Language Documentation and Description (LDD) developments

The journal Language Documentation and Description (LDD) was first published on an annual basis by the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project at SOAS, University of London. Volume 1, edited by Peter K. Austin, appeared in 2003. Between 2003 and 2021, 21 volumes were produced, including six Special Issues by guest editors. Altogether we published 229 papers by 297 authors, totalling 4,601 pages.

In 2014 Peter K. Austin, David Nathan, and Julia Sallabank launched EL Publishing, a free, platinum open access publishing platform independent of SOAS. International editorial and advisory boards were established, along with full double-blind peer review of all submissions. In July 2014 EL Publishing released Volume 13 of LDD, together with all previous papers, under a Creative Commons licence.

In 2018 LDD began a series of articles called  Language Contexts, which describe the sociolinguistic ecologies and vitality of particular languages or groups. In 2019 LDD began another new article series, Language Snapshots, providing key summary information about particular endangered and minority languages, and the social and cultural situations of their speakers and communities. Current research work is also outlined. Language Snapshot articles aim to complement existing reference materials such as Glottolog or Ethnologue.

Publication of papers in Spanish and French commenced in 2020. Abstracts in the language described in an article, and/or a local lingua franca, as well as English, are now included. To date we have abstracts in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, Nepali, Urdu, Punjabi, Sunam, Tahitian, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Tibetan, and Kala Kawaw Ya.

Commencing in April 2022 the journal is moving to the Aperio platform at University of Virginia (UVa) under managing editor Lise Dobrin, and a new editorial team. During the transition period EL Publishing will continue to host all the existing volumes and papers, and provide full search access to all materials. The move to Aperio is being undertaken to ensure the journal’s sustainability and to better serve its authors and readership. The Aperio platform will allow us to better identify and preserve papers, review them via the OJS management system, as well as submit them for indexing and metric calculations via Ubiquity Press. Publications will remain free to authors and readers through generous support from the UVa Library, the UVa College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the UVa Programme in Linguistics.

We look forward to an exciting new phase in the history of the journal.