UK historians reverse decision to publish Snelling

Posted by Davina Jackson 18 November 2015

This year's editors of Architectural History, annual journal of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (SAHGB), have reversed their decision to publish a substantial summary article on England-born Douglas Snelling's pan-Pacific career.

Its main reason for the last-minute rejection was 'a commercial consideration' to avoid potential duplication of the article content with Jackson's forthcoming book on Snelling, which is contracted with UK academic publishers Ashgate (now Routledge).

David Hemsoll

David Hemsoll

Judi Loach

Judi Loach

Architectural History's 2015 editor Professor David Hemsoll (University of Birmingham) earlier had approved publication of Jackson's article if it did not duplicate wording (as distinct from inevitable overlaps of information content) in her book. He accepted her first draft of the article after assessing blind peer reviews from two experts in Australasian architecture history, and Jackson's responses to their comments.

However, Hemsoll later was persuaded by one of his associate editors, Professor Judi Loach (Cardiff University), that the article should be abandoned not only because of 'content conflicts' but also because Jackson was failing to supply 'original sources' in some footnotes and was 'self-referencing' her research documents and PhD thesis, collected at the State Library of New South Wales, and her previous publications on Snelling. The editors decreed that article authors must not cite their own publications.

Jackson argued, unsuccessfully, that there were no previous authors to cite for many items of fact and interpretation in her article on Snelling, and that readers of Architectural History would be disadvantaged if they were left ignorant of Jackson's archive of original research material at the State Library of New South Wales, or the National Library of Australia's e-archived version of the douglas-snelling.com website.

Meanwhile, Jackson's book manuscript – substantially updating her failed RMIT thesis submitted in 2007 – is entering production at Ashgate. Ashgate recently was purchased by Routledge, an academic press subsidiary of the Informa global information group. Routledge hopes to publish the book in mid-2016 – centenary of Snelling's birth at Gravesend, on the Thames.