roundtable 2

I thought I’d toss this out for discussion. A young sociologist I know submitted a newly-written unpublished paper to ASA. After a long delay it was eventually accepted to a roundtable. In the meantime, the sociologist sent the paper for review to a non-US on-line specialty journal, expecting the usual review/publication delays. To the person’s amazement, the paper was not only accepted immediately for publication but is scheduled to appear (on-line) before the ASA meeting. The paper was submitted to ASA in good faith as an unpublished paper that had not been presented elsewhere. Do you think the scholar should withdraw the paper from the roundtable? My answer is no. But I thought it could be interesting to hear other people’s thoughts.

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 --Pam Oliver

8 thoughts on “roundtable 2”

  1. Gah, no! It is reasonable to require that papers aren’t published at the time they are submitted, but not that papers accepted in the 8 months (!) between submission and presentation should be pulled. The latter requirement would not only penalize authors (to the extent that there is actually a net benefit of presenting a published paper at an ASA roundtable; I’m not convinced there is), but, on average, lower the quality of ASA panels/roundtables.

    My advise to the young sociologist is to present, but spend no more than 30 minutes thinking about how to summarize his/her paper in the 10-15 minutes allotted to roundtable presentations.


  2. I agree. Go ahead and tell the student to present the paper. From having seen this situation arise previously, though, you might also encourage them to mention at the end that they look forward to comments/questions, but that the paper has just been published, and so they can’t make any changes. That just helps sidestep the unlikely possibility that someone would give a comment, then run across the published paper and be annoyed that their comment wasn’t used.


  3. Absolutely not. I actually called ASA about this issue last year. The rules are that it has to be unpublished when you submit it. You can submit it for publication immediately after you submit to ASA. If there are any questions that this person didn’t wait to submit, I’m sure the journal has a record of submission date/time.


  4. What is the purpose of a roundtable? I thought the term came from “roundtable discussion” — people who are interested in some topic and with something worthwhile to say about it sit around a table and talk about it, exchanging ideas and research evidence. That view is, apparently, hopelessly naive.

    OW’s question was essentially about the rules, written or un-. It would help me in figuring out the answer if someone could tell me what the goal is that these rules are supposed to support.


    1. They fulfill the “presentation” requirement for people to qualify for travel funds. This increases participation in the meetings, and membership renewals for the organization.


  5. Jay: There are two kinds of roundtables. One (the older kind) is convened by one person and invites people with some interest to come talk about it. The second (and now most common) is a way to increase “presentation” slots at a meeting and is essentially a small session held at a round table in a big room instead of in its own room. If you are lucky, you and the other presenters at a round table have been placed together because your papers have something in common, and that common interest provides a good basis for discussion after you’ve “presented” your paper to the others at the table. Most of the papers at a type 2 roundtable submitted their papers to regular sessions with the roundtable as a backup.


    1. and for what it’s worth – the first type now really only exists when people “work around” the ASA submission rules. they still have to submit a “paper” via the online system, even if there is no paper – because to get their name on the program as part of the discussion, they have to be in the online paper submission system. the culture section does 5 or 6 of these every year and it’s always confusing.


  6. The student may still want comments on improving the paper, or what be a good question for a follow up paper, so it might be useful to present it at the round table anyway.


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