Call for Papers for Special Issue of Comma on “New Professionals in Archives and Records Management”

2024 marks the 10th anniversary of ICA’s New Professionals Programme (NPP). ICA deems ‘new professionals’ to be anyone who has started working in the archives and records management field in the last five years. The New Professionals Programme offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to a small number of new professionals every year. During the year of their active tenure the NPP cohort meets virtually to get to know one another, learns about ICA, its mission and activities, and works on a project together which is of particular interest and relevance to them. They also receive a bursary to attend the conference or congress which covers all their expenses to present on their project, to meet in person, and develop networks with the wider ICA community. 

Although the ICA New Professionals Programme is widely cited and admired around the world, there has been very little formal documentation of its achievements and, more importantly, its impact on its alumni and the wider recordkeeping communities. Furthermore, social networking notwithstanding, it is difficult to identify the ways in which those new professionals "not part of the active ICA NPP cohort" can engage with ICA, negotiate its complicated structure or be active in the international arena. 

New professionals are passionate about archives or else they would not embrace the challenge of affording training and education or launching into a field where permanent contracts are notoriously difficult to secure and where career paths are both indistinct and poorly paid. We know new professionals are concerned about precarity and getting that first job suited to their skills, training, and interests. They care about training and continuing professional development. We know they have ideas about and insight into entry-level training and qualifications – not to mention the whole landscape of archives and records management nationally and internationally. 

To explore these important topics further, the International Council on Archives’ journal Comma invites submissions for a special issue dedicated to the topic of "New Professionals in Archives and Records Management". We encourage contributions on:  

  • Other new professional schemes and networks (local, national, regional, international) 
  • Other arrangements supporting individuals new to the archives and records management field 
  • Experiences of ICA NPP alumni both during their ‘active’ period, and later, including the impact it has had on their careers  
  • Experiences of new professionals within ICA and/or the international archive scene 
  • Reflections on training, education, accreditation, and/or ‘professionalism’ 
  • Mentoring schemes 
  • Reflections on entering the archives and records management field 
  • Research into any aspect of new professionals’ needs and activities 

The Guest editors welcome articles by: 

  • ICA NPP Alumni 
  • New professionals around the world 
  • Mentors, trainers, educators 
  • Those active in new professional schemes 

The Guest editors particularly wish to attract authors from among the ranks of new professionals. Accordingly, we are open to expressions of interest and draft proposals which we are happy to review and discuss via email or virtual meetings prior to a final submission. Similarly, we will be offering support and guidance to first time Comma writers as they draft their articles to ensure that we can include contributions from new professionals. Note that articles can be peer-reviewed at the request of authors. 

Proposals for texts should include the name of the author(s), whether you consider yourself a new professional, the title, an abstract (of between 250 and 350 words) which describes what the article will be about, together with the main focus, any relevant research, and conclusions. Proposals should be sent by January 31, 2023, to joint Editor-in-Chief for Comma, Bethany Anderson (, and special issue editor, Nicola Laurent ( 

If accepted, articles can be up to 6,000 words but may be less if appropriate to the subject matter. The deadline for submitting the full article is August 1, 2023. Comma welcomes submissions in any of the seven languages of the journal: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. The guidelines for submission of articles can be found here (English and French).