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Journal of Memetics: Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
Sponsored by the Centre for Policy Modelling, the Prinicipia Cybernetica Project, and SEPA, Delft University of Technology ISSN 1366-4786
The Journal of Memetics is a new peer-reviewed academic journal. The editors feel that a journal on memetics can be an important place for scientists and professionals to discuss their views and research in memetics. The first issue is scheduled for May 1997. The journal will be published on the Internet without subscription fee. Like other journals, the Journal of Memetics will only publish papers after they have been approved by peer-review. In order to organize this we have an editorial board with reviewers, and an advisory board.
The Journal of Memetics seeks to develop the memetic perspective, with space devoted to relevant evolutionary issues and other related topics. We seek to discuss issues concerning memetics such as:
- Mechanisms involved in evolutionary processes (comparisons of different models of evolution are especially welcome)
- Philosophical or theoretical issues concerning epistemology and evolution
- Boundaries of the evolutionary approach
- Empirical research
- Fundamental approaches aiming at structuring the field of memetics as a science
In 1976, Dawkins invented the word 'meme,' defining it as 'the new replicator', 'a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation' . The initial description of 'meme' by Dawkins is rather vague, as he admits himself , which is a possible reason for current diverging views on what a meme really is, and how the memetic model can be used. We are confronted with an avalanche of books, essays, and publications scattered over different journals and disciplines, with dialogue flashing up here and there in an unstructured manner. Many dialogues disappear after only a brief lifespan. This chaos exists because a general framework is lacking.
The Journal of Memetics is meant to solve the above mentioned problems:
- It offers a forum where theories and the philosophy of memes and evolution are in the centre, not just at the edge of the issues journals want to cover. Many scientists would benefit by such a focused and lasting dialogue. This can lead to a more rigorous connection of memetics with established theories, with clarifications as to what memetics can contribute to science, and what it cannot. It enables the construction of a common evolutionary memetic framework, including views on how to compare different evolutionary views.
- The scientific method of peer review can serve as a filter. A board composed of editors coming from different disciplines can assist a broad range of authors, and select the most interesting contributions with an emphasis on scientific quality.
- The Journal of Memetics offers the possibility for an interdisciplinary approach, which is needed to yield the full range of possibilities memetics offers. On one hand the confrontation of evolutionary models from different disciplines will clarify pitfalls caused by looking at evolution in only one discipline. Moreover, the development of a common language and terminology may be stimulating and enable workers from different disciplines to discover more readily possible analogies between phenomena in their field of interest and other fields of research. It should be stressed that, according to our point of view, the only way to develop memetics into a solid science is through interdisciplinary collaboration.
About the Title
The memetic view provides a powerful framework to compare and connect what appears at first sight to be very different processes in different disciplines. Since the editors feel that memetics may prove to be useful and clarifying, we decided -- after thorough discussion -- on naming this journal the 'Journal of Memetics', complying with the hope of Hofstadter  that this field of inquiry should be called memetics. Because of the current vagueness of the concept meme, a subtitle of the Journal was needed. 'Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission', briefly EMIT, was selected by the editors as the most informative summary with regard to the field of interest to be covered by the journal. This subtitle expresses our view that memetics isconnected to the broader paradigm of evolutionary studies in human, computer and biological sciences.
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