‘fess up.

I know I’m not the only one who is currently working on my 2008 ASA submission.

I have what I think is a really interesting finding. Unfortunately, it’s nestled in a very long and loosely organized paper (mostly because I employ two different methods which are described in great detail).  I have two choices – I can substantially revise the long paper to make it better organized or I can cut a bunch of the methodological stuff and present my theoretical background and cool finding in the nice, 20 page format the ASA asks for and save all the ins-and-outs for when I send it out for publication.

The truth is, that would be the first time I’ve ever adhered to the page limit. In the past I’ve fared fairly well with submissions so I’m not sure how I feel about messing with a good thing, but I’m also not sure how much time I want to put into this this week. How many people actually adhere to the page restriction on ASA submissions anyway?

24 thoughts on “‘fess up.”

  1. Two years ago, Pete Peterson and I organized the ASA roundtables and read about 250 papers. I would estimate that about 45% of those stayed under 20 pages, and only 68% were spell- and grammar-checked before they were sent out. Several papers (a tenth?) included on the cover page or within the text indications of what {findings, theory, ideas} would be included in time for the August presentation, should they be allowed to participate.

    I would expect these two numbers are larger and smaller, respectively, than for “regular panels” because some proportion of folks self-selected into roundtables (listing us as their first choice) because they believed roundtables (and roundtable conveners) would be friendlier to unfinished work.


  2. i am in exactly the same situation. It’s a paper where I compare a result across two types of methods… After revising, it is still WAY too long (again, because of two long discussions of two methods and data sources). I still haven’t decided what to do so I’ll be watching your comments closely!


  3. I knew ASA had a page limit, but to be honest, I couldn’t have told you want it was. I also couldn’t tell you if people who submitted papers to sessions I’ve organized adhered to the page limit or not. I don’t think it matters too much.

    jl reminds me never to organize roundtables though! 250 papers–ouch!


  4. Oh my word — I’m such a goody two-shoes – I have never, ever violated the page limit and didn’t even know it was in the realm of possibility to do so. I will recklessly submit my overly long paper this week with joy, thanks to scatterplot.

    Related Q – I’ll be submitting a book chapter – is that weird? What do I need to do to frame it for the organizer?


  5. With the new on-line system, I was wondering whether the paper would be truncated or something if it went too long. I single-spaced a paper once to keep it in the 20-page limit, and put the tables & figures into a supplemental document. I think it is a good idea to include a note about knowing that the oral presentation will be shorter than the paper, but that should be obvious anyway. I’m a session organizer this time. Hmm. I suppose I should figure out what I’m doing.


  6. I, too, had been curious about whether the on-line system would truncate the papers. Last year, it did not. I was a session organizer and received – and read -many papers (well) over the 20 page limit.

    That said, I did appreciate the note I received from one author to acknowledge that her submission was over the limit. Happily for us both, it was such a good paper that I was pleased to read every word of it.


  7. different question same topic: if you have presented the paper at a different conference, can you submit it to ASA. (not under submission and the other conference does not even require the paper, only an abstract).

    I looked on the ASA website to see if i could find the rule but didn’t find anything exactly on point. This is a bit of poll because it seems there is a difference of opinion on this one among people in my department.



  8. Let me put it this way. I’ve seen a lot of cases where essentially the paper is presented in multiple venues. I think the only “rule” is that the paper can’t be published. Which is not to say that some people will think it is wrong to present the same paper at multiple conferences.


  9. From the Participation Policies (under Submission Criteria):
    Papers are NOT eligible if they have been:

    read previously at ASA or other professional meetings,
    published prior to the meeting or accepted for publication before being submitted to organizers for consideration, or
    modified in only secondary respects after similar readings or publication


  10. Re QI’s question, I think it’s a rule that assumes that all of the conferences you go to are for similar people. What if your work speaks to several communities many members of which never go to ASA? Then are you left never being able to present to and get feedback from those other communities? Or are you supposed to skip interacting with sociologists?


  11. As a more frequent reader than submitter of papers, I don’t mind too much if they go over the limit. I’d rather have that than tiny fonts or single spaced text.

    While I don’t expect papers to be publication quality, I do expect some consideration–don’t submit an unrevised thesis or a chapter from a dissertation out of context. At least try and shape an argument. Edit to the bone. However, if you give me 60 pages of disjointed rambling that misquotes the law that my agency enforces, I will mind that. That could never happen at the ASAs, though, right?


  12. Thanks prof in the weeds. I found it too when I looked more carefully. I think it means it is a no but it makes me sad because, as the colonel points out, somewhat different audiences and I would like the feedback from ASA more than LSA because I am hoping for a soc journal home for this particular paper. I guess I could withdraw or work up another paper for LSA.


  13. I also agree this rule seems a little silly in light of the push for interdisciplinary thinking. But, like the 20 page limit, is anyone policing this? In thinking of some CV I’ve recently perused, my sense is this particular rule is often violated.


  14. I think many ASA rules are self-defeating. The organization wants more members to pay dues and more people to attend the meetings (and take rooms in the convention hotels to get favorable rates on the convention costs) but tries to impose rules to limit meeting participation. Most people cannot get their way paid to the meeting unless they are on the program, so all the rules designed to make it harder to get on the program run counter to the goal of increasing membership & meeting attendance. Some of the leadership of ASA seems to imagine that all those non-elite sociologists out there who are not joining ASA ought to be paying dues to an organization and attending a meeting so they can sit in rooms and listen to elite sociologists talk. But another model of the purpose of a convention would be that it is precisely for the presentation of work in progress and the chance for people at all levels of the profession to connect with each other and receive professional feedback and support for their work. To be viable, ASA needs to understand and meet the needs of the folks out there at the teaching colleges & the branch campuses of public schools, not just those at R1 research universities.


  15. Jeremy — you are raising false hopes. You may have some empty rhetoric about change but I have 37 years of actual change. Elect me!!


  16. I agree–having to submit a full paper 8 months before the meetings seems insane. Of course, I’m a demographer, so I prefer the PAA model (abstracts and extended abstracts are the norm). Am I supposed to put this down for 8 months and wait until ASA to get feedback?! I have seen no evidence that having to submit full papers improves the quality of sessions or discussions, either. I could see having to upload full papers even 6 weeks before the meeting; but 8 months?!

    Also: Am I not supposed to send it out for review before then?


  17. I am 100% with racheltk. Plus, reading 250 (or whatever–100, 50) extended abstracts (no matter how poorly written) is a much more appropriate task for your colleague (whom you are also asking to review your manuscripts, be on your book award committees, and write your tenure letters, to name a few choice tasks). I agree that there is little quality control (over an oral presentation 8 months in the future) that one can exert by reading a full manuscript, as opposed to, say, 800 words.


  18. It’s not against the rules to send a paper out for publication AFTER submission to ASA, so submit away! Also, every paper I’ve ever read for a session has been revised and resent to me before the conference. A detailed abstract is a better model, sure, but maybe if that’s how we thought of the 20pp it would be less restrictive?

    Also, do make it easier to get on the program so I won’t have to pay my own way!


  19. Ok, for those of you who are violating the 20-page limit, are you trying to keep it reasonably close (say, 25-30 pages?), or are you submitting your paper as is? The page limit is especially tough for qualitative papers.

    As for the submission question, you can submit a paper before the conference — it just can’t be accepted for publication prior to submission to the ASA:

    Papers are NOT eligible if they have been:

    1. read previously at ASA or other professional meetings,

    2. published prior to the meeting or accepted for publication before being submitted to organizers for consideration, or

    3. modified in only secondary respects after similar readings or publication


  20. I find the idea that you have to submit a full paper 8 months in advance to be ludicrous. If I had a full paper, I’d be sending it out to journals!

    As a grad student who’s never submitted a paper for precisely this reason, I have a question for the more experienced folks out there. How “finished” are the papers you actually send? Jamybarab suggests you can think of the 20 page paper as an extended outline, but what if you haven’t done much of the analysis yet (but will have by August)?

    Finally I just want to second olderwoman’s comments. A convention that was much more about people presenting what they’re actively working on, at all stages, and getting feedback from one another would be much more useful to me than I have found the ASA meetings so far. Thus far, it has been a disappointment.


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