i know they love me but

I have received journal review requests from three different journals within the past 18 hours! In February I turned down four because I had not gotten done the previous four I said yes to before Christmas.  Seems like somebody out there is not doing their share, or I am on everyone’s A list.  Just saying.

Author: olderwoman

I'm a sociology professor but not only a sociology professor. I keep my name out of this blog because I don't want my name associated with it in a Google search. Although I never write anything in a public forum like a blog that I'd be ashamed to have associated with my name (and you shouldn't either), it is illegal for me to use my position as a public employee to advance my religious or political views, and the pseudonym helps to preserve the distinction between my public and private identities. The pseudonym also helps to protect the people I may write about in describing public or semi-public events I've been involved with. You can read about my academic work on my academic blog http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/soc/racepoliticsjustice/ --Pam Oliver

9 thoughts on “i know they love me but”

  1. Olderman, I don’t know if you’ve ever been an editor, but I’ve been on staff and about 1/3 of the profession does the 2/3 of the reviewing work. It’s a shame, since we all depend on the kindness of others to get published. Consider yourself to be well regarded in your field if they depend on you.


  2. I’ve heard a fair amount of grumbling from folks on sociology journal editorial boards (and, okay, maybe I’ve done some complaining myself in the past year or so…) about how hard it is to get our colleagues to agree to do reviews (and that’s setting aside entirely the issue of getting the reviews back in a timely fashion). So, I’d guess both that you are on everyone’s A list AND that more than one somebody out there is not doing his/her share.

    That said, I’ve wondered also if there are demand-side factors driving any this situation. For example, in 2005 (the most recent year for which data is available on the ASA website), the ASR editors report that they had the second highest number of submissions since 1990 (when ASR articles were first entered into the current database), with the highest total of new manuscript submissions recorded the previous year.


  3. Is my math wrong that, to be fair, for every article you submit to a journal you should be willing to do n reviews (either for that specific journal or total), where n is the number of reviewers for a typical paper in that journal? So if someone submits to say 6 journals in an average year, and each journal gets 3 reviewers for each submission, then that person should be reviewing at least 18 papers a year? Notice that it is really the submissions, not publications that matters, since a researcher could submit the same paper to a few journals before getting it published.

    It seems to me if this were requirement for later submissions then it would reduce two things (maybe more): submitting to journals that may not be the best fit but are more prestigious and it may increase not only peoples’ “desire” to review, but also the speed of the review. Of course, there are several problems with this idea like keeping track of who has done “enough”, what to do about people who submit but from whom you may not want a review, how to count coauthored papers, etc. Nevertheless, this seems like something that, at least, should be stressed in the submission process, i.e.: “as part of this submission it is expected that you will…pull your own weight…either at this journal or for the field as a whole.”

    Out of curiosity, how many reviews are people doing every year? As a graduate student my total count is still in the single digits. So I certainly have not been pulling my own weight, although I have pulled all the weight I have been asked to pull to date.


  4. Journals won’t let an article be reviewed only by grad students, and I suspect that a high proportion of journal submissions are by grad students. If you already have a PhD, you “owe” the system at least 6 reviews for every article submitted, I’d say (including the ones you submitted in the past when you were still a student). It is a karmic system: you will get asked to review by journals you don’t publish in. You get asked to do more as your name gets known and you get a reputation as being a good reviewer. My own ratio of articles reviewed to submitted is probably at least 30 to 1.

    Junior people submit to the ASR & AJS partly because they think they will get better reviews (i.e. from more experienced knowledgeable reviewers) there.


  5. Having recently worked as an editorial associate for a top sociology journal, I have found that assistant and associate professors at top tier schools seem the most likely to reject a review. Professors at mid-range and lower tier schools seem most generous in their reviewing. A marked exception, during my recent tenure, seems to be full professors at top schools who are reviewing a ton of articles, and reviewing them with great detail. However, some top people are notorious for not reviewing anything.


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