You can’t really call a really fun online conference, but it’s easy. You don’t need to search for hours when booking. com for hotel rooms that match the department’s budget, you never miss your connection due to a delayed train and you can’t get lost looking for a.3.62 meeting room or a ‘blue green’ room.
No, you watch (and give) all the lectures at home, behind your own laptop. I can’t get near. Yet over the past year and a half, I have barely managed to attend lectures given by colleagues. Attending a conference at home is easy, but it also has a downside: you may be “at a conference”, but you are still very accessible to colleagues, children, and other disruptors.
When I’m in Lisbon for a week, I don’t commute on Wednesday afternoons to resume a conference. But when I’m just at home, I don’t say no when a coworker asks for help. At conferences elsewhere, I like to go to the conference dinner, but at home I don’t shout that I’m not eating because I’m in a virtual beverage room.
So I should have known that it wouldn’t work. I had an online conference on Friday. If I had to leave the house, I would have arranged a babysitter, because Friday is my toddler’s day. But now I thought: the only talk I really want to hear is during the afternoon nap, no problem. Anyway – temper tantrum, poop diaper, lost pacifier, hug out of bed, in short: five minutes before the end of the conference, I was sitting in front of my computer and so late that I didn’t even dare not go online.
Not in perfect English? Then the part will be returned immediately
And so I missed something that interested me a lot: the presentation of the new medico-historical journal European journal of the history of medicine and health (EHMH).
Now the new magazines are really the last thing we need. There are already more publications than we can read, and one more magazine just adds to the endless stream of articles.
Still, I’m glad the EHMH is coming. It is a magazine with a mission: more space for the history of non-English speaking countries. Great Britain and the United States are rather over-represented in today’s historical journals. An important reason for this is the predominance of English. Scientists speak and write mainly in English. It is useful for understanding each other. But it also gives more importance to everything that comes from English-speaking countries, while the history of England is not necessarily more interesting than that of Romania, Hungary or Italy.
But because British and American historians write in English, their history has become the norm. Historians from other countries constantly have to explain why their history would be so interesting. And it must also be in perfect English. Because an article with language errors or crooked wording is immediately returned by most English language magazines to the author, with the task of getting the article properly edited first. There is often no money for this in less wealthy countries (just like, by the way, in rich and dirty countries which continue to downsize their universities every third Tuesday in September).
The author thus reaches a large audience
The refreshing solution of the EHMH: researchers can submit articles in all European languages. A great way, of course, to ensure that all European countries are actually covered in the magazine. It is only after a first review that the article will be translated into English. It will therefore be published in English after further evaluation. With an abstract in two languages, and, optionally, the full manuscript in the original language, on the website. In this way, the author reaches a wide audience, national and international, while he can simply write in his mother tongue.
Having your cake and eating it: it’s still possible.
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