Journal of Memetics
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A short history of the Journal

JoM-EMIT started in a way as a spin-off of the Principia Cybernetica Project (PCP), which investigates the evolution of complex, cognitive systems. Around 1996, several participants in the PCP discussion list became aware of their shared interest in the newly emerging domain of memetics. However, they also noted that papers about this subject where scattered across the most diverse publications, with very little coherence or guarantee for scientific quality. They therefore decided to create a peer-refereed journal to bring together high-quality memetics papers, and thus confront the different approaches.

They first recruited a number of experts for the editorial and advisory boards, including several of the pioneering authors on memes, such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Susan Blackmore, Liane Gabora, Aaron Lynch, and David Hull. The extended editor ial board, using a specially created discussion list, then laid down the general policies for soliciting, refereeing and publishing papers. Bruce Edmonds became the first publisher and Hans-Cees Speel the managing editor. The first issue of JoM-EMIT appeared in May 1997 on the site, as the first (and still only) journal in its domain. The role of managing editor has subsequently been held by Martin de Jong and in collaboration by David Hales and Paul Marsden.

The same group also promoted memetics research through other activities, such as the organization of the first Symposium on Memetics in 1998, and the administration of a very active discussion list on memetics

However, by 2004 the research focus of the publisher and several members of the editorial board had shifted to different subjects, so that they were no longer motivated to invest much effort in the management of the journal. Therefore, it was decided to close the site, and to continue the journal elsewhere with a new team. In the beginning of 2005, half of the editorial board members were replaced, and the journal was relaunched at the new website, with Francis Heylighen, one of the founding board members, as editor-in-chief, assisted by the new managing editor, Klaas Chielens. This JoM-EMIT "new generation" essentially addresses the same topics, albeit in a new format (PDF rather than HTML), and with half a dozen new board members, recruited from a broad domain of meme-related expertise.

Perhaps the only real shift in subject matter is that we wish to focus more on empirical and social science approaches to the spread of memes, which tended to be underrepresented among the founders of the field, such as Dawkins, whose background lay more in evolutionary biology and computer science. Therefore, we will be especially soliciting contributions from fields such as social psychology, sociology, anthropology, communication studies and marketing, rather than from the field of computer simulation, which is already well covered by journals such as JASSS.

Some statistics

From its origin until 2004, 7 volumes (14 issues) have appeared in JoM-EMIT, containing 38 full articles and many more shorter contributions (editorials, comments, letters, reviews, reports, …).

JoM articles in that period have collected some 42 citations from other journals listed in the Science Citation Index (Web of science). Assuming that JoM itself would be listed in the Citation Index, this allows us to estimate that the journal would have an impact factor of around 0.7, which is comparable to that of most established social science or computing journals.

By doing a search in Google Scholar for publications on the topic of "memes" or "memetics", we find that in its short existence until now, the journal has managed to publish some 20% of the most significant papers on the subject. By further improving the quality and visibility of the journal, we hope to increase this "market share", and with it the overall standing and recognition of the field of memetics.