readers beyond the usual words and pictures. We hope to include more links to sound archives and use the immersive 3D photography technology. We also hope to experiment with more interactive dialogue and discussion. The Journal is open to ideas and encourages generous scholarship from its readership. We seek new thinking, discussion and debate which we know ‘will nudge us all into greater creativity’.

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Component DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15180/170801/001