The Need for a Council of Social Science Editors

  • James L. McCartney


Although social scientific journals have some problems in common with other journals—rising costs and the explosion of information—they have many unique problems. These include smallness, narrow bases of support, exceptionally high rejection rates, short tenure for editors, long publication lag times, and no common style manual. Substantively some of the social sciences are experiencing a fragmentation and proliferation of perspectives, both theoretical and methodological. At a time when many social scientists feel that publication outlets should be increased, most journals are barely able to maintain their present size.

The most critical problem of social sceintific journals is organizational: they are isolated publishing enterprises, and only a few are coordinatively managed. This disconnectedness is a serious handicap in that they cannot easily take advantage of economies of scale that might be offered by technical innovations in publishing.

Editors in the social sciences need a council that can facilitate information sharing, provide a context for limited cooperative ventures, and initiate a discussion among publishers about critical information needs in the social sciences.

… the paper journal is becoming an evolutionary dead-end, partly because of their cost, but also because of the size of the literature. One could, perhaps, liken the present journal system to the dinosaur which also consumed vast resources to support a large, unwieldy mass (Senders et al., 1975: 52).


Social Science American Sociological Association Page Charge Publication Outlet Social Scientific Journal 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • James L. McCartney
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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