The first annual cycle of Res Militaris publications is coming to a close. What lessons are to be drawn from the experience gained over three issues ? Firstly, no doubt, that its viability has been demonstrated. The flow of quality manuscripts is enough to feed it, and there is reason to believe that the number of submissions will increase as the journal's reputation solidifies and grows. To boot, website traffic statistics over ten months reveal some few thousand unique visitors per month (the next issue's editorial will offer detailed figures over a full year on that score). Those readers who have requested e-mail alerts when the next issue comes out seem equally shared - if indeed they can be categorized into two neatly differentiated groups based on e-mail addresses alone - between Francophones and Anglophones (the latter in fact including a wide spectrum of countries of origin or residence).
Secondly, has the journal lived up to its declared ideals and initial hopes ? Its first year shows some slight imbalance in the supply of reading material between the two languages, whatever the criterion used : still probably reflecting the national origin of its founders, French represents 60% of entries and some 63% of the pages published in the first three issues. A breakdown of contents into disciplines, on the basis of authors' disciplinary affiliation, unsurprisingly shows political science, history and sociology taking the lion's share. However, economics, psychology and information/ communication science each supplied at least one contribution among the 32 published so far. The topics broached are diverse, but such intended diversity seems less in evidence among English-language contributions (until now often devoted to somewhat peripheral themes with respect to what the journal regards as its core thematic areas : armed conflict, martial institutions, civil-military relations) than among those using French. Such imbalances have to be corrected, and a call is hereby issued to potential authors using English for more numerous contributions - if possible on those ‘core' themes.
There is cause for some self-satisfaction in the diversity of contributors when it comes to citizenship. While fully one half of those whose submissions (all categories combined) were eventually published are French, the other half includes citizens of Canada, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States. Future issues will no doubt see that diversity grow further. Yet, the journal still has to attract attention and make breakthroughs in world regions other than Europe and North America: no submitted manuscript to date has come from Africa, Latin America, the Near or the Far East.
An overall appraisal reading “Fair, but can do better” would thus probably be close to the mark. Enthusiasm is intact among editors-in-chief and associate editors, and if the influx of manuscripts increases as hoped, the desirable improvements listed above are well within reach : valiantly soldiering on is all it takes.
On the home front, Donna Winslow's demise sadly left a huge vacuum on the editorial committee. Dr. Morten G. Ender, professor of sociology at the US Military Academy, West Point, has happily accepted the daunting task of filling it. Another most welcome addition to the editorial team is Dr. Martine Cuttier, a contemporary history teacher and researcher based in Toulouse universities. The journal's order of battle is thus in full gear for a hopefully very busy second year. Hearty thanks are due to both of them - just as special appreciation is to be extended to our 2010-2011 contributors for bravely entrusting their manuscripts to the newest journal in the military field, Res Militaris.