As we begin our eighth annual volume, we are gratified to think that our original expectations have been fulfilled in establishing one of the first scholarly electronic journals. Contemporary Aesthetics has confirmed our intention of encouraging a wide range of thought and scholarship in aesthetics, work that enlarges the borders of inquiry while maintaining high standards of scholarship and quality of publication. And the response to our efforts has more than confirmed the need for such a forum. In 2008 our total number of visits was about 47,000, itself an impressive figure for a scholarly journal. But in 2009 that figure jumped to about 61,500, more than 30% higher, and the range of daily visits was between 137 and 207. These figures come from Webalizer; Google statistics are much higher: 79,000 visits. (Visits are more informative than hits; they indicate that at least a page was read.) We are clearly reaching what for a scholarly publication is an enormous readership, and that is encouraging for our authors, as well.
In Vol. 7, Contemporary Aesthetics demonstrated the rich possibilities of aesthetics in exploring its presence in such disparate areas as hanging laundry and terrorism, while still inquiring into more customary domains. But in addition to its usual imaginative span of topics, Contemporary Aesthetics published its second special volume, “Aesthetics and Race; New Philosophical Perspectives.” This was a very large undertaking, conceived and carried to completion under the guest editorship of Monique Roelofs. Her exacting standards resulted in the first such collection of this nature, a contribution of unique value to contemporary aesthetic literature. Our innovative scope continues in our new volume in which the first paper explores the aesthetics of magnetic resonance imagery (MRI).
On recommendations by the Editorial Advisory Board, we have revised the submission guidelines to make clearer what subject matters and content are appropriate for this journal. We have also added a guideline on the appropriate length of a submission. We continue our technical development, as well. Invisible to the reader but appreciated by our authors is our new publication software that will allow us more easily to publish words and names that have diacritical marks without having to resort to complicated expedients that were not always dependable. But another development our readers will undoubtedly appreciate directly is a universal search function that will soon be installed, enabling a reader to search the entire journal, earlier volumes as well as the current one, for occurrences of a word or name. Other common word processing techniques remain intact, such as highlighting and copying, without burdening one with an exhaustive array of technical possibilities, seldom if ever employed, that might only distract or confuse the user.
Contemporary Aesthetics continues to benefit from the wisdom of its editorial board. The assistance of our Associate Editor, Yuriko Saito, has been constant and utterly dependable, essential for keeping our review and publishing processes going. We are grateful for the advice and help of the other members of our editorial board, Ivan Gaskell, and Larry Shiner. Our International Editorial Advisory Board has also been active with useful suggestions for improving our website and our operations. As a peer-reviewed journal, Contemporary Aesthetics could not function without the assistance of many scholars whose conscientious and detailed reviews benefit our authors and eventually our readers. Over the past year we have gained from the wisdom and critical intelligence of Philip Alperson, Emily Brady, John Carvalho, Ivan Gaskell, David Goldblatt, Arto Haapala, Kathleen Higgins, Jo Ellen Jacobs. Kirsten Jacobson, Estella Lauter, Tom Leddy, Katya Mandoki, Monique Roelofs, Yuriko Saito, Crispin Sartwell, Larry Shiner, Lee Spector, Laurent Stern, and Jonathan Westphal. We are also grateful to the reviewers for the special volume, who are acknowledged there. And not least of all, Contemporary Aesthetics continues to prosper under the sponsorship and partial financial support of the Rhode Island School of Design. My grateful thanks and good wishes to all as we continue optimistically with our mission.
Arnold Berleant, Editor