American Sociological Association

Give Permission to Use Your Work in the Digital Archives

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February 6, 2017

Up until now, it has not been easy to study empirically the process of scientific knowledge production because we rarely have access to a body of data that includes what is rejected as well as what is accepted for publication, and the reasons for these decisions. The American Sociological Association, in collaboration with the Center for Social Science Research (CSSR) at the George Mason University, was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a digital research archive of the rejected and accepted manuscripts, their peer reviews and the correspondence among editors, authors, and reviewers from 1991 and 2010. We are asking you to give permission for any manuscripts or reviews that you submitted to the American Sociological Review to be included in the Archive.

During these years, more women and members of ethnic and racial minorities moved into the professoriate and research community, influencing the growth of gender research, race and ethnicity studies, and a focus on intersectionality (the interaction of two or more dominant systems), which began to gain traction in sociology in the mid-1990s. According to Professor Ann Swidler, Professor of Sociology, University of California-Berkeley, “…there was an unprecedented influx of women and minority scholars into ASA journals.”  According to Professor Aldon Morris, Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Northwestern University, “Because ASA and the discipline of sociology engaged in racialized practices in the past, scholars need to access rejected journal materials covering [this] twenty years….”  And, according to Professor Donald Levine, Peter Ritzman Professor of Sociology Emeritus, University of Chicago, “These materials document such critical matters as how the various subfields evolved in diverse ways, including the formation of discrepant criteria of merit, and the remarkable shifts of interest among sociological scholars in the decades covered.”  

These never-before-available manuscripts and reviews will be digitally accessible and searchable after a 10-year embargo period (so that the 1991-2007 manuscripts will be available as soon as the archive is created (e.g., 2017) and each year thereafter additional data will become available). The names of authors and reviewers will be confidential. ASA is committed to permanently making the data archive and codebook available to scholars for research purposes upon approval of a brief prospectus, IRB review and a signed confidentiality agreement.

Since January 2017, we have sent out a Qualtrics permission survey to authors and reviewers, as well as several reminders but, as of yet, we have a low response rate (28% of the 6971 people who submitted manuscripts or reviews). While about 80 percent of respondents have agreed to allow their manuscripts and reviews to be included in the Archive, the very low response rate means that the Archives will not include a representative array of manuscripts and reviews.  We need your help!  Please respond to our survey at your earliest convenience so we can move forward with this important project!

The Project’s Advisory Committee (including Drs. Arne Kalleberg, University of North Carolina, Jim Moody, Duke University, Erin Leahy, University of Arizona, and Barry Markovsky, University of South Carolina) urge scholars to respond to the survey as soon as possible. If you have questions, please contact Roberta Spalter-Roth at spalter-roth@asanet.org

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