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The project and history of Austriaca

The journal Austriaca. Cahiers universitaires d’information sur l’Autriche is the only journal published in France which focuses exclusively on issues related to Austria and the former Austria-Hungary. It was founded in 1975 by Félix Kreissler and a group of researchers specialised in research on Austria and central Europe. The co-founders included: Yvon Bourdet, a sociologist; Jacques Droz and Georges Castellan; Gilbert and Christiane Ravy; Richard Thieberger, Austrian literature specialists; Pierre Bertaux; Jean-Marie Valentin and Gerald Stieg.

Over the years, all the recognised specialists on Austria joined the journal’s editorial board. The journal is distinguished by its multidisciplinary nature and its commitment to bringing together recognised experts on Austria regardless of the university to which they belong.

Felix Kreissler managed the journal until the mid-1980s, and then it was co-directed by several specialists, Gérald Stieg and Gilbert Ravy, Paul Pasteur, Ute Weinmann, Jacques Lajarrige. The editors in chief are now Jacques Lajarrige, germanist, and Jean-Numa Ducange, historian.

Composition of an issue

Austriaca is published twice a year and it has followed the principle of a thematic dossier. Each issue has two parts. Series of articles on a topic and a second part with columns and news on Austrian politics and culture, reviews of recent publications, lecture notes, etc.

The journal’s two languages are French and German, although articles are occasionally published in English. In order to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between Austria and France, on several occasions all the contributions have been translated into French for issues that had to reach a wider Francophone audience. Germanists, or colleagues with a double degree, translate the articles voluntarily, and the two Co-Editors-in-Chief systematically review and edit them.

Selection of texts

Every article is original. An exception may be made for articles already published elsewhere, but in another language.

Each issue’s editorial coordinator, in cooperation with the journal’s managing editors, first ensures the scientific quality of the submitted articles as early as possible. If any problems are found, they discuss the desired amendments with the author. They inform the journal’s management (i.e. the Director of the journal and the Co-Editors-in-Chief).

If the problem is not resolved, the coordinator of the issue and the journal’s management mutually agreed upon two external reviewers to re-read the text and give an opinion. The reviewer may be a member of the editorial board or an external expert, who is chosen for their skills and familiarity with the subject of the article to be evaluated. They must say whether the article is able to be published at all or able to be published after implementing specific recommendations and suggested corrections. These anonymous suggestions will be sent to the author.

  • The author of the book must submit a new version of their text;

  • if the article is amended in line with the suggestions, it is published. If this is not the case, the coordinator of the issue informs the author that the article has been rejected while ensuring the experts’ complete anonymity;

  • the journal’s management can launch this procedure if it deems it necessary at the article review stage.

When producing an issue, the editorial board appoints a colleague, who does not have to be a member of the editorial board, to coordinate the issue, which involves gathering the submissions, reading them for the first time and the initial formatting. For decades, this colleague has been supported by someone from the editorial board, who suggests a large number of articles to be read and discussed. At a later meeting, the editorial board, which meets formally twice a year, takes a decision on the final version of an issue or on any articles which may have posed problems.

The same procedure applies to non-thematic issues, the number of which is expected to increase. A specific call for papers is issued for them and sent in particular to individuals on scientific mailing lists and learned societies (e.g. the Association of higher education Germanists, H-Germanistik, etc.).

Given the journal’s multidisciplinary nature and the influence of Germanists, each time that an Austrian author has been on the syllabus for the agrégation teaching examination and the CAPES secondary education teaching certificate, a special issue reviewing the research on the subject has been produced.

Prestigious authors published by the journal include a paper by the art historian Ernst Gombrich, an interview with Elias Canetti, a text by former Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, the sculptor Alfred Hrdlicka, the architect Margerete Schütte-Lihotzky, Ernst Bloch, Claude Mauriac and de Vercors, as well as contributions from Austrian writers, such as Peter Turrini and Wener Kofler.

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