Principles in Practice: Jason Mittell's "book in progress" in Media Commons Press
Media scholar Jason Mittell's most recent book, Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling (currently under contract with NYU Press), is being serially released though MediaCommons Press. Developed in 2009 as part of the broader MediaCommons initiative, MediaCommons Press allows for an open, peer-to-peer review process. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his work's focus on the complexity of serial television narratives and the deep engagement they demand, Mittell has frequently adopted serialized releases of his work, posting pre-publication essays to his blog and soliciting feedback, mimicking serial narratives' feedback loops between creator, text, and reader. As part of this iterative effort, Mittell embraces open access platforms that facilitate it this mode of serialized scholarship, and models transparency when contributing to broader debates about shifts in academic publishing and the (often invisible) labor associated with this type of reading.
In addition to tracking the project, in development since 2004, on his blog, Mittell is using MediaCommons Press to solicit feedback at various stages of the writing process, and model a more open and participatory model of peer review. Fittingly, the first book to be "(pre) published" in this fashion was Kathleen Fitzpatrick's Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy.
Mittell's progress on the book as a whole can be traced across media frames, from twitter to his blog and, ultimately, to each chapter's serialized release through MediaCommons Press. The comments are also serial in design, building on previous ideas and (as the above image suggests), speculating about future concerns (fair use, creating best practices for digital monographs, etc.).
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