The following is a post by ISA journal editors Krista Wiegand (International Studies Quarterly), Debbie Lisle (International Political Sociology), Amanda Murdie (International Studies Review), and James Scott (International Studies Perspectives).
There has been a lot of talk in academia about the many negative consequences the COVID-19 pandemic has generated, ranging from declining enrollments, inability to travel for field research or conferences, and research productivity working from home. As editors of the International Studies Association (ISA) journals, we started noticing some new trends in submissions as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated. First, submission rates were up for almost all the ISA journals. When we checked the submission rates from March 13 – the average date that most universities shifted to online classes – to May 4 this year, compared to the same time period last year, most of the journals had a higher number of submissions, ranging from a 17% to 343% increase compared to the same time period last year. However, we also noticed that submission rates by female scholars were down — at least proportionally — in most of the journals. When we compared the submission rates by women to “normal” times, we saw a clear decline. For example, in International Studies Perspectives, the proportion of submitted manuscripts including at least one female co-author declined by over 19% compared to the same time period last year.
This trend in increased submissions does not appear to be unique to ISA journals; we know from social media that several IR and political science journals have seen an uptick in submission numbers since mid-March. The editors of Comparative Political Studies and American Journal of Political Science noticed the trends as well. Outside of political science and international studies, other academic fields have started highlighting the same trends, getting attention in mainstream media like The Guardian. In economics, one study found that the productivity of women and mid-career faculty, as measured by submission of recent working-papers, was disproportionately down during lockdown. There have been similar discussions about women’s reduced productivity in journal submissions in the sciences.
Today, I learned that I am out of touch. Ok, that is old news. I got into a twitter conversation about embargoed dissertations. A friend was trying to access and then cite a dissertation that has been out for a few years, and she could not because the dissertation was embargoed. I then raised this on twitter, and got a whole lot of push back. So, let’s take a look at this.
In recent days, there has been much discussion about the so-called Big3 journals in Political Science: the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics. Each is the standard-bearer journal for their respective associations–the American Political Science Association, the Midwest Political Science Association and the Southern Political Science Association.
Over the years, these three journals have become seen as the most prominent journals in the discipline. For some American universities, for the purposes of hiring, tenure and promotion, getting published at least once pub in one of these may be viewed as a necessary condition or a sufficient condition (along with enough other pubs) and in some places, publications only really count if they are in the big 3.
This is a guest post by Jana von Stein, Senior Lecturer, Political Science and International Relations Programme, Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)
The recent scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse and harassment of dozens of women has gotten me thinking about an experience I had not too long ago. To be sure, there are differences: what happened to me was not sexual, my suffering was short-lived, and I sought justice. But there were at least two important similarities: my experience was deeply gendered and offensive, and I didn’t tell many people. Why? Because I worried about the career implications. I didn’t want the many good and decent men in my field to perceive me as a male-basher. Continue reading
What’s wrong with the current use of metrics in academia? This is the best summary that I’ve ever seen.
I will be discussing the publishing part of the equation on my Saturday panel at ISA.
Yesterday, news quickly spread that the Social Science Research Network was bought by Elsevier. This quickly caused an uproar on twitter. Why? The SSRN was established to provide a place for social scientists to share their work in progress. Elsevier is one of the most rapacious rent-seeking profitable publishers of academic journals.
While it is hard to do and particularly hard to do while starting out, the general conventional wisdom (and wise it is) is that one should try to have three pieces under review at most/all times. Why? Because academic review is a capricious enterprise that often takes much time.
For background on DA-RT, see Jarod Hayes’ post at the Duck of Minerva, as well as John Patty’s response to the petition to delay implementation (as well as its related website) and Jeffrey Isaac’s response to Patty and Isaac’s latest post. Roundups and responses abound.
I drafted a longer piece on DA-RT, but now realize that I will probably never finish it. So, instead, some brief comments:
- I have neither signed the DA-RT Journal Editors’ Statement (JETS), nor the acronym-challenged petition to delay it’s implementation. My basic reasons are straightforward. The journal that I edit, International Studies Quarterly, is a publication of the International Studies Association (ISA). Given the structure of the ISA, I do not believe that I enjoy the authority to make this kind of decision—although I should note that my view is not universally shared among ISA journal editors. ISA does have a replication policy that ISQ follows, but it currently only extends to the archiving of statistical materials. ISQ will follow whatever transparency policy the ISA deems appropriate for its journals.
The dynamics of the DA-RT dispute share some similarity to those associated with “wedge issues.” That is, it “divide[s] [political scientists] through code words [and] labeling” in ways I find deeply troubling.
- Participants in the debate over DA-RT need to make sure that they cultivate, or continue to display, intellectual empathy. In other words, opposition to DA-RT standards does not make you an opponent of social science understood correctly. Support for DA-RT standards does not make you a methodological puritan.
But the controversy does provide some people who hold these beliefs the opportunity to express them in unhelpful ways (cf. “wedge issue”).
This is particularly problematic, because there’s nothing wrong with agonistic and intense exchange on the issues.
The following is a guest post by Jeffrey C. Isaac, who is James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science at Indiana University and editor in chief of Perspectives on Politics: A Political Science Public Sphere.
“I reject this paper.”
“I recommend that this paper be rejected.”
“I am sorry to inform you that your paper has been rejected for publication.”
Social practices are constituted in large part by the words we regularly use and the meanings these words typically convey. Political science is a social practice. And variations of the sentences above are commonly employed by political scientists in ways that shape what we do and who we are.
Much discussion lately about how much rejection is in this academic game. I had a conversation yesterday with a pal who was finding it much harder, it seemed, to get work published after tenure than before. “I thought I knew how to do this.”
Folks have been calling for the true CVs of people–where rejections would be listed. Not sure that is going to happen. However, in this week where I received news of receiving a fellowship to supplement my sabbatical, I thought I would list many of the rejections of my work along the way (my spreadsheet for tracking my work is pretty good but incomplete, just like my training in the Force):*
* I have already enumerated my many rejections in the academic job market.
I try to save paper these days by reviewing manuscripts via PDFs on my computer or my tablet. It also makes it easier to read stuff while traveling–both to read on a plane and to carry less paper around.
The biggest challenge in doing this is the habit/standard of people putting their tables/figures at the back of the document and having endnotes and not footnotes. I know most of the blame for this goes to journals which require such formatting, although that is changing (thanks Dan at ISQ). To be clear, the requirement is for submission of the final draft for many journals and not for the reviewing stage, but for whatever reason (path dependence, laziness, perceptions of what is required), people put heaps of relevant stuff at the back of a document. Please stop.