Yesterday, Sociological Science published my new paper, co-authored with Ellen Berrey, The Partial Deinstitutionalization of Affirmative Action in U.S. Higher Education, 1988 to 2014. The paper is largely descriptive and the most important result is above – we show that lots of selective schools voluntarily abandoned their public commitments to the consideration of race in admissions, but not the most elite schools. Beyond that, we show that most of this decline cannot be directly attributed to state-level bans on the practice (85% of schools abandoning were not covered by such bans). In 1994, 60% of selective schools considered race; by 2014, just 35% did. Here, I want to briefly describe how the paper came into existence as a way to plug some of the new, open access routes to circulating work and publishing that have the potential to address some of sociology’s woes.
I’ve been mulling over Phil Cohen’s insistence that there is a serious problem with reviewer malfeasance, specifically in using the anonymity of peer review to prevent the publication of work that would encroach on the reviewer’s “turf.” My first response was that Phil must be exaggerating, or in a bad field. But then I remembered that I do know for sure of one case in which someone I know did everything they could to block funding for and the success of a project with a similar research idea and methodology–but different data–to their own. And then, as I think about it, I know of another pocket of cases in which senior people published their own work on several related variations of topic X even though they had commented on and thus knew of prior working papers by graduate students on that topic and did not even have the grace to cite those prior papers, much less cede the turf to the people who had originated the research ideas. Is this kind of behavior as common as Phil seems to think it is? And, if so, what ought we to do about it? Continue reading “bad behavior, secrecy, duplication, science”
My first answer is read Tim Burke’s essay (where his short answer is “no”).
And then read Tressie McMillan Cottom’s essay on what’s wrong with blanket “don’t go to grad school” advice. That will link you to a series of tweets by Sandy Darity on why maybe you should go to grad school.
And then if you want, read this. My short answer is, it depends on who you are and what you want to get out of it.
A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.
As a reminder, sociology blogger types will be meeting up in Montreal today(!) from 4-7pm at Le Vieux Dublin for the annual blogger party! Some snacks (and buttons!) will be provided by SocArXiv. Hope to see you there. Now, here’s some links.
If you’ve followed affirmative action debates at all over the past decade or two, you’ve probably heard something about legacy preferences in admissions. Legacy admissions are routinely described as “affirmative action for whites” and their legitimacy is at least a little contested, and are held up as a key example of how college admissions are not and have never been purely about academic merit. And they are that indeed. But they are by no means the only example. Another one, perhaps of growing importance, is what colleges call “demonstrated interest.” Demonstrated interest means showing specific interest in attending that school by contacting admissions officers, visiting the school, and so on. Two new papers emphasize the importance of demonstrated interest in an era when high-achieving students routinely apply to 10 or more schools, frustrating enrollment managers. But, of course, demonstrated interest is not equally available to everyone.