Diversification Initiative: Expanding the Scope of Atla’s Index/
November 23, 2020
The Atla Production Team works diligently to ensure the full range of scholars’ research pursuits are reflected in Atla’s research tools. A core tenet of Atla’s mission is to ensure a robust diversity of content to cover the broad study of religion and theology. Read on to learn more about Atla’s diversification initiative to expand the scope of the premier index in religion and theology, Atla Religion Database® (Atla RDB®).
Search & Selection: A History
There has been a steady progression of improvements and enhancements throughout the lifetime of Atla Religion Database, beginning with an improved foundation, then welcoming the familiar, and finally seeking the new.
In the early 2000s, Atla, like others in the publishing industry, had limited technical capabilities when it came to adding new titles to our research tools. In 2015, after important editorial system updates, our acquisition and inclusion of new titles was significantly enhanced. We had a reserve list of titles seminal to the study of religion and theology that had not previously been included in Atla’s research tools. These were obvious first choices for inclusion.
In the spirit of welcoming the familiar, these previously identified key titles were largely focused on the study of Christianity (e.g., Studies in Christian Ethics, the Priscilla Papers, and Acta Theologica). The titles also expanded our geographic coverage, with new titles drawn from a range of countries including South Africa, India, Nigeria, Ghana, Romania, Ireland, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Poland, Lebanon, Japan, Turkey, and Chile.
After these first additions were completed, the Atla Production Team took a hard look at the editorial balance and scope of the index. We conducted customer research, supplementing the membership insights, to understand their broader research needs. These efforts were prompted by and conducted in alignment with Atla’s Organizational Ends at the time, which included a mission to cover the broad study of religion and theology in Atla’s research tools. This initiative continues today. Atla recently joined the Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications (C4DISC) as part of our continuing commitment to discuss and address issues of diversity and inclusion within the world of scholarly communications.
Once those initial efforts were underway, the team painstakingly reviewed the Atla Religion Database title list, identifying areas that needed increased coverage. The team established a process to routinely review trusted resources to seek and identify new titles supporting the study of religion and theology.
In conjunction with this project, several subject matter experts were hired to enhance the indexing team’s linguistic capabilities and academic areas of expertise, including Islamic thought and several Asian religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism). Much of the material that is published by smaller presses or born-digital journals requires fluency in a specific language. Atla’s in-house expertise allows a wider range of publishers’ content to be included in our research tools.
Atla’s Internal Experts
Atla’s diverse team of experts not only expand our indexing capabilities, but also expand the scope of content solicited, evaluated, and included in Atla’s research tools.
Atla metadata analysts and editors often come across new titles that are cited in journals they are indexing or those they come across while conducting their own academic research. Additionally, as these experts’ own linguistic capabilities and academic research areas naturally expand, so too do Atla’s content coverage areas.
Atla metadata analysts and editors engage in personal research projects and are scholars in their own regard, writing essay collections, attending conferences, and forming academic and professional connections in their fields. They bring all these findings and skills back to Atla.
We maintain a list of prospective journal titles compiled from the recommendations and suggestions received from Atla’s subject matter experts, Atla membership, and journal editors and publishers in the religion and theology community. We also check trusted sites such as the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), as well as scientific communities’ ranked lists of titles supporting our area of study.
Monthly, subsets of the list are evaluated and vetted on a number of points by our subject-matter experts depending on their areas of expertise. The Atla team follows the Council on Publication Ethics’ guidelines, in addition to the standard practices of the peer-review process. If accepted, titles are thoughtfully and steadily added to Atla’s research tools over time to ensure a diversity of content is available with every monthly title upload.
In order to expand the diversity of religious traditions and perspectives covered in Atla’s research tools, strong relationships with publishers of all sizes across the globe are cultivated and fostered. Currently, many niche areas of religion and theology scholarship are housed at large publishing houses. While our Licensing Manager Gregg Taylor works diligently to continue to build upon and expand these relationships to bring in more diverse, new content, Atla Digital Content Production Manager Megan McCarthy, Atla Editorial Manager Jill Annitto, and Director of Production Maria Stanton work with their teams to seek out journals published in underrepresented countries on underrepresented topics.
Areas of Expansion
Transitioning to a new technical platform in 2015 has enabled the Atla team to be more proactive in acquiring and including new titles. Since 2015, the team has added 425+ journal titles. Below are a few content areas in which the Atla team has expanded its diversity of sources, languages, and content. We continue to grow in all areas; those noted below include a few areas of focus.
- International Studies in Catholic Education
- Ius Canonicum
- Journal of Jesuit Studies
- Revue Bénédictine
- American Ecclesiastical Review
- The Dunwoodie Review
- 교회사학 (Research Journal of Catholic Church History)
Judaism and Jewish Studies
- Journal of Jewish Languages
- Materia giudaica
- Journal of Antisemitism
- Annual Review of Islam in Africa
- Journal of Sufi Studies
- Tahkik Journal of Critical Editions of Islamic Manuscripts
- Journal of NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community
- ab-Original: Journal of Indigenous Studies and First Nations and First Peoples’ Cultures
- AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples
- Native American and Indigenous Studies
- Oral Tradition
Women’s Religious Thought
- Lectio Difficilior
African Religious Perspectives
- Verbum et Ecclesia
- Valley View University Journal of Theology
- BTSK Insight
- Ilorin Journal of Religious Studies
Eastern European Perspectives
- Journal for the Study of Religion & Ideologies
- Slověne: International Journal of Slavic Studies
- Review of Ecumenical Studies Sibiu
- Studia Universitatis Babeș-Bolyai Theologia Orthodoxă
- Journal of International Buddhist Studies
- 玄奘佛學研究 (Hsuan Chuang Journal of Buddhist Studies)
- The Journal of the Korean Association for Buddhist Studies
- International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture
- Prabuddha Bharata
- Journal of Hindu Studies
- Journal of Sikh & Punjāb Studies
- Jain Journal
- International Journal of Jaina Studies
Eastern Religions and Philosophy
- Philosophy East and West
- Asian Philosophy
- Journal of Oriental Studies
Share your Suggestions
Atla’s diversification initiative to expand the scope of our index is an ongoing process. New journals, essay collections, and others are being published every day, covering new areas of study and research. Just as much as the Atla team is proactively looking to add new titles in these areas, we welcome you to send along your suggestions for new titles. Please submit any suggestions here.
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