Letter from the Editor

This work builds on a distinguished tradition at Oxford University Press of publishing authoritative reference works in our field, beginning with William Bright’s four-volume International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, published over twenty years ago.

Oxford University Press is also the leader in marshaling the resources of the modern electronic world to serve and enhance academic publishing, beginning with the pioneering conversion of the monumental Oxford English Dictionary to electronic form a quarter-century ago. The OED online stands as the premier electronic resource for the study of language. I have had the privilege to serve as the Editor in Chief since its inception of the Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics. That effort has only deepened my belief in the power of electronic publishing of reference works and I am honored to be the inaugural Editor in Chief of this encyclopedia.

The ORE of Linguistics will be the focal point of OUP’s electronic reference resources in linguistics, with seamless links to the Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics and the Oxford Handbooks Online, which, as of this writing, already contains close to nine hundred articles drawn from twenty four print volumes. As both these resources continue to grow, they will add to the power of the encyclopedia.

The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics adheres closely to OUP’s model for all its online research encyclopedias, to combine the best of digital publishing  dynamic, responsive, updateable, collaborative, living, discoverable  with the core tenets of academic publishing that OUP has upheld relentlessly since its founding in the sixteenth century – quality, reliability, and authority, ensured by a strong editorial board, peer review, signed articles, and a commitment to the highest standards of scientific inquiry and objectivity.

From its beginnings, modern linguistics has sought to describe and analyze the world's languages in a way that would bring out what unifies them, while also accounting for their vast diversity. This undertaking has always been deeply international in its scope, and electronic communication has only strengthened the bonds uniting scholars and their research enterprises, so that the field has become an even stronger community. It is our intention to make the ORE of Linguistics a focal point of this community. To that end, we have assembled an Advisory Board of prominent scholars from around the globe. We also plan to engage the members of the linguistic community through a number of innovative initiatives made possible by digital publishing, reaching out to national and international scholarly organizations in order to promote an ongoing dialogue centered on the encyclopedia.

We are in the midst of the greatest shift in the publishing environment since the advent of the printing press over five hundred years ago. The exciting possibilities afforded by this shift to the world of scholarship are just beginning to emerge but our aim is for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics to play an important role in shaping the future of the field of linguistics.

Mark Aronoff
Trustees Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, SUNY Stony Brook
Editor in Chief, Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics
Editor in Chief, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics