American Sociological Association to Launch Open Access Scholarly Journal for All Sociology Subfields

The American Sociological Association (ASA) is pleased to announce that it will launch a new sociology open access journal in summer 2014 with the support of SAGE Publications. The journal, which will be free to all readers, will welcome scholarly articles in any area of sociology.

The name for the ASA’s open access journal is currently being discussed by the Association’s Committee on Publications and Council. It will be the Association’s first open access journal covering all subfields of sociology, adding a new resource to ASA’s history of publishing the highest quality peer-reviewed scholarship. The ASA’s open access journal will provide a new outlet for innovative peer-reviewed scholarship that will be accessed freely and rapidly by users throughout the world. It will allow authors to receive a publishing decision quickly, have article lengths unconstrained by printed page limits, as well as have accepted articles published online immediately after editorial review and acceptance. Authors will retain their copyright under a Creative Commons license

The new open access journal shares with all ASA journals the centrality of rigorous peer review. There will be, however, some exciting differences in the process from the perspective of the author. As with all ASA journals, peer reviewers will focus on the theoretical and empirical contributions of the manuscript as well as the quality of its research methodology (i.e., whether it was conducted properly, the discussion accurately summarizes the research, and the conclusions follow logically from the research). However, the ASA open access journal editor(s) and reviewers will have none of the constraints faced by editors of print journals on the length of an article or other limitations imposed by the printed page. Methodologically sound submissions that add to the existing knowledge base of the discipline, are well written, and are appropriately concise are eligible for publication.

Editorial decisions will accept or reject a submission, with some conditional acceptances. “Revise and resubmit” decisions will be used only in exceptional circumstances. There will be no word limit to manuscripts that can be submitted, accepted, and published with only light editing by professional editors (not the journal editor) to ensure the published articles adhere to the ASA Style Guide.

Manuscripts will be submitted and reviewed online using the same SAGEtrack system employed by ASA’s other journals. As with the other ASA journals, articles in this open access journal will be hosted on the SAGE HighWire online journal platform.

In the spring of 2014, the ASA Committee on Publications and ASA Council expect to announce their selection of the inaugural editor for the open access journal. The editor will be integrally involved in developing the editorial board structure and review processes.

Unlike traditional print journals, open access journals do not charge for subscriptions, but they do have costs. If accepted for publication, manuscripts will be subject to a publication fee set by the Association. The publication fees (tentatively $400 for ASA members and $100 for student members, with higher fees for non-members) are well below the current open access standard in today’s scholarly publishing marketplace. ASA is sensitive, however, to the inability of some scholars (particularly students and un/underemployed and international scholars) to pay such fees. Therefore, any accepted author who indicates that she or he is unable to afford the publication fee and requests a waiver will be granted one. ASA will evaluate this policy after one year.

ASA is enthusiastic about the Association’s new publishing venture. For a number of years we have been considering how best to move our publishing program into the open access environment in a way that meets the needs of the discipline, fits into ASA’s current publishing program by providing a place for scholarship not currently found in other ASA journals, and is sustainable. We have also been cognizant of the desire by some scholars in the discipline to have an ASA publishing outlet that permits them to retain copyright. The support of SAGE Publications helps us attain these goals and provides an open access platform for ASA articles that links them to citation and cross referencing with hundreds of other high-quality social science journals through SAGE HighWire.

ASA is the largest professional association for sociologists in the United States and other countries. ASA currently publishes nine journals, an award-winning research-based general audience magazine, and three section-sponsored journals (all in electronic and print format), as well as an open access, e-only section-sponsored journal. This new journal will be the Association’s first open access journal that covers all areas of sociology.