One of the early goals of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning was to create a venue that would encourage ever deeper scholarship in the field. This we initially envisioned as something we could do through our website, but when we saw BC Libraries announcement that they were facilitating the publication of e-journals, we quickly understood this to be an ideal opportunity. In the fall of 2005, we published the first issue of Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations as the journal of the Council of Centers in Jewish-Christian Relations, an umbrella organization for mostly university based centers and institutes like ours in the United States and Canada, with affiliate members from around the world. While BC Libraries provides the technical, behind the scenes support for the journal, the staff of BC’s Center for Christian-Jewish Learning provides the managing editor and one of the co-editors. The second co-editor and the book review editor are appointed by the Council of Centers. An international advisory board convenes annually at the meeting of the Council of Centers.
The journal’s content includes first and foremost peer-reviewed articles and book reviews. We provide an additional service to the field in selective publication of conference proceedings. As the study of Christian-Jewish relations is multi-disciplinary, ranging from historical questions, to issues of contemporary development of theology, to matters of implementing this theology in the real worlds of education and community life, we publish a wide range of materials of interest to people from a variety of perspectives. Some years we have published multiple issues, often with specific feature topics. Even a more focused discussion, though, has always been accompanied by articles on other topics, often submitted by people who have found us on the internet and are not otherwise part of our network of dialogue partners.
There are numerous advantages to being an e-journal. We can and do now upload articles and reviews as soon as they are ready; authors need not endure an extended wait before publication. The size of any one issue is unimportant; we can include as many articles and reviews as meet our standards for quality, and we can accommodate longer articles as well. We can also (with proper permissions) embed anything that can be embedded on a web page within the article, and even in a pdf (the form in which our articles are published), our links are live.
Most importantly, other than those borne by the library (which are invisible to us), the expenses of publication are minimal. We do no printing and no mailing. Therefore, we have no need to recover expenses through subscriptions. We can afford to be open-access, meaning that anyone who would like to learn from our publication may do so; we are freely available on the internet. There is also no delay between the publication of an article and its availability anywhere in the globe. This greatly enhances our service to our field, something that is extremely important when the participants in the contemporary dialogue are often not affiliated with university communities with ready access to expensive journals, whether in print-form or through their subscriptions to digitized archives. We have reason to believe that our readership is growing. We are certainly receiving submissions from as far away as Europe and Australia, and individual articles (from all issues) have been downloaded close to 8000 times in the first eight months of 2011.