Research and databases

From time to time I do research that gets used in my books and articles, but is also available as Open Access data. Here are the links.

Sex bias in academic publishing on writers active 1930-1960 (May 2016)

frame 2

This research was done for two conferences in 2016. The background is that I wanted to see what truth there was in the anecdotal impression that scholarly work on women authors in general did not get published as much as did work on male authors. I also wondered if there was a sex bias in who did that research: did male scholars do any research on women authors and get / stay published?

The first conference was Women and the Canon, at Christ Church, Oxford in January 2016, so I focused first on which women authors were active in the early twentieth century, and how their writing is represented now in scholarly publications, for teaching and as research. The second conference was British Women Writers 1930-1960, at Hull in June 2016, so I added to my data by looking at academic publishing on that period. There are several layers of scrutiny:

  • British women authors
  • active in literary production 1930-1960
  • who have been written about by present-day male and female scholars
  • published by academic publishers
  • and the resulting books are still print and available via online catalogues.

My evidence shows that, on the whole, male authors do not publish on women authors, and women don’t either. The most damning evidence of all is that, for this particular period, academic publishers seem to think that publishing one book on Virginia Woolf ticks their gender balance box.

My data was fed into the statistical visualisation software Tableau by David Marsh, to whom I am much obliged, and you can see it here as an Open Access story.

The article will be published in The Academic Book of the Future by University College London Press, in 2017.


First World War periodicals 1914-1918 (September 2015)

When I started working on the chapter for the Edinburgh University Press Companion to the First World War in the Arts, I realised that I need to do a proper survey of all periodicals published during the war. The resulting database is deposited in the University of Reading depository, now available for public use. Go and have a look.

I’ll be speaking about this research at a conference on First World War communication technologies in Florence, Italy, in October 2017.