I’ve received a couple of questions from folks around here at Northwestern about this, so here goes: say you have written a paper of the 28-35+ page length that is suitable for a flagship sociology journal submission. Now you want to turn around and submit the paper to ASA, and they have a 20 page guideline. The paper you submit now in January will likely be skimmed/read by a single person who will decide whether or not it goes to the session you submitted for. How much work do you do in order to cut the paper down to reach 20 pages? Is it okay if it is one or two pages over?
I am a bad person to ask this question because, truth be told: I have never in my life paid any attention to this rule. I didn’t even know it existed until I was well into assistant professorhood, and only awhile after that did I come to appreciate the other people took it seriously. Seems crazy to me to go to any amount of extra work for the benefit of one person who probably won’t read the whole thing anyway. But I’ve known people who have spent days of their life making careful abridgments to reach exactly 20 pages. So, I have a view for myself, which is basically “Eh, I’m not doing that and it’s perfectly okay if somebody doesn’t accept my paper as a result; it’s not like whether or not I get to present at ASA will make any tangible difference whatsoever in my life at this point.” Yet, I recognize, this being the right answer for myself does not mean that it is the right answer to give to students or other folks who ask what they should do. So I’m never sure what to say. Any thoughts?
(Incidental additional wrinkle: one student I know is using a restricted medical dataset that involves a detailed chain of review and approval in order to be able to submit a paper using the data for publication. The student is expressly prohibited from submitting any paper anywhere that diverges from the paper that was approved. In other words, the student either needs to break the rules of the data agreement–and that’s not going to happen–or would need to engage the approval process again solely for the ASA-submission version of the paper.)