Editors' Reports for 2011

 

For further details on the information presented below, please see the View in PDF Summary of Editorial Activity table (PDF). For previous reports, click here.

American Sociological Review Contemporary Sociology
Contexts Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Rose Series Social Psychology Quarterly
Sociological Methodology Sociological Theory
Sociology of Education Teaching Sociology

 

 

American Sociological Review 


Review ProcessThe American Sociological Review (ASR) received a large number of high-quality submissions during the 2011 calendar year. From January 1 through December 31, 2011, we considered a total of 765 manuscripts submitted to the journal, a 30 percent increase over the previous year. We attribute the increase to ASR’s 2010 first-place ranking in impact score by Journal Citation Reports and the ease of the journal’s new electronic submission system. Of the 765 manuscripts submitted, 543 were new submissions and 222 were revisions. In addition, the journal carried over 121 manuscripts from the previous year, which were manuscripts still under review.

Using the traditional ASA indicator for the acceptance rate (that is, the number of accepted manuscripts divided by the number of overall decisions), ASR’s acceptance rate for the year was 6 percent. (Using the method of calculating the acceptance rate proposed by England [in Footnotes, March 2009], in which acceptances are divided only by final decisions, the ASR acceptance rate was 9 percent.)

We, as editors, conducted the review process as efficiently as possible to continue ASR’s timely review process, something we believe is important to all scholars, but especially newer scholars in the discipline. The journal’s mean turnaround time remained low, at 11.49 weeks, and we maintained the journal’s low turnaround time even as the number of manuscripts submitted climbed.


Visibility and SuccessesWe continue a number of new initiatives introduced with our editorship to increase the visibility of ASR. For instance, we provide an e-mail announcement to all subscribers of the journal, containing the table of contents for each issue and a direct link to the ASR SAGE site (http://asr.sagepub.com/) where articles can be viewed online. This provides easy electronic access for subscribers to the journal’s content. We also provide Spanish translations of article abstracts and a translation of one full article per issue. These appear on the ASR SAGE website and help disseminate ASR’s scholarly research to a wider, international audience.

This year we also introduced a new feature, inviting authors to provide a podcast in which they discuss their published work. Links to these podcasts can be found on the ASR SAGE website. We believe that students in particular, but faculty and others as well, will find these discussions by authors highly accessible and interesting. Faculty can also use these podcasts to augment class discussion of cutting-edge sociological research.

In addition, we continue the practice of past editors of preparing press-friendly abstracts of all ASR articles. These are also available on the website. The ASA’s press officer and authors’ university press officers are sent these media-friendly summaries for use in their own press releases, which are then brought to the attention of relevant media outlets. Such coordination, among the ASR office, authors’ university media relations experts, and the ASA press office, works well, with many ASR articles receiving high press visibility during the past year, including in the New York Times, CNN, ABC News, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, to name just some of the outlets.

Articles appearing in ASR also generated excitement in the field and received awards and accolades from ASA sections. More generally, ASR is widely read in sociology and the social sciences. Journal Citation Reports gives ASR an impact factor of 3.693, the highest in our discipline. On this same measure, ASR is among the top 50 journals in the social sciences as a whole.


Range of Submissions: The topics of manuscripts submitted to ASR, and the methodologies employed by these manuscripts, remain wide ranging and reflect the diversity and richness of our field. Experimental research and manuscripts that are primarily methodological or exclusively theoretical in focus continue to remain underrepresented in the pages of ASR due to limited submissions. We, like past editorial teams, encourage such submissions. The submission of qualitative, historical, and mixed-methods articles continued to rise in 2011, reflecting the methodological diversity and innovation currently occurring across the discipline. We also saw numerous manuscripts of high quality that bridged multiple sub-disciplinary areas and thus carried the potential of wide appeal within the sociological community. As the discipline’s flagship journal, ASR has and continues to seek innovative manuscripts that reflect breadth of contribution to the discipline.


Editorial Board and Reviewers: During our editorship, we found that a key ingredient to ensuring that the true richness and excitement of the field makes its way into the pages of ASR is by assembling a strong and diverse reviewer pool. We maintained diversity on the editorial board with the help of a large, theoretically and methodologically diverse group of six deputy editors, to whom we owe a great deal of thanks for their capable and careful assistance with the review process.

In addition, the 2011 ASR editorial board was composed of 70 members. Of these, 43 percent are women and 33 percent are racial and/or ethnic minorities. We thank existing board members, especially those recently rotating off the board after a three-year commitment. We also welcome new board members. In addition to maintaining an active, conscientious, and thoughtful editorial board, we also continue to expand the reviewer pool. This expansion has been important not only to help handle the substantial increase in manuscript submissions, but also for more effectively tapping into the strong body of scholars, including new scholars and international scholars, who read ASR and are engaged in similar research. We believe this expansion of the reviewer pool also helps contribute to the rise in the number of manuscript submissions, including from non-U.S. sociologists.


Challenges: Limited page allocations and the desire to publish as many articles as possible continue to push issues of article length to the fore. Many journals are restricting submissions to word counts as low as 8,500 words. We, as editors, recognize that publishing diverse articles and serving a diverse audience warns against rigid limits. We therefore ask authors to limit their word counts to 15,000 words or below. Most articles published in the journal are between 11,000 and 12,000 words. We constantly encourage authors to edit their articles toward the most effective lengths with the highest readability for our general sociological audience. 

We, as editors, are very excited about the research published in ASR during 2011. You will find some of the very best scholarship in our discipline among the journal’s pages, and we are delighted to have played a role in making this stellar work available to a wide sociological audience. We invite you to consider sending your work to ASR, where it will receive a timely, careful, and fair consideration.

Tony Brown, Katharine Donato, Larry Isaac, and Holly McCammon, Editors

 

Contemporary Sociology 


Books Considered: The editorial office of Contemporary Sociology received 1,310 books from publishers during 2011. The total number of books that the editor examined was 1,310.
 

Review Process: Five hundred and one (501) books were screened by the editor and accepted for review for the year, and the number of reviews received for the year was 437. Four hundred and seventy-eight (478) regular reviews were finished and published in Volume 40, plus 32 review essays. Six hundred and forty-five (645) were classified as "No Review," and 120 were reviewed as "Briefly Noted." There were 55 "New Books" pending triage at the time of this report. (Note: These figures do not total 1,310 because some books have not yet been assigned for review, or reviews have not yet been submitted, or the books have not yet been considered by our Editorial Board.)
 

Production Lag: Between the time a book arrives for review consideration and the review (if any) is published, the most time-consuming ingredient in the process is the length of 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, which occurs every two 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 breakdown of the items published in Volume 40 contain the following: 329 book reviews, 32 review essays, 9 comments, 5 editor's remarks, and 120 books reviewed in "Briefly Noted." The total number of items published is 495.
 

Editorial Board Members and Reviewers: Twenty-three women and 20 men comprised the editorial board in 2011. This included 8 minorities, and 12 foreign editorial board members, including 5 women and 7 men.

Alan Sica, Editor

 

Contexts 


The year 2011 marked the final year of our editorship of Contexts, the ASA publication designed to bring sociology to broader public visibility and influence. We thank our colleagues at ASA and the ASA Committee on Publications for their support of Contexts and our editorial team in Minnesota.

When we assumed the editorial reins in 2008, there was some uncertainty about the future of Contexts, stemming from questions about funding and financing, a lack of clarity about the mission and editorial vision, and the conclusion of the initial 10-year business model used to launch the publication. We believe the publication has been stabilized over the past four years. We refreshed the layout and design of the publication and consolidated the editorial vision. We participated in the process to identify a new publishing partner (SAGE). And we demonstrated the potential of online outreach and distribution to reach larger audiences and bring sociology to broader public visibility and influence.

In our final year, we worked with our section editors and diverse author pool to publish some 78 pieces, 22 of which were peer-reviewed feature articles. Our total acceptance rate stood at 8.57 percent, while our revised (that is, only our final decisions) rate was 15 percent. (Those who are familiar with Contexts know that we have a fairly intensive revision and review process; for features, it starts with a proposal, which we then “green-light” or return, submission of a full-length manuscript, peer review, acceptance or rejection, and rewriting and revision, editing, and layout/design.) The number of acceptances documented here is a bit down from previous years due to the editorial transition and the fact that we transferred the submission and review process over to the new editorial team in August 2011. Our goal was to leave the new editors with one full issue’s worth of strong features in hand, but to otherwise limit our “acceptances” to avoid creating a publication backlog.

We also worked closely with Arlene Stein and Jodi O’Brien in the transition to their editorship. This included a transfer of files, exchange of design templates, and much communication about various features, production systems, and design elements. Stein and O’Brien have decided to stay with the Minnesota-based ThinkDesign group for at least their first year to maintain a certain degree of comfort and continuity with the look, design, and feel of the publication. We also passed on about a dozen feature article submissions in various stages of development and review. (One of the ongoing challenges of the publication is building a pipeline of new authors and submissions, especially from colleagues in the field who are most well positioned and able to write to a broader, public audience). Suffice to say, we wish the new editors the best and indeed look forward to working closely with them in the coming year in hosting Contexts.org on our Minnesota website.

The year 2011 also brought the production and release of a new edition of the Contexts Reader with W.W. Norton. About two-thirds of the Reader is new content, most of it pulled from articles produced during our editorial term. Our Minnesota team also prepared the teaching questions and exercises that accompany each of these selections, wrote a new introduction, and proofed the entire manuscript. With this Reader and all of the other content and activities of our term, we hope and believe that we leave Contexts positioned to reach even greater visibility and influence in years to come.

Doug Hartmann and Chris Uggen, Outgoing Editors

 

Journal of Health and Social Behavior 


The Journal of Health and Social Behavior (JHSB) 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 2011 we have published and accepted for publication papers reflecting a broad range of issues in health, illness, and healing. In 2011, and forthcoming in 2012, JHSB included theoretical as well as empirical papers, international and U.S.-based studies, and research on health care policy and professions, the relationship between health, social networks and social capital, health behaviors throughout the life course, psychological distress and mental health, stigma, and life course health processes including cumulative disadvantage. Many of the articles in 2011 emphasized minority health, gender and health, health disparities, and the social context of health including schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, and families. These articles used a wide range of quantitative as well as qualitative methods. A number of articles used innovative methods, proposing new solutions to existing methodological problems. Keeping with JHSB’s mission statement, published and forthcoming 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 with important consequences for access to and quality of care.
 

Journal Operations: Journal operations ran smoothly in 2011. Most important, we worked very hard to continue reducing the turnaround time for manuscripts despite a slight increase in the number of submissions. The average turnaround time from receipt of a submission to decision in 2011 was 6.43 weeks (compared with 7.7 weeks in 2010).  In 2011, we processed 330 papers (compared with 322 in 2010). The “traditional” acceptance rate, which counts all decisions, was 7.77 percent, down from 10.8 percent in 2010. The “new” acceptance rate, which counts only final decisions, was 11.17 percent, down from 12 percent in 2010. The mean production lag (i.e., the time between acceptance of a paper and its appearance in print) was 6.3 months, compared with 7.7 months in 2010.

We published 27 papers in 2011, as well as 4 policy briefs. With the March 2011 issue, JHSB launched the policy brief series, for which I select one article from each issue that has significant policy implications to showcase in a one-page brief directed at policymakers, media outlets, and the general public. With this policy brief series, we aim to promote press awareness and wider dissemination of JHSB articles that are directly relevant to policy concerns. The editorial office works closely with the author(s) to develop the brief in a way that illustrates the relevance of rigorous medical sociological research to health in the “real world.” 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.

Journal operations were managed primarily by outstanding half-time managing editors, the Managing Editor for Reviews (Mieke Beth Thomeer) and Managing Editors for Production (Corinne Reczek and Christine Wheatley), as well as our Graduate Editorial Assistant (Kristine Kilanski).
 

Editorial Board and Deputy Editors: I want to thank JHSB's continuing Deputy Editors: Ronald J. Angel, Chloe E. Bird, Mark D. Hayward, Robert A. Hummer, and Stephanie A. Robert. New Deputy Editors include Gilbert Gee and Michael Hughes. Gilbert Gee finished a three-year term as an associate editor and transitioned to deputy editor.

At the end of 2011, eleven editorial board members rotated off the board: Clifford L. Broman, Gilbert Gee, Steven Haas, Fred E. Markowitz, Illan H. Meyer, Melissa A. Milkie, Deborah K. Padgett, Jo C. Phelan, Stefan Timmermans, Kristi L. Williams, and Andrea E. Willson, 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 14 new members whose terms run from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2014. New board members include Benjamin Cornwell, Brian Finch, Bridget Goosby, Thomas A. LaVeist, Kyriakos Markides, Kei Nomaguchi, Sigrun Olafsdottir, Christian Ritter, Kristen Springer, Kristin Turney, Koji Ueno, Rebecca Utz, Edna Viruell-Fuentes, and Zhenmei Zhang. 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 in 2011 was a diverse group, not only in terms of gender (50 percent female) and race/ethnicity (14 percent minority), but also in terms of research methodology and substantive specialties. The 2012 editorial board is similar in terms of gender composition (52 percent female) but significantly more diverse in terms of race/ethnicity (now 24.4 percent minority). The articles we publish in 2012 continue to represent a range of methodological approaches and substantive specialties.

Debra Umberson, Editor

 

Rose Book Series 

 

Stony Brook Editors:  The year 2011 was our sixth and final year as an editorial team and it was also a record year for publication. Three books came out in 2011, two more were in production by the end of the year and have since been published, and another is currently in production. In addition, two sets of authors completed drafts of their books and participated in seminars at Russell Sage this year.  

Because the transition period began in July, we did little recruiting of potential authors in 2011. However, we received more proposals than usual during the first half of the year. In accordance with the policy of our publisher, Russell Sage, we accepted one proposal out of those submitted.

In total, over the past six years the Stony Brook editors accepted 10 books; one more (contracted by the previous editors) is still under contract. We would like to note in closing, that the Rose Series can now be considered a source of pride for the ASA—five of the books published in the last six years have (among them) won nine awards!
 

Rutgers Editors: July 1, 2011 marked the beginning of the Rose Series editorial transition from Stony Brook to Rutgers University. The editorial transition became official on January 1, 2012 with Rutgers University lead editors assuming responsibility. From July through December, both editorial groups worked closely to ensure a smooth transition. The editorial groups collaborated to develop a shepherding plan for manuscripts currently under contract that was approved by ASA. The aim of shepherding is to sustain the editorial integrity, facilitate continuity, and ensure that future editors do not have a large backlog of projects signed by their predecessors. It is now the responsibility of the editorial group that contracts a manuscript to continue to shepherd it through to publication. Currently, there are five manuscripts that will be co-shepherded by a lead editor at Stony Brook and a secondary editor at Rutgers.

 

New Publications

  • “They Say Cutback: We Say Fight Back!” Welfare Rights Activism in an Era of Retrenchment
    Ellen Reese

  • Nurturing Dads: Social Initiatives for Contemporary Fatherhood
    William Marsiglio and Kevin Roy.

  • American Memories: Atrocities and the Law
    Joachim J. Savelsberg and Ryan D. King

  • Social Movements in the World-System
    Jackie Smith and Dawn Wiest

  • Good Jobs, Bad Jobs: The Rise of Polarized and Precarious Employment Systems in the United States, 1970s to 2000s
    Arne L. Kalleberg

 

Books Currently under Contract
 

Stony Brook Editorial Group

  • Exceptional Children, Challenged Families: Raising Children With Disabilities
    Dennis Hogan

  • The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth and the Transition to Adulthood
    Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle and Linda Olson

  • Islam and Society: Movements, Structures, Critique
    Mohammed A. Bamyeh

  • The Logic of Terrorism: A Comparative Study
    Jeff Goodwin

  • Embedded Dependency
    Deirdre Royster

  • Family Relationships Across the Generations
    Judith A. Seltzer and Suzanne M. Bianchi

 

University of Massachusetts Editorial Group

  • Repressive Injustice: Political and Social Processes in the Massive Incarceration of African Americans
    Pamela E. Oliver and James E. Yocum

 

Award Winners among Recent Publications

  • Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and Americans' Definitions of Family
    Brian Powell, Catherine Bolzendahl, Claudia Geist, and Lala Carr Steelman. 2010. New York: Russell Sage.
    2011 American Sociological Association’s William J. Goode Award for outstanding book, Section on Sociology of Family
    2011 North Central Sociological Association’s Scholarly Achievement Award
    2011 Midwest Sociological Society’s Distinguished Book Award

  • Passing the Torch: Does Higher Education for the Disadvantaged Pay Off Across the Generations?
    Paul Attewell and David Lavin. 2007. New York: Russell Sage.
    2009 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education
    2009 American Educational Research Association Best Book of the Year Award

  • Beyond the Boycott: Labor Rights, Human Rights, and Transnational Activism
    Gay W. Seidman. 2007. New York: Russell Sage.
    2008 honorable mention from the ASA’s Section on Labor and Labor Movements

  • Market Friendly or Family Friendly? The State and Gender Inequality in Old Age 
    Madonna Harrington Meyer and Pamela Herd. 2007. New York: Russell Sage.
    2008 Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award from the Gerontological Society of America

  • Changing Rhythms of the American Family
    Suzanne M. Bianchi, John Robinson, and Melissa Milkie. 2006. New York: Russell Sage.
    2008 William Goode Book Award
    2007 Otis Dudley Duncan Award

Diane Barthel-Bouchier, Cynthia Bogard, Michael Kimmel, Daniel Levy, Tim Moran, Naomi Rosenthal, Michael Schwartz, and Gilda Zwerman, Outgong Editors

Lee Clarke, Judith Gerson, Lauren Krivo, Paul McLean, and Patricia Roos, Incoming Editors

 

Social Psychology Quarterly 


As we conclude the first full year of our coeditorship, we are pleased to report continuation of a Social Psychology Quarterly (SPQ) tradition: publishing cutting-edge research that represents a wide array of both substantive issues and methodological approaches and that shapes directions in sociological social psychology. During 2011 and forthcoming in 2012, articles cover diverse topics such as: self, identity, and stigma processes; intergroup dynamics; life course; mental and physical health; emotions; group processes; conversational analysis; culture; prejudice and discrimination; social inequality issues pertaining to race, gender, and sexuality; and work/family issues. We are particularly delighted that several articles highlight linkages within theoretical and empirical domains of social psychology. And, importantly, within each issue we provide readers with a range of offerings. In our quarterly subscriber letters, we highlight such linkages and the variety of our offerings as well as provide information on new developments affecting the journal.

We have continued the “Snaps” feature started by our predecessor, Gary Fine. Snaps offer shortened, lightened, and focused versions of some of the papers that SPQ publishes. Each SPQ Snap is about half the length of the published article yet emphasizes the major theoretical and substantive points and includes the most central tables and figures. We appreciate the extra effort and time our Snaps authors take to make their pieces available to students, especially undergraduates, in ways that are clear and usable. Snaps promote wide readership and ensure that an article transcends its scholarly purpose to also become a valuable teaching tool.

In addition, we are taking advantage of SAGE Publications’ offer to create podcasts pertaining to particular articles. To date, four authors have been interviewed. We are currently in contact with SAGE to ensure their proper posting. Like with Snaps, we see these podcasts as potential teaching tools to introduce young scholars to the exciting work of social psychologists. The podcasts will include, literally in the author’s own voice, what motivated the study and the implications of the results.

We have also made progress on two activities relevant to our mission. First, our website has undergone revision to make it more readable and user-friendly. We have eliminated repetitive links and revised our heading structure to streamline the appearance of the website. And, second, we have successfully published the Cooley-Mead address in the March issue so that there is only a six-month lag between presentation and publication of this special contribution. To do so requires us to be in close contact with the winner soon after the award announcement and to line up in advance potential reviewers.

Now that we have published a full volume, our goal is to make the contents of each issue of the journal known to a broad range of audiences. We will construct communiqués appropriate to various sections of ASA and other professional organizations indicating which SPQ articles would be especially relevant to the members of particular sections (e.g., articles focused on race would be sent to the Race and Ethnic Minorities section) or organizations with particular substantive foci (e.g., criminology or delinquency focused papers would be sent to the American Criminological Society). We hope to broaden this endeavor by also sending an issue’s table of contents to the notice of members of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, Society for Psychological Study of Social Issues, and relevant divisions of the Academy of Management. We also hope that our international editorial board members will help us reach to a captivated international audience.

Our commitment to broadening the readership of the journal as well as increasing submissions from what the chair of the Social Psychology section of the ASA has labeled “closeted social psychologists” remains strong. To that end, we are considering doing a special issue that might focus specifically on the role of social psychology in cognate subspecialties such as race, health, inequality, and criminology.  

These goals, however, would be impossible to achieve without the efficient functioning of the review and production process. Below we describe the review process in more detail. And, while we have experienced some bumps along the way in the production of the articles in the journal, we are thankful to the personnel at SAGE who responded quickly to our problems. Thus far, we have found SAGE to be an engaged partner.
 

Review Process: During the calendar year 2011 SPQ received a healthy number of high-quality submissions. From January 1 through December 31, 2011, we considered a total of 184 manuscripts submitted to the journal. Of these, 29 that were still under review carried over from the previous year and 155 were submitted in 2011 (126 new submissions).

Using the new acceptance rate in which acceptances are divided only by final decisions, SPQ’s acceptance rate for the year was 6.98 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 5.2 percent.

We, as coeditors, are strongly committed to conducting the review process in an efficient, fair, and timely manner, similar to SPQ editors of the past. We know the importance of timeliness for all scholars, but particularly newer scholars to the discipline. The journal’s mean turnaround time remained low, at 8.8 weeks, even as we utilized the new online submission system (SAGEtrack) for the entire year.


Editorial Team, Board, and Reviewers: Our editorial deputy editors Deborah Carr and Timothy Hallett augment our expertise and provide wise counsel. Each Deputy Editor handles a handful of manuscripts each year and shares with us reviewers’ comments and their editorial decisions prior to informing authors. Graduate editorial assistants Heather Scheuerman (January–July) and Lesley Watson (August–December) provided invaluable assistance in locating reviewers, maintaining the website, and organizing the journal office. The long-standing SPQ managing editor, Gianna Mosser, is a good implementer of timely, thoughtful journal operations. She facilitates the work of the coeditors and ensures that production runs smoothly.

The breadth of expertise on our editorial board ensures that we have access to experts who have signed on to be active and frequent reviewers. We wish to acknowledge the dedication and critical guidance of the outgoing board members. The composition of the board strikes a balance in terms of the representation of subspecialties and methodological approaches within social psychology. We also have good international representation and a nearly equal number of males and females serving. We recognize, however, that our board is not very diverse in terms of race and ethnicity. We are trying to resolve this issue by inviting more reviewers of color to examine manuscripts during 2012, with an eye to enlisting them as board members in the future.

With regard to reviewers, we invite sociologists, psychologists, and scholars from other cognate areas such as communications, criminal justice, organizational behavior and management, public health, and political science. In addition, a healthy number of our reviewers are international scholars. We have also expanded our reviewer base. In 2011, 273 scholars reviewed for the journal, up 186 from 2010. And to all board members and 2011 reviewers, we are sincerely grateful for their unfailing service to ensuring that we publish the very best papers in social psychology.

Karen A. Hegtvedt and Cathryn Johnson, Editors

 

Sociological Methodology 


The year 2011 marked the second full year for Sociological Methodology editor Tim F. Liao and managing editor Lisa Savage at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Volume 41, which became available in its entirety online in early November and was published on paper in December 2011, features ten articles in four important areas: ethnographical research, inference and bias, comparisons and differences, and social network analysis. Volume 41 also included three commentaries on snowball sampling and respondent-driven sampling.

For the entire year of 2011, 67 submissions and resubmissions were considered, and 60 of these were new submissions. Most of the considered submissions went into the review process, although 8 submissions were rejected without reviewing. Of the 59 submissions or resubmissions accepted for review in 2011, 11 were rejected outright, 22 were given a revise and resubmit, and five were given conditional acceptance. The traditional acceptance rate was 20.51 percent and the new acceptance rate was 28.57 percent (by not counting resubmissions separately). Half of these manuscripts considered took 8.98 or fewer weeks in the review process. Since last summer, we have started the preparation of moving manuscript submission from email based to an online system. On January 1, Sociological Methodology made the transfer over to SAGE and the SAGEtrack online manuscript tracking system. Now we take all new submissions through the online system. We currently have a healthy stream of new submissions and resubmissions, and we project that volume 42 will come out some time in fall 2012, slightly earlier than the publication date in 2011.

Tim F. Liao. Editor

 

Sociological Theory 


Sociological Theory (ST)—the subject matter and the journal—continued to truck along in 2011. Although our submission numbers declined from 2010, from 120 new submissions to 94, the quality of the manuscript pool remained high. In addition to the 94 new papers received, ST’s office here at the University of British Columbia processed decisions on 51 papers that had previously been given revise and resubmits, and published a total of 14 articles.

These 14 articles represent important contributions. The first issue of the year contained Neil Fligstein and Doug McAdam’s paper on “strategic action fields,” a terrific piece by Jeannette Colyvas and Stefan Jonsson on diffusion and institutionalization, and a paper by Ron Jepperson and John Meyer challenging methodological individualism. The second issue led off with a pioneering theoretical essay by Robert Jansen on populism, and also contained an important formal theory paper by Greta Hsu, Michael Hannan, and Laszlo Polos, as well as an innovative piece by Hiro Saito on cosmopolitanism. The quality was no lower in our third issue, with a very nice theoretical paper on economic sociology by Andrew Shrank and Josh Whitford, a thought-provoking essay by Jorge Fontdevila, M. Pilar Opazo, and Harrison White, and an extremely interesting contribution to action theory by Daniel Silver. The last issue was also rich, with two contributions to the study of classical sociology, one by Gregoire Mallard, recontextualizing Mauss’s The Gift, and another by Chad Goldberg on the place of Jews and Judaism in Durkheim’s sociology. The issue drew to a close with an article by Kuang-chi Chang theorizing guanxi, or Chinese social connections, from a new angle.

Given the diversity of these papers, and the others submitted that we were not able to publish, I relied very heavily on the advice of reviewers, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who gave their time this past year in service to the journal. Taking the counsel of my editorial board members, I increased slightly the number of papers I screened out in advance of the review process, to 33. This reduced the burden on the reviewer pool, and on editorial board members. Despite this, editorial lag increased in 2011 (we think—ASA’s Journal Builder software no longer allows for straightforward calculations of this)—a trend that I hope to reverse in 2012 now that we have made the transition to SAGE and its highly efficient manuscript processing software. The journal's traditional acceptance rate for 2011 was 8.2 percent, and its new rate (only using final decisions) was 10.42 percent.

That transition has occupied much of our office’s time over the past few months. Thanks to the hard work of Joe Wiebe, ST’s managing editor, and the good people at SAGE, including Jennifer Stephenson, Tom Mankowski, and Peter Alexander, everything has gone well so far, and our first SAGE issue is going to press as I write this report. Authors and reviewers may experience a few hiccups as we work through the final steps of the transition, but hopefully nothing more than that.

The year 2012 promises to be another stellar year, given the papers we have in the pipeline. Our submission numbers for the first month and a half of the new year are way up, too.

Neil Gross, Editor

 

Sociology of Education 


The year 2011 was a successful one for Sociology of Education (SOE). The journal continued to be ranked highly among scholarly journals (26th of 129 sociology journals and 36th of 177 education journals. As always too, SOE demonstrated that good sociology can be interesting and important to a broader audience. As just one example, Jennifer Van Hook and Claire E. Altman's paper "Competitive Food Sales in Schools and Childhood Obesity: A Longitudinal Study" was cited in dozens of news stories around the world. SOE plans to broaden its reach even more next year by moving into the podcast age, where we will feature Gregory Hooks and Andrew Crookston's "Community Colleges, Budget Cuts and Jobs: The Impact of Community Colleges on Employment Growth in Rural U.S. Counties, 1976-2004."
 

Editorial Team: While maintaining tireless and productive professional and scholarly lives of their own, Steve Morgan of Cornell University and Stefanie DeLuca of Johns Hopkins University retained their statuses as the most responsive, insightful, and even-handed Deputy Editors I could hope for. I am grateful to them.

I wish to acknowledge the important contributions of the outgoing Board members: Richard Arum, Mark A. Berends, John B. Diamond, Thomas A. DiPrete, Spyros Konstantopoulos, Freda B. Lynn, Hugh Mehan, Chandra Muller, Stephen B. Plank, Josipa Roksa, Mitchell L. Stevens, and Tony Tam. All of them served well and one of the privileges of editorships is getting to better know people of this caliber. I also appreciate the service of continuing Board members: Megan Andrew, Carl L. Bankston, III, Fabrizio Bernardi, Amy Binder, Prudence L. Carter, Simon Cheng, Robert Crosnoe, Scott Davies, Regina Deil-Amen, Danielle Thomas Espenshade, Cireno Fernandes, Kim Goyette, David Harding, Holly Heard, Melissa Herman, Takehiko Kariya, Sean Kelly, Vida Maralani, Hiroshi Ono, Sal Oropesa, Hyunjoon Park, C.J. Pascoe, Alejandro Portes, Maria Rendon, Keith Robinson, Evan Schofer, Tricia Seifert, Lisa Stulberg, David Suarez, Ruth N. Lopez Turley, Will Tyson, and Herman G. Van De Werfhorst. This is an exceptional assortment of talent.

I invited 10 people to join the SoE Editorial Board. The new Board members, who began their terms on January 1, 2012, are Brian An, Christian Brzinsky-Fay, Wade Cole, George Farkas, Michelle Frisco, Ruben Gaztambine-Fernandez, Linda Renzulli, Catherine Riegle-Crumb, Maryellen Schaub, and Laura Tach. I look forward to working with them. I understand that Board membership is a nice c.v. item for most people, but it’s not a sinecure, and I asked these people to join as much for their work ethics as for their academic achievement.

The Board includes 24 men, 20 women, and 18 minorities. Reflecting trends in manuscript flow, the Board is taking on more of an international cast. It is more difficult to characterize the intellectual diversity of the Board. While the sociology of education community will recognize on the Board accomplished statisticians, ethnographers, immigration experts, higher education scholars, and so on, in all honesty I see the Board as consisting of sociologists, any one of whom can bring insight and wisdom to any particular manuscript that I put in front of them.

Finally, I acknowledge the superb contribution of my graduate assistant Chris Swanson, who is not only a skilled office manager but a strong scholar in his own right.
 

Manuscript Flow: This report covers the manuscript activity of the journal from January 1, 2011, through December 31, 2011. The total number of manuscripts considered during the 2011 calendar year was 194 (up a bit from a year ago), with 10 percent of those being invited as revise and resubmit manuscripts. SOE published 17 articles plus a scholarly exchange in 2011. The acceptance rate for SOE, calculated in the “old” manner (the one with which most sociologists are familiar), was 12.03 percent. Using the “new” method of calculation, our acceptance rate was 12.93 percent. Both of these figures are in line with past trends. During 2011 the journal review process averaged about 12.45 weeks, a considerable improvement over the 15 weeks that we achieved in 2010 and the 18 weeks in 2009. I’m sure that much of this improvement is due to the efficiency of SAGEtrack and our ability to run the office entirely without paper. Our production lag (the time it takes for an accepted manuscript to actually appear in the journal) edged down a bit, from about four and a half months to about four.
 

Reviewers and Reviewing: Part of the job of an editor is following the scholarly literature on peer review and academic publishing. I have been especially struck over the past year at the frequency and severity of many of the attacks on the concept and practice of peer review (see, for instance, Glenn Ellison “Is Peer Review in Decline?’ Economic Inquiry 2011, 49(3) 635-657). SOE is firm in its commitment to peer review. Scholarship demands much of reviewers, and I am routinely impressed by the willingness of busy people to write useful and penetrating reviews. I’ve tried this year to expand our pool of reviewers, and in fact we had 195 individuals who reviewed in 2011 who did not review in 2010.

Good reviewing almost always goes unacknowledged, other than perhaps a private note of appreciation from an editor. This year, SOE initiated what I hope will be an annual public event – the awarding of the “Revise and Resubmit Reviewer of the Year Awards.” These were given to recognize the work of individuals who set the reviewing bar high, those whose reviews were consistently constructive, critical, collegial, and focused. Recipients of the award this year were Annette Lareau, John Meyer, Dan McFarland, Angel Harris, and Maurice Gesthuizen.

 

SOE welcomes submissions from across the broad substantive concerns of the field, and is receptive to any appropriate methodology.

Please send manuscripts through our on-line system at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/soe/. You can correspond with Sociology of Education by email at edu-soe@uiowa.edu.

David Bills, Editor

 

Teaching Sociology 


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. For example, in 2013 we are hoping to have a special edition on the role of writing in the teaching of sociology and are accepting manuscripts for that edition now. Suzanne Hudd will be the guest editor.

In 2011, the journal had a special section in the April edition on assessment, which was guest edited by Jeff Chin and Mary Scheuer Senter. The articles were exciting snapshots into how several institutions are taking mandated assessment and using it to provide creative opportunities for innovative and comprehensive curricular reform. If you missed these articles when they first were published, I urge you to read them, since nearly all our institutions are requiring more and more assessment activities.

Teaching Sociology, Volume 39 (2011) published 49 works, including 21 articles, 5 notes, 22 book and film reviews, and one invited review essay about aging and gerontology texts for use in classes.
 

Manuscript Flow: In 2011, 152 manuscripts were submitted. Of these, 89 were new manuscripts, 32 were revised manuscripts, and 31 were still in review from the previous year. The manuscript statistics are: 24.3 percent were either accepted or conditionally accepted; 35.5 percent were invited to revise and resubmit, 22.4 percent were rejected, 7.2 percent were rejected without review, 6 percent were withdrawn by the authors, and 4.6 percent were still out for review at the end of the year. Using these numbers, the acceptance rate for 2011 was 13.97 percent.

Looking at the manuscript decision rate from another perspective – counting only the last decision (usually, but not always a final decision) for manuscripts submitted in and decided on in 2011, 26 percent were accepted, 46.6 percent were rejected, 12.3 percent were withdrawn by the author, and 15.1 were rejected without review. The new acceptance rate (i.e., only final decisions) for 2011 was 29.69 percent.

Thanks to a wonderful set of reviewers, I have been able to have an average time-to-first decision of 30 days. I am so grateful that so many of the scholars I ask say ‘yes’ to my request to review – and then faithfully complete their reviews, often sooner than required. In most cases, I write decision letters within 48 hours of receiving the last reviewer’s comments.


Editorial Board: There were 31 members on the Editorial Board. Fifty-five percent were female and 45 percent were male, and 19 percent were minorities. I want to express my gratitude to those members who transitioned off in December 2010: Peter L. Callero, Marisol Clark-Ibanez, Michael DeCesare, Anne Eisenberg, Chad Hanson, Mark Israel, Matthew Lee, Wendy Ng, Shireen Rajaram, Stephen Sweet, and Susan Takata.

The year 2011 was my second full year as editor and each day I remind myself how lucky I am. Not only do I have a wonderful Editorial Board and reviewers, but each manuscript I read gives me ideas for my own teaching. Being editor has been an amazing gift in my own career as a teacher.

I am seeking new reviewers. If you are interested, please email me and let me know the topical areas for which you would prefer to review. And of course, I am always in search of new submissions. So if you have an idea for an article or a note but are not quite sure if it is appropriate for TS or if you are not sure how to turn it into an article – please e-mail me. I would be happy to talk with you and give some suggestions about what strategies you might want to try as you begin to write up your thoughts. Authors and potential authors are never a bother; so please do not hesitate to contact me.

I also want to thank several people: First, is Glenn Muschert, my Deputy Editor. Glenn handles all film, book, and web reviews quietly and efficiently. And when I need a fast review or someone to help me think through an issue, I know that Glenn will be there for me, and for the journal. Second, I also want to thank my Managing Editor, Roseanne Ponce. Rosie is a graduate student here at Valdosta State University and balances grad school classes and her social work practicum, her work with TS, a private life with her husband, her political involvements, and a long commute with grace, dignity, and a great sense of humor. Third, I want to thank publicly Karen Edwards and Janine Chiappa McKenna – both from the ASA – they too are wonderful sources of advice. And last, but not least, I want to thank Julianne Amsden at SAGE. She is a wonderful copyeditor/production editor. And while we don’t always agree on how to hyphenate words like pre-test (or as she would have it be, ‘pretest’), I think we have crafted a good working relationship!

I also want to acknowledge all the authors who submit their manuscripts to TS. It is not easy to risk rejection. Thank you for being brave and for sharing your pedagogical theories and techniques with readers. Please e-mail the editorial office at teachingsociology@valdosta.edu.

Kathleen S. Lowney, Editor