2016 marked another year of milestones, new directions, and growth for First Person Scholar. We published our 200th piece, celebrated our 4 year anniversary and our former EiC Emma Vossen made waves on the Canadian research front with her award winning work on FPS— not to mention all the wonderful authors we got to work with! We here at FPS are starting things off right in 2017 with the announcement of something the team has been working on for over a year.
Online publishing in general operates on the unpaid creative labor of content producers, including much of the game industry FPS writes about. The academic publishing model is no different where students and non-tenure track instructors are writing, producing and editing foundational research and writing that move our field forward, while struggling to make ends meet. There are countless articles about the broken systems of Universities, some available on FPS, but the point cannot be stressed enough. Some of the same people who do groundbreaking research, who edit ground-breaking games studies books are doing so for free and are therefore barely making ends meet. Academic jobs stand as the hope of breaking out of the cycle of poverty, dangled in front of young scholars as the prize for years of free labor and the soul-crushing financial precarity that accompanies it. We tell ourselves: only one more article, only one more anthology to compile and maybe then a job can be secured, the bills will finally be paid. For better or for worse, FPS has existed and thrived on this model, with both unpaid editors and contributors but now it’s time to take a step forward and change.
In my introductory editorial I stated that we were working towards getting our editors and contributors paid and after dozens of meetings and long trails of paperwork, and I am happy to announce that we have finally reached that goal. As of September 2016, all our senior staff receive a stipend for their work and starting January 2017, all our contributors will be paid per article. It won’t pay your rent but it allow you to buy groceries! These amounts may be small but they are a huge step in the right direction. The team would like to thank the members of the IMMERSe network for their generosity and support for middle-state games writing as well as Neil Randall, director of The Games Institute for supporting us since Day 1 and making FPS a sustainable publication. I’d also like to thank Emma Vossen who began the work towards our goal and planting the revolutionary seed in my brain.
This day does not mark the end of our work in ensuring that writers and creators receive fair compensation for the fruits of their labour, labour that fosters the FPS publication and the intellectual community it serves. While our senior staff and contributors are now being paid, due to our limited funds, FPS still operates on the generous time dedicated by unpaid students who work on our website, edit our podcasts and assist our section heads. Nonetheless, it is a step in the right direction and we hope to create a model that others can follow in turn.
If you are interested in writing for FPS, please check out our submissions page.