Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reviewing academic journal articles

For all you readers in academia, there is an interesting discussion at Political Science Job Rumors about reviewing journal articles. It is especially relevant for me because I am a journal editor, albeit of a small area studies journal as opposed to a larger political science journal. But I agree with many of the commenters that it can be hard at times getting reviewers, and that sometimes they take a terribly long time even when reminded. This is unfortunate because it is a central part of our profession and, at least in my opinion, can be done well in a relatively short amount of time once you sit down and focus on the manuscript. It can also be a problem because authors want (and deserve) quick turnaround--indeed, more than once an author has requested I send an email or letter to their university immediately after they got word of acceptance because they wanted to make sure it was in their file.

On the flip side, I was surprised to read that some people do 20-30 reviews a year, which is amazingly high. I'd say I do 2-3 a year, plus maybe 1-3 book manuscripts (and/or book proposals). Doing an article review every other week would be rough, and I have to commend anyone who does it.

I've written numerous times about how I believe Ph.D. programs need some sort of class or workshop specifically about the profession, and this issue should be part of it. We talk constantly about how critical it is to get published, yet not about how no one can get published if no one reviews the manuscripts. A serious obstacle, though, is that you get a ton of credit (i.e. tenure, promotion, and/or raises) for publishing, and not much for reviewing.


MSS 3:58 PM  

Looks like I have done a dozen journal reviews thus far in 2008. Maybe three book manuscripts. And then there were a few tenure/promotion reviews. I have never stopped to ponder whether I am low or high here, but I probably turn down only a few requests a year.

Oh, and that reminds me, I have an overdue review...

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP