About COVE

COVE Constitution

OVERVIEW

The COVE is The Central Online Victorian Educator, a scholar-driven open-access platform that 1) publishes peer-reviewed Victorian material; 2) provides tools to support Victorian research and pedagogy; and 3) advocates for the interests of the humanities. It is maintained and supported by the North American Victorian Studies Association, the British Association for Victorian Studies, and the Australasian Victorian Studies Association, as well as a number of independent institutions. Although all peer-reviewed material is open access, we charge a modest amount for use of our tools and the creation of non-peer-reviewed material (for example, for classroom use).

PURPOSE

The COVE was initially constituted in 2016 with a commitment to ten principles, which were ratified by The COVE’s initial Advisory Board, in consultation with NAVSA’s Advisory Board and Executive Council. (BAVS and AVSA joined the initiative in 2017.) Here are those principles:

  1. The COVE exists as an open-access alternative to any press or commercial provider that seeks to profit from the work of Victorian academics. Our goal will be, instead, to facilitate scholarly and public access to our cultural heritage. We also wish to showcase to the world the value of humanities research, methods and innovations. The COVE is fully not-for-profit and embraces the expanded global nature of today’s research communities and changing dynamics of scholarly production.
  2. Not-for-profit is not the same as free, for there are substantial costs behind successful online publication. The COVE will therefore explore the generation of not-for-profit income to sustain the future development of tools and publication of COVE material. All income will support the mission of The COVE and the work of Victorian scholars. The work of humanities scholars is valuable and all profit made from such work should return to our shared collective endeavors.
  3. The COVE rejects all avaricious business practices. It seeks to present an alternative, sustainable model for knowledge production that we hope can serve as a model that other field societies will follow.
  4. The COVE is designed to support and publish all material that Victorianists consider important for the understanding of the period. Presses were originally designed to publish the best work of academics regardless of profit margins, which is why they were supported by university administrations and their books purchased by university libraries. They have increasingly struggled to fulfill that mission, however, hampered as they have been by university budget cuts and reappropriations. The value of our scholarship should not be determined by popularity or by what can be taught to the maximum number of undergraduate students.
  5. The COVE acknowledges that teaching is an important part of our mission and will seek to support that mission through innovative tools and the publication of material that can be creatively used in the classroom.
  6. The COVE will put all material through peer review, copy-editing and proofing following standards that match or exceed those of university presses and commercial providers.
  7. All COVE tools developed will be open source and open for use by other field and subject groups.
  8. All material published by The COVE will follow Creative Commons 3.0 licensing protocols.
  9. New digital technologies are opening up new ways of understanding the Victorian period. The COVE will seek to provide safe harbor for scholars looking to explore new ways of cultivating the possibilities of the digital medium.
  10. The COVE seeks to fight for the interests of the humanities. It eschews factionalization in favor of collective support and empowerment.

ORGANIZATION

The COVE’s administrative structure is designed to support these founding principles, including the following ex officio positions:

Executive Council Positions

The Executive Council is in charge of the daily maintenance, development, and integrity of The COVE. The main positions are:

  1. A General Editor. The general editor will oversee operations, including: the search for external funding, oversight of tool development, creation of open-access content, peer review, management of not-for-profit funds, and organization of the labor force. There are no set term limits. When the General Editor steps down from the position, a new General Editor will be chosen by the COVE Advisory Board and then ratified by NAVSA’s Advisory Board and Executive Council (majority vote). The General Editor will be expected to send regular updates to the COVE Advisory Board, and will make sure that the Board is informed of new tools, editions, consortium members and grant applications.
  2. One or more Technical Editors, who will be in charge of the Drupal infrastructure of COVE Editions.
  3. Two or more Administrative Directors, who manage workflow and the training of new research assistants.

Advisory Board Positions

The Advisory Boards guide the development of The COVE, providing support and oversight as needed. There are two boards:

  1. A non-voting Board of Technical Consultants, who can advise The COVE on technical matters, when called upon.
  2. A voting Advisory Board, including the founding members, one representative from BAVS, one from AVSA, and one from any school providing fiscal-year funding for COVE graduate-student (postgraduate) labor. The fiscal year will follow the usual university academic calendar (July to July).

One member of The COVE Advisory Board will serve as an ex officio representative on NAVSA’s Executive Council (3-year renewable term).

Any member of the voting Advisory Board or the Executive Council can call for a vote of no confidence in the General Editor or in any of the members of the Executive Council or advisory boards. After a two-thirds majority vote in favor of this action, the individual is removed from the corresponding Board or Council. If a General Editor is removed, The COVE’s voting members will choose a new General Editor, followed by ratification by NAVSA’s Advisory Board and Executive Council (majority vote). If requested, one member of NAVSA’s Advisory Board or Executive Council who is not on the COVE advisory boards or Executive Council can be chosen to conduct a secret ballot on the measure.

If any member of the Boards or Council finds fault with any aspect of The COVE’s administration, a discussion about the issue can be requested. After two weeks of discussion, a vote for a specific change in practice can be called for (majority vote of the Executive Council and the voting Advisory Board). This Constitution will be updated if the change materially affects the purpose or organization of The COVE as outlined above, in which case a two-thirds majority vote is required. When a vote is called, voting members of The COVE will have two weeks to cast a vote; if no vote is received from a voting member, the vote will count as an abstain.

Ratified on: July 11, 2018