Because the missions of the American Democracy Project and Missouri State University focus on civic education and engagement, it seemed natural for the ADP to partner with MSU to publish an academic journal focusing on public scholarship. The eJournal of Public Affairs seeks to advance academic discussions arising out of attempts by universities to democratize their curricula and research programs. In practice, this means that the journal will emphasize citizenship, especially the capacity to solve problems across different value sets; teaching and learning about citizenship; and descriptions, analyses, and assessments of partnerships between universities and agencies within civil society that advance a public good.
The new journal will be distributed on the Internet, freeing it from the constraints of paper and subscriptions. The journal will publish traditional articles, book reviews, letters, as well as a wide range of multimedia objects constructed by artists and designers arising out of civic-engagement projects. Moreover, the journal, subsidized by Missouri State University, will be free to readers and available without going through a pay wall. Each article will include opportunities for electronic moderated discussion allowing free interchange among authors and readers.
The eJournal of Public Affairs will publish one virtual volume each year. The editors will submit each manuscript we receive to double-blind peer review by disciplinary experts. As the editors accept and post articles, new issues will be created. We expect that normal issues will consist of three to seven items and associated material.
As we inaugurate the new journal, the editors and editorial board are aware that this year, 2012, is the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act. This legislation not only created land-grant universities, but it also focused higher education on the needs of the “industrial classes” and on the disciplines required to solve civic problems. Though our society is far more complex and technologically sophisticated than that of Justin Smith Morrill, our aims are much the same as his. It is our hope that the eJournal of Public Affairs will support and deepen Morrill’s vision of a democratic and civically engaged system of higher education. We enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to facilitate the sharing of public scholarship among scholars, artists, community partners, and the public at large.