How Journals Select Articles: The Manuscript Review Process in American Sociology

Main Article Content

Katerina Guba

Keywords

American Sociology, Scientific Journals, Manuscript Reviewing, Double-Blind Peer Review

Abstract

This review essay examines the manuscript review process at major American sociology journals. The expansion of the discipline in the 1960s–1970s, which was accompanied by a tightening of the academic job market, transformed journals into key arbiters of tenure decisions. For young authors, publication in major journals was an important distinction which many of them tried to get. Under such conditions journal editors felt enormous responsibility for enforcing a fair review process with obligatory double-blind peer reviewing of all—even obviously poor—manuscripts. Journal editors made great efforts to ensure that verdicts on the fate of the manuscripts were objective. This new, fair peer review process came at a price—not only in the form of heavier workloads for editors and reviewers, but also the intellectual price, whereby original and innovative manuscripts were surpassed by simply competent papers. In Russian.
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