ASA requires that editors of its journals and the Rose Series in Sociology provide annual reports at the end of each calendar year. In addition to these narrative reports, journal editors are also required to provide information on manuscripts received and editorial decisions. The summary table presented is intended to provide authors with information on the chances of having a manuscript accepted and the length of time an author can expect to wait for a decision.
For a list of previous Editor's Reports, click here.
Editors' Reports for 2015
For further details on the information presented below, please see the Summary of Editorial Activity table.
From January 1 through December 31 of 2015, American Sociological Review (ASR) received a total of 719 submissions. Of those, 101 were rejected without being sent out for review and 4 other papers were withdrawn by the authors. An additional 432 submissions were rejected outright after going through the peer review process. 74 submissions received invitations to revise and resubmit, 45 were accepted subject to minor revisions, and 56 were accepted outright.
As of March 1, 2016, decisions were still pending on 7 papers. Among new (first) submissions to the journal, 485 (or 82.8 percent) were sent out for peer review. Among those that underwent the peer review process, 404 (84 percent) were rejected outright. 69 (14.3 percent) received an invitation to revise and resubmit, 1 paper was accepted subject to minor revisions, and 3 were accepted unconditionally. Four papers were withdrawn by the authors and decisions had not been reached (as of March 1) on four other papers. Among the 133 papers that were revised and resubmitted (with the resubmission coming to the ASR office in 2015), the majority were either accepted subject to minor revisions (33.1 percent) or accepted outright (39.8 percent). 6.8 percent received another invitation to revise and resubmit, while 35.6 percent were rejected. In 2015, very few papers were given multiple revise and resubmit decisions. Indeed, 9 papers that came into the office were either the third or fourth submission (which includes papers that were “conditionally accepted”), and each of these was accepted unconditionally.
Manuscripts were also processed in a timely manner. Among first submissions, the average time from submission to decision was 53.8 days. Using the traditional ASA indicator for the acceptance rate (the number of accepted manuscripts divided by the number of overall decisions, multiplied by 100), the acceptance rate for 2015 was 7.9. If we instead calculate the acceptance rate as accepted papers divided by final decisions, multiplied by 100 (as suggested by England in the March 2009 issue of Footnotes), the acceptance rate was 9.4.
A Year of Transition
2015 was the final year in which ASR was housed at Vanderbilt and the transition to its new home at the University of Notre Dame began in July of 2015. Vanderbilt editors Larry Isaac and Holly McCammon, and the entire Vanderbilt team provided a great deal of information and support to the incoming Notre Dame editors (Omar Lizardo, Rory McVeigh, and Sarah Mustillo). The Notre Dame team began handling new submissions on July 1, 2015. Vanderbilt editors handled revised submissions through August 7, and made decisions on those revised papers that were ready for a decision prior to October 31. Mara Nelson Grynaviski continued on in her role as Managing Editor, contributing to the smooth transition between offices. Coordinating Editor positions have been filled by Notre Dame graduate students (initially Bryant Crubaugh, Kevin Estep, and currently Paige Ambord and Will Cernenac).
Visibility of Journal Content—Continuity and Change: ASR continues to be ranked number 1 among 142 sociology journals in terms of its impact factor. The most recent 2014 figures give ASR an impact factor score of 4.39 (Thomas Reuters, 2015). Several initiatives introduced by the Vanderbilt team and previous editors to raise visibility of ASR content remain in place. Authors are encouraged to write media friendly abstracts that appear on the ASR SAGE website. In the past, these abstracts were behind a paywall, but now they are ungated. ASR continues to select an article for each issue for a podcast (also on the ASR SAGE website) allowing authors of the selected piece to discuss their work. In coming months, in an effort to make the podcasts more lively and engaging, ASR will be experimenting with a variety of new interview formats (such as the author engaging in a discussion of the article with a colleague or graduate student engaged in related work). The ASA press officer continues to work with the media to call attention to ASR’s groundbreaking content, and authors are encouraged to engage media relations personnel at their own institutions to help publicize their work. ASR initiated a new practice to promote more engagement with ASR content within academia. Authors are invited to provide the editorial team with a list of 10 scholars who they think would/should be particularly interested in their paper. The ASR team then contacts those scholars by email, calling their attention to the article and making a copy available to them. Finally, ASR now has a presence on twitter (@asr_journal), managed by the lead editors, which serves as an additional platform with which to spread news about journal content and media coverage of ASR articles.
Generating Diverse Content: ASR also initiated new practices designed to increase the methodological diversity of papers published in the journal so that journal content better reflects the diversity of work being carried out within the discipline. Prospective manuscript reviewers are now able to click on a link to access general guidelines for writing reviews that will be particularly helpful to the editors. Specialized guidelines are also made available for manuscripts that are primarily ethnographic, comparative-historical, theoretical, or that aim to be groundbreaking articles that are empirically driven and policy relevant. Because authors as well as reviewers indicated that the guidelines are helpful, they are now available on the ASR SAGE website.
Editorial Board and Reviewers: Both Vanderbilt and Notre Dame editorial teams have benefited from a talented and diverse editorial board. Vanderbilt deputy editors and roughly one third of the editorial board members rotated off at the end of 2015 after serving three year terms. At the end of the year, ASR welcomed 8 new deputy editors and 22 additional board members. 55 percent of the current board members are women and 38 percent are racial and/or ethnic minorities. Board members have adapted to new roles and responsibilities corresponding with the transition in the editorial team and are providing extraordinary service that is focused on an “early intervention” strategy that brings their expertise to bear on submissions that show outstanding promise.
To facilitate a smooth transition, the Vanderbilt editorial team left the new editors with a sizeable backlog of accepted articles to carry over well into 2016. As the new editors, we have enjoyed our work immensely and are grateful for support from our predecessors, Larry Isaac and Holly McCammon. We are also grateful for the strong contributions from our editorial board, ad hoc reviewers, authors, and our administrative staff. We are excited about the work that will be appearing in forthcoming issues and also look forward to handling the ongoing flood of outstanding submissions in 2016 and beyond.
Omar Lizardo, Rory McVeigh, Sarah Mustillo, Editors
Books Considered: The editorial office of Contemporary Sociology received 855 books from publishers during 2014. The total number of books that the editor examined was 855.
Review Process: Of the 855 books submitted, 393 were screened by the editor and accepted for review. 419 books were classified as "No Review." The decision on 43 books is pending.
Production Lag: Between the moment a book arrives for review consideration and the review (if any) is published, the lengthiest component in the process is the time required for the designated reviewer to submit his or her review after receiving the book. The editorial office, on average, schedules reviews, articles, and review-essays for publication within 14 weeks after the materials arrive, and after consultation with the Editorial Board. This process occurs every 2 months. The journal’s managing editor copyedits and formats all the work received electronically in preparation for publication. The copyedited materials are sent to SAGE for typesetting, and several sets of proofs are corrected prior to publication. The production lag represents the time between receipt of the review and the publication date. The production lag averages 4 months.
Items Published: The number of reviews received for the year was 395. 372 regular reviews were finished and published in Volume 44, plus 20 review-essays, 6 Critical Retrospective Essays, and 1 survey essay. In addition, 72 “Briefly Noted” reviews (250-500 words), 3 comments, and 2 replies were published. The total number of items published is 476 and covers a total of 533 books.
Editorial Board Members and Reviewers: The editorial board was comprised of 21 women and 16 men in 2015. This included 11 minority and 5 international editorial board members.
Michael Sauder, Editor
So we came in with the intention of taking a great product and making it better, and Team Contexts® is doing that “with a bullet,” as we announced in our first issue. The magazine is, as it always has been, a beautiful thing to hold in your hands. But we also redesigned the website—it’s pretty stunning, and you’d be stunned if we told you how little we spent (shout out to web guru Jon Smajda!)
We’re not just the pretty face of sociology; we’re the public face of sociology. Contexts’ charge has always been to publish reader-friendly sociological pieces. We’ve continued to do that, and we’re extremely pleased with what we’ve published. We’ve aggressively courted people to submit features and to write for the sections, sometimes to the point of harassment. (Almost.)
One of the things we said we’d do in our editorial proposal is to get good sociology from non-sociologists, and we’ve done that. We’ve had many great interviews, fantastic culture, trends, viewpoints, and teaching and learning pieces, and beautiful photo essays from novelists, journalists, critics, businesspeople, visionaries, and filmmakers. We publish cutting-edge social research, and we’ll take it from wherever we can get the good stuff. (And yes, sociologists, yours is still the good stuff!)
These are things that previous editors have done to varying degrees; we’ve just ramped it up. One thing we’ve brought in that is brand spanking new is web-only content. We’ve started a blog for rapid-response sociology so we have regular content between issues. (Contexts’ most-read piece ever was one of our first posts by Ivan Szelenyi, and Paula England contributed many popular pieces in the run-up to her ASA 2015 Presidential Address and still contributes to the blog). We’ve also organized two major online forums—one after the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision called “after marriage equality” and one on best practices in qualitative research called “how to do ethnography right.”
We published a total of 81 items in 2015, 20 of which were peer-reviewed feature articles. The others are nonpeer-reviewed pieces in the viewpoints, culture, books, trends, teaching and learning, and backpage sections.
Team Contexts® is held together by our resident wordsmith and senior managing editor, Letta Page, and our managing editor, Margaret Austin Smith. Letta edits every word (best editor ever!) and Meg keeps the ship afloat and everyone on point. If you write for Contexts you deal with them and you’re better off for it. Our section editors are the best and are responsible for most of the content in the magazine. Szonya Ivester brings us great book reviews, Andrew Lindner finds fantastic trends pieces, Shehzad Nadeem wins an award for organizing brilliant viewpoints forums every issue, and Nathan Palmer gets us lovely teaching and learning articles. Our magazine is a work of art because of all the work ThinkDesign puts into it. They rock. And our editorial board members are great. We put a lot of demand on them to review and write, and they do these things, and they do them really well.
Syed Ali and Philip Cohen, Editors
The Journal of Health and Social Behavior has a long-standing reputation as the place for cutting edge research on social aspects of health and illness. I am pleased to report that in 2015 we have published and accepted for publication papers reflecting a broad range of issues in health, illness, and healing. The articles published spanned a broad range of theoretically informed empirical research. Topics included the study of social inequities related to socioeconomic factors, immigrant and minority communities, and marriage. Many of these studies employed a life course perspective and studied at a variety of social contexts, including schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, prisons and families.
These articles used a wide range of quantitative as well as qualitative methods. Reflecting JHSB’s mission statement, published articles use health issues to inform our understanding of many sociological topics, including inequality and the production of disparities, the impacts of social ties and contexts on individual and group well-being, social-psychological consequences of adverse experiences and events, and how health care systems are shaped by political and economic processes all of which have important consequences for access to and quality of care.
The journal’s operations ran smoothly in 2015. The average turnaround time from receipt of submission was similar from 5.7 weeks in 2014 to 5.8 weeks in 2015. The production lag time (time between acceptance of a paper to its appearance in print) rose from 3.8 months in 2014 to 4.5 months in 2015.
The journal received 433 new manuscripts in 2015. This number is slightly lower than the 461 new manuscripts received in 2014. However, the number remains high compared to the 360 manuscripts processed in 2013.
The traditional acceptance rate, which counts all decisions, increased from 8.0 percent in 2014 to 10.6 percent in 2015. Of all new manuscript submissions, 51.9 percent were sent out for peer review after initial editorial screening. Of those that were peer reviewed, none were accepted immediately, although 39.3 percent were invited to revise and resubmit. Of manuscripts that were revised and resubmitted in 2015, 60.3 percent were eventually accepted after additional peer reviews. In 2015, we published 32 articles, 2 commentary and 4 policy briefs. The editor selects one paper from each issue that has significant policy implications and asks the authors to craft a 1-page brief directed at policymakers, media outlets and the general public. The brief is included in the front-end of the issue and on the journal home page and distributed to media outlets and non-profit and governmental organizations across the country.
For one article by Karraker and Latham (2015), we had to retract the paper and republish a corrected version as a corrigendum. A few weeks after the article appeared in print, the authors contacted us about an error with their computer code. This error was fairly substantial. After consultation with ASA, past JHSB editors, and the Deputy Editors, we decided to retract the original paper. The authors reanalyzed the corrected data and the corrected paper was reviewed by 2 senior members of the Editorial Board per regular peer review. The corrected paper was accepted and republished as a corrigendum along with a note by the authors regarding the major changes. I also added an editorial that explained the process.
Journal operations were managed primarily by outstanding half-time managing editors, the Managing Editor for Reviews (Brittany Morey) and Managing Editor for Production (Alanna Hirz) with the help of two Editorial Assistants (Anna Hing and Shirley Lin at UCLA).
Editorial Board and Deputy Editors
I sincerely thank the Journal’s thoughtful Deputy Editors: Carol S. Aneshensel, Pamela Herd, Anne R. Pebley, David T. Takeuchi, Stefan Timmermans, and Andrea E. Willson. They have played an invaluable role in adjudicating difficult decisions, managing conflict-of-interest submissions, and providing advice on the journal’s operations.
At the end of 2015, 10 editorial board members rotated off: Jason Beckfield, Jenifer L. Bratter, Noreen Goldman, Ellen Idler, David R. Johnson, Jessica A. Kelley-Moore, Sarah O. Meadows, Patricia P. Rieker, Kammi Schmeer, and Linda J. Waite. I am grateful for their extraordinary service and commitment to the journal. I also thank the continuing editorial board members and the many additional ad hoc reviewers who have contributed their time and expertise so generously to the journal. Without their contributions, we simply could not fulfill the goal of publishing the very best papers in medical sociology submitted to the journal.
The editorial board has 11 new members whose terms run from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2018. These members include Shawn Bauldry, Susan E. Bell, Piet Bracke, Deborah Carr, C. André Christie-Mizell, Brian C. Kelly, Kathryn J. Lively, Tetyana Pudrovska, Kate W. Strully, Jennifer Van Hook, and David F. Warner. I have already begun to rely heavily on the professional guidance of these new editorial board members along with our faithful continuing board members.
The editorial board remains diverse in terms of gender (65 percent female in 2015; 61 percent in 2014), and race/ethnicity (23 percent in 2015; 27 percent in 2014). The articles we publish continue to represent a range of methodological approaches and substantive specialties.
Gilbert C. Gee, Editor
The ASA Rose Series in Sociology publishes highly visible, accessible books that offer synthetic analyses of substantive fields in sociology, challenge prevailing paradigms, and/or offer fresh views of enduring controversies. Each manuscript is evaluated through a meticulous review process and is chosen for its quality, sophistication, and policy relevance. Only a few selected volumes are added each year. The Russell Sage Foundation continues to publish the Series and our editors work closely with RSF's Director of Publications, Suzanne Nichols. The Rose Series and Russell Sage Foundation provide a unique opportunity for each of our contracted authors to revise and refine their work at a day-long seminar before publication.
In 2015, Lee Clarke continued to serve as the lead editor of the Rose series. He was joined by co-editors Lauren Krivo, Paul McLean, and Patricia Roos. Lindsay Stevens (Rutgers University) served as Managing Editor.
Our editors reviewed six manuscript proposals in 2015, although none were accepted for publication.
We continue to work with Rose authors on five forthcoming manuscripts. Additionally, the editorial team continually strives to engage scholars whose work could be a promising addition to the Rose Series. In the past year, we contacted over 25 potential authors and invited them to submit proposals.
At the 2015 ASA Annual Meeting, the Rose Series Author-Meets-Critic Session featured William Marsiglio and Kevin Roy's Nurturing Dads: Social Initiatives for Contemporary Fatherhood. This lively and engaging event included commentary from panelists Natasha Sarkisian, Andrea Doucet, and Jennifer Hamer.
Two recent and forthcoming Rose authors received important accolades in 2015. First, Alexes Harris, the author A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as a Permanent Punishment for the Poor (forthcoming June 2016), was a featured panelist at a Department of Justice event hosted at the White House on criminal justice reform. Second, Karl Alexander, the late Doris Entwisle, and Linda Olson were awarded The Grawemeyer Award in Education for their recent Rose book, The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood.
In 2015, we had 23 members on our editorial board. We are grateful to our editorial board and would like to thank our outgoing members (Sharon R. Bird, Enobong [Anna] Branch, Alice Fothergill, Joseé Johnston, Maria Krysan, Jennifer Lee, John R. Logan, Jody Miller, Kari Marie Norgaard, Emilio A. Parrado, William G. Roy, and Assata Zeria) and welcome our new members (Joyce Bell, Sylvia Fuller, Alexandra Hrycak, Tomás Jiménez, Mary Ellen Konieczny, John Lang, Lori Peek, Andrés Villarreal, Sarah Wakefield, and Geoff Ward).
Lee Clarke, Lauren Krivo, Paul McLean, Patricia Roos, Editors
In our first year as coeditors, we have strived to continue to publish a wide variety of work relevant to the social psychological research community. One of our primary goals was to increase the number of articles published in each volume. To reach this goal, we instituted a 10,000 word limit for research manuscripts. We also brought back “Research Notes” to the journal. Research Notes are limited to 5,000 words, and they focus on new empirical findings on a theory in sociological social psychology. Volume 78 has 20 papers, which is up from 16 in the prior year. There are 16 articles, Thomas Pettigrew’s Cooley-Mead Address, which was introduced by Tim Hallett, and three Research Notes. Volume 78 covers a wide range of topics including race, mental health/well-being, interpersonal relationships, religion, prejudice, gender, life course, trust, network processes, inequality, emotions, cooperation, and identity processes.
We also wanted to increase the use of SNAPS, which are articles that are reduced in length and can be used as a teaching device in the classroom. They are housed on the SAGE website for viewing and download. We included more information about the SNAPS collection and our forthcoming SNAPS in each subscriber letter to our readers that immediately preceded each issue in Volume 78. As a result, we saw a small increase in the access of the SNAPS articles on the SAGE website. From January 2014-April 2015 there were 11.8 views per month.
From April 2015-April 2016 there were 24.2 views per month.
We began accepting manuscripts for Volume 78 on August 1, 2014. The editorial office is located at the University of California-Riverside. Editors Richard Serpe and Jan Stets, and managing editor Ryan Trettevik meet weekly via Adobe Connect. This first year, our Deputy Editors, Linda George, Will Kalkhoff, and Donileen Loseke have been of great assistance serving as the Primary Managing Editor for a total of 43 new manuscript submissions. Their expertise has identified strong reviewers and clear advice regarding each manuscript’s potential contribution. Donileen Loseke assumed the role of President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems for 2016 and stepped down in August as Deputy Editor of SPQ. Michael Flaherty (Eckerd College) joined the editorial team as a Deputy Editor in August. He has expertise in interpretive/qualitative approaches and has maintained the balance of methodological approaches among the Deputy Editors. In addition to the editorial team, Gianna Mosser continues as the copyeditor, having performed that role for the prior two SPQ editors. Rounding out the editorial team are two editorial assistants, Phoenicia Fares (University of California-Riverside), and Elena Fox (Kent State University).
The editorial board for Volume 78 had a good balance of subspecialties and methodological approaches within social psychology. Demographically, the 2015 editorial board consisted of 34 members with six minorities and 16 women. During the first year, we made a commitment to have an editorial board member as a reviewer for each manuscript. Therefore, the editorial board for 2016 was increased to 39 members and includes seven minorities and 20 female members of the 39 member board (including the Deputy Editors).
During the first year, we put a call out for submissions for our Special Issue: “Methodological Advances and Applications in Social Psychology” with coeditors Kathy Charmaz (Sonoma State University) and Jane Sell (Texas A&M University). We received 27 submissions, and we are planning to publish the special issue in December 2016. We expect a good mix of qualitative and quantitative research articles and research notes.
In our proposal to edit SPQ, we committed to developing a social media presence for the journal. Over the past year, we established both a Facebook and Twitter presence. We currently have 216 “Likes” on Facebook and 91 “Followers” on Twitter. We are using both Facebook and Twitter to promote each issue of the journal. We do this by making two Facebook posts and two tweets over a short period of time for each of the articles that are about to be published in the journal. We started this with the March 2015 issue. The research community’s engagement with the journal through social media is slowly increasing.
During the calendar year 2015, Social Psychology Quarterly received about the same number of submissions as in past years. From January 1 through December 31, 2015, 233 manuscripts were submitted to the journal. This number is slightly higher than the 200 manuscripts submitted 2014.
Using the acceptance rate in which acceptances are divided only by final decisions, SPQ’s acceptance rate for 2015 was 11.81 percent whereas the acceptance rate for 2014 was 12.24 percent. Using the traditional indicator for the acceptance rate in which acceptances are divided by the number of overall decisions, SPQ’s acceptance rate was 7.4 percent compared to 9.42 percent in 2014 and 7.69 percent in 2013.
We ask our reviewers to evaluate a manuscript within three weeks. In most cases, we have received reviews in less than 21 days. As a result, we averaged 36 days from submission to an editorial decision in 2015. We want to acknowledge that this turnaround time is due to both the hard work of our colleagues who review for the journal and our editorial board. In 2015, we received reviews from 248 members of the scientific community, not including reviews from our 34 members of the editorial board.
Richard T. Serpe and Jan E. Stets, Editors
The year 2015 marked the sixth year for Sociological Methodology editor Tim F. Liao and managing editor Lisa Savage at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This year (2016) will be the first year of Duane Alwin’s editorship, locating the journal beginning January 1, 2016, at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA.
Volume 45, Tim Liao’s last issue, became available online in its entirety in August 2015 and in print soon after. This volume featured a symposium on multidimensional sequence analysis, which included one main paper, along with seven commentaries and a rejoinder. In addition, the volume contains two papers on “big data,” three papers on data collection, management and analysis, and three papers devoted to the analysis of inequalities.
In July 2015, after completion of the 2015 volume, Tim Liao turned over all duties of editor-in-chief to Duane Alwin. Tim also passed along a substantial amount of completed work—at that point there were five articles accepted for publication for the 2016 volume, along with four articles that had received a conditional accept. This effort on Tim’s part gave us a head start in putting together the 2016 volume, work that continued under Alwin’s editorship and is soon to be completed (see below).
For the entire year of 2015, 57 manuscripts were considered, 31 of which were new submissions, and 26 were resubmissions of one sort or another. Of the 31 new submissions, 7 were rejected without peer review, and 24 were placed into the review process. Of the 24 manuscripts reviewed, 10 were rejected and 11 were invited to resubmit a revised manuscript (3 remain undecided).
The acceptance rate based on all the submissions and resubmissions in 2015 was 19.1 %. The average number of weeks to decision was 13.2, ranging from 1.7 weeks for papers rejected without peer review, to 10.5 weeks for papers rejected after review, to 21.3 weeks for papers invited to revise and resubmit, and an average of 11.2 weeks for papers accepted unconditionally and/or accepted subject to minor changes.
Sociological Methodology continues to benefit greatly from the ScholarOne online manuscript tracking system for all new and revised submissions. We currently have a healthy stream of new submissions and resubmissions.
In preparation for Volume 46, we have almost all the manuscripts ready for publication. This work will be completed in July 2016, and we project that this volume will come out some time in late summer 2016.
Tim F. Liao, Editor (2010-2015)
Duane F. Alwin, Editor (2016-2018)
This past year was another busy one at Sociological Theory. We received 153 new submissions, not quite as many as in 2014, when we received a record 184 new submissions, but far more than in 2013 (112), 2012 (118), or any other year at ST. In addition, we considered 39 manuscripts carried over from 2014. We published a total of 15 papers, all of these reviewed and accepted under Neil Gross’s editorship.
One of my intended innovations as the new editor is to publish manuscripts of widely varying lengths, including a few slightly longer than our usual 14,500 word count limit and others considerably shorter. In the next issue, a brief but excellent piece already will be coming out, as will a paper that is slightly longer than the standard length. Ideas don’t always come in standard-size packages. Also, I have dedicated myself to publishing occasional symposia around short but agenda-setting, thought-provoking papers; one such symposium already is in the works.
Sociological Theory publishes work that represents the entire breadth of concerns and topical interests in sociological theorizing today. Some of our papers are “pure theory” pieces, while others are empirical studies whose theoretical contributions happen to be particularly innovative, original, creative, and important. I am dedicated to keeping ST an exciting and vital publication venue for the discipline.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank some colleagues who in the past year have contributed to maintaining ST’s standing as a successful and flourishing ASA journal. Many sociologists around the country and, indeed, throughout the world have reviewed papers for us in timely fashion and with great thoughtfulness and insight. Members of our editorial board also have been willing to set aside their other work, sometimes on short notice, and to assist us with reviews and sometimes also with guest editing. Their help is greatly appreciated. Finally, since well before I started editing ST, and throughout the past year I’ve been on the job, our managing editor, Joe Wiebe, has been of tremendous help to me. I can’t thank him enough for his dedication to the journal and for all he does behind the scenes to make sure our operation runs smoothly and efficiently.
Mustafa Emirbayer, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2015 was a great year for SOE. The journal featured high-quality articles that were diverse with respect to theoretical orientation, methodological approach, geographic scope, and substantive topic. With your help, SOE will do even more in 2016 and beyond to reflect the rich diversity of scholarship in the area.
In 2016 my team will seek to attract more diverse submissions, to maintain low turn-around times while simultaneously providing good feedback, to publish more articles, and to use social media more effectively. But we do so with continuing awareness that our predecessors have built and nurtured a great journal. Former Editors Sussman, Trow, Bidwell, Kitsuse, Entwisle, Kerckhoff, Hallinan, Wexler, Wrigley, Walters, Pallas, Alexander, Schneider, and Bills are responsible for making SOE the top journal in its subfield and among the best in both sociology and education. Our goal continues to be maintaining their momentum; in 2016 we re-commit to leaving the journal at least as strong and vibrant as when we inherited it.
Manuscript Flow: This report covers the manuscript activity of the journal from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015. As shown in the table below, SOE received 211 new submissions and 245 submissions total. As far as I can tell, both are records for the journal.
The acceptance rate for SOE—the number of unconditionally accepted articles (17) divided by the number of final decisions (219, which excludes “revise and resubmit” decisions)—was 7.7 percent. About 21.5 percent of new manuscripts were desk rejected—rejected without undergoing external peer review. However you calculate it, SOE’s acceptance rate was low in 2015. The bottom line: SOE has been getting more than 200 new submissions in recent years but has only been publishing 16 to 18 articles per year.
During 2015 the time from manuscript submission to the delivery of a decision email averaged fewer than 5 weeks. Among manuscripts that underwent external peer review—that is, excluding desk rejects—the average was just under 6 weeks. As shown in the figure below, virtually all new submissions received a decision within 7 weeks. How have we managed to reduce the journal’s response time in recent years, despite the higher number of submissions? One answer: SOE’s reviewers are amazing. The average reviewer took about 20 days to submit their recommendation; most reviewers are as constructive and thoughtful as they are timely. Another answer: A shift in cultural expectations. As our submission-to-decision times have come down, reviewers are informed that they risk holding up the process if they delay. Also, authors who themselves receive quick and useful feedback tend to subsequently review thoughtfully and quickly when they are called on to do so.
Days from Submissions to Decision, New Manuscripts, 2015
Our production lag (the time it takes for an accepted manuscript to actually appear in the journal) is about 3 months. That is, most accepted manuscripts appear in the next issue of the journal.
Reviewers and Reviewing: In 2015, my staff and I sent 1,792 invitations to review manuscripts to 1,059 different people. Those invitations yielded 577 completed reviews by 422 different people. I sincerely thank the people who reviewed for SOE in 2015.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the six exceptional reviewers to whom I gave “Revise and Resubmit” (Reviewer of the Year) Awards in August of 2015. They are Margaret Frye, Harper Haynes, Jacob Hibel, Yasmiyn Irizarry, Dara Schifrer, and Ken Shores. I look forward to continuing this tradition in 2016.
Editorial Team: In 2015 I leaned heavily on my team of Deputy Editors. Amy Binder, Eric Grodsky, and Evan Schofer continued to serve valiantly in this capacity. They advise on tough decisions, they spread the word about our desire to expand the number and breadth of manuscripts coming into the journal, they set me straight when I mess up, they fill in as spot reviewers in a pinch, and they talk me off the ledge when things go wrong. They have helped me to better, more clearly, and more liberally define what counts as good “sociology of education.”
In 2015 I also continued to lean heavily on SOE’s fantastic Editorial Board. I want to first thank the following people who completed three year terms on the Editorial Board at the end of 2015: Irenee Beattie, Karen Bradley, Soo-yong Byun, Sin Yi Cheung, Thurston Domina, Kevin Dougherty, Michelle Jackson, Jennifer Jennings, Leticia Marteleto, Amy Orr, Justin Powell, Francisco Ramirez, Arthur Sakamoto, Tony Tam, and Florencia Torche.
I also appreciate the efforts of continuing Board members: Steven Alvarado, Elizabeth A. Armstrong, Katerina Bodovski, Ebony Bridwell-Mitchell, Jessica Calarco, Susan A. Dumais, Jason Fletcher, Pat Goldsmith, Kimberly Goyette, Laura Hamilton, Emily Hannum, Jacob Hibel, Yasmiyn Irizarry, Melanie Jones Gast, ChangHwan Kim, Joshua Klugman, Irena Kogan, Amy Langenkamp, Jennifer Lee, Ervin Matthew, Jal Mehta, Hiroshi Ono, Lauren Rivera, Keith Robinson, Argun Saatcioglu, Karolyn Tyson, Wout Ultee, Elizabeth Vaquera, Natasha Warikoo, Raymond Wong, and Xiaogang Wu.
Finally, SOE welcomed several new members to the Board for three year terms that began on January 1, 2016: Janice Aurini, Douglas Downey, Stella Flores, Roberto Gonzalez, Amy Hsin, Simone Ispa-Landa, Joscha Legewie, Andrew Penner, Daisy Verduzco Reyes, Jenny Stuber, Gregory Wolniak, and Christine Min Wotipka.
In all, the Board includes 24 women, 20 men, and 20 racial/ethnic minorities.
SOE welcomes submissions from across the broad substantive concerns of the field and is receptive to a wide array of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches. Send your education-related manuscripts to SOE, and have your colleagues do the same.
Rob Warren, Editor
Review Process: Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World was launched in 2015. Socius, an open access journal, is an outlet for innovative, rigorously-reviewed scholarship that spans sociology subfields and provides free and rapid access to users across the world. Our goals are to publish high-quality, rigorously-reviewed research online.
Given that the journal was only open for submissions from August to December of 2015, we were pleased with the number of papers we received, reviewed, and published. Socius received a total of 43 new manuscripts, and we rejected 20 of these outright. This desk reject rate is higher than in traditional print journals; however, two important objectives for Socius are a quick turnaround (from submission to publication) and limited R&Rs. Both of these goals are intended to respect the time of authors and reviewers, to move promising papers through the review process more efficiently, and to avoid spending inordinate reviewer and editor time on manuscripts that are unlikely to be published.
We reviewed 23 papers in 2015, and we made final decisions on 100 percent of the reviewed papers. We ultimately accepted 14 and rejected 4 of the reviewed papers; one paper was withdrawn by the authors during the review process. The relatively low volume during this start-up period allowed us to work a bit more closely with reviewers to convey that our review process is intended to be slightly different from the traditional process: although we seek to review manuscripts thoroughly and with high standards, continuing to turn papers around quickly requires that reviewers complete reviews more efficiently than has become the case at many other journals. To accomplish this, we send potential reviewers a detailed invitation including information on our goals and evaluation criteria. We explain that we will not forward papers to be reviewed if the work is obviously not up to current social science standards of writing or analysis; we prefer short, clear evaluations of papers rather than development review; and we seek clear recommendations to authors and editors. We also explain that we use four criteria for review: accuracy, novelty, interest, and presentation (i.e., quality of writing and organizing). Many reviewers voiced support for this new model, and we were pleased that our reviewers followed these guidelines and offered timely, high-quality, focused reviews.
The online format in which Socius is published means that papers are also not restricted by print page limits or traditional manuscript format. We can, for example, easily accommodate papers that do not follow the traditional structure (introduction, theory, methods, etc.), include multiple color figures, have various linked appendices, etc. We have begun to see submissions that take advantage of this flexibility, and we anticipate that authors will become even more creative as they grow accustomed to the new publication format.
Visibility and Successes: Again, given the brief period in which Socius was operating this year, the journal was very successful. We attracted and published high-quality papers and provided both authors and reviewers a straightforward publication experience. On author thanked us for what he called “an uncommonly good publishing experience,” and other authors have expressed similar gratitude for the quick turnaround we have offered despite continuing to provide rigorous reviews of articles.
We have worked closely with ASA media relations staff to publicize the journal and published articles, and this effort is paying off: several papers published in Socius have already attracted considerable media and online attention. For example, Emma Mishel’s paper “Discrimination against Queer Women in the U.S. Workforce: A Résumé Audit Study” and David Peterson’s “The Baby Factory: Difficult Research Objects, Disciplinary Standards, and the Production of Statistical Significance” immediately attracted attention from several news sources. We have also done some writing ourselves to publicize and clarify the goals of the new journal. We have a piece forthcoming on the Social Science Research Council’s Digital Culture project in which we help launch a discussion about the challenges of traditional print publishing and the ways that journals like Socius may help overcome those challenges. We are currently writing a similar piece to be published by the American Sociologist.
We are also beginning to organize specialized paper collections (i.e., special issues). For example, we are planning a special paper collection on the upcoming presidential election, to be edited by Pamela Paxton. We are also planning a special paper collection, to be edited by David Grusky and Cristobal Young, on a contemporary challenge to science: the publication of findings based on fully- or partially-fabricated data. We anticipate distributing calls for papers for each special collection by mid-2016.
Range of Submissions: The topics of manuscripts submitted to Socius have been wide-ranging reflecting the diverse ideas and issues studied by sociologists. We have received papers from nearly all sociological subfields and using various forms of argument and analysis.
Editorial Board, Reviewers, and Staff: We have a strong and diverse editorial board, and the journal has been well-received by reviewers as well allowing us to attract a strong pool here as well. Our board is overwhelmingly male, and we aim to attract more female board members in future years. We have also made efforts to attract board members from underrepresented groups, and we have had some success; however, we hope to improve the diversity of the board as well. The Socius staff is comparatively lean. We have three Editorial Associates, graduate students who give papers a first read and help decide whether to review or desk reject papers. The Associate Editors also help identify reviewers.
Challenges: Of course, we still face important challenges. One challenge we have faced already is ensuring that reviewers are on-board with our efforts to review articles more quickly than has been the case in traditional print publishing. As we noted above, we have been pleased at the initial response of reviewers on this issue. Another important challenge is continuing to attract high quality papers. We have attracted a relatively large number of excellent papers from both highly-visible scholars of all ranks and new professors/graduate students. However, we hope that continuing to do targeted advertising, including of published papers, will encourage authors to submit their highest-quality work to the journal. We are also hoping to expand comment sections and make it easier for authors to add supplementary material – all things that can be done in different scales and timeframes than is traditional Similarly, we would like to increase the visibility of the data visualizations, which requires some adjustments to the SAGE webpage.
Lisa A. Keister and James W. Moody, Editors
Teaching Sociology continues to be at the forefront of the scholarship of teaching and learning in sociology. Manuscripts continue to flow into the journal and there are exciting plans for special editions to come in the next two years.
Under the editorship of Stephen Sweet and with Deputy Editor Michele Lee Kozimor-King, Teaching Sociology Volume 43 (2015) published 58 works, including 12 articles, 3 conversations, 9 notes, and 34 book and film reviews. In addition, there were four editorial comments that provided guidance on successful submission strategies.
In addition, the Teaching Sociology editorial team worked with the editorial team of the Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology (TRAILS) to create linkages between these two resources. A trial linkage is planned to be tested in Summer 2016, in which searches performed in TRAILS will identify Teaching Sociology citations.
Manuscript Flow. In 2015, 41 new manuscripts and 20 revised manuscripts were received. For new submissions, the manuscript statistics are: 32 percent were either accepted or conditionally accepted; 42 percent were invited to revise and resubmit, 20 percent were rejected, and 7 percent were withdrawn by the authors. Nearly all revised manuscripts received were accepted or conditionally accepted (90 percent).
The volume of submissions in 2015 was lower than in prior years and it is not clear why. To address this concern editorial teams have presented workshops on how to publish in Teaching Sociology at regional conferences and the editorial board has committed itself to encourage submissions. The editor has also worked closely with authors to help them identify strategies of enhancing potential and revised manuscripts.
Thanks to a wonderful set of reviewers and strong commitment from members of the editorial board, the mean time-to-first decision of 3.5 weeks. Because many of the manuscripts that were revisions did not need to receive a second round of peer review, the turnaround was even faster, averaging 1.1 weeks for revised manuscripts. Almost always reviewers were assigned and committed within 3-4 days of initial receipt of any manuscript.
Editorial Board. There were 34 members on the Editorial Board. 71 percent were female and 26 percent were minorities. Individual members of the editorial board commonly performed 3-4 reviews in 2015.
Stephen Sweet, Editor