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Sociological Science
Society for Sociological Science
Peer reviewed
Open Access
Sociological Science is not your average sociology journal. Yes, is it international in scope, open access, online only, but that’s not what sets it apart from other journals in the field. What makes it different is its Editorial and Review Process, which is as follows:

“The editorial process at Sociological Science departs from the current common practice in sociology journals. The dominant model de facto requires a majority (or sometimes even a unanimity) of reviewers to “vote” in favor of a paper before it will be published. Reviewers – who have little if any accountability to the journal or the author – can wield enormous influence over both the fate and content of papers. This practice has led to a bias toward errors of omission, to multiple rounds of revisions, and to ever-increasing review times. Sociological Science, by contrast, will concentrate the evaluative function in the hands of the editors, held accountable to readers and authors. Carefully chosen specialists will decide whether a paper will be accepted. Authors will never be asked to “revise and resubmit” their papers; after the initial review, all subsequent decisions will be made by the Editorial Staff without soliciting further reviews. Though external reviews may be solicited, these reviewers will not be asked to recommend a course of action on the paper, but instead be asked to identify the submission’s strengths and weaknesses, and identify potential areas for debate. Finally, authors will be notified of the journal’s editorial decision within 30 days of submission.”

The principles to which the journal subscribes add to its individuality. These principles are:

•    Sociological Science evaluates and selects papers; it does not develop them.
•    Sociological Science prefers errors of commission (accepting papers that should have been rejected) over errors of omission (rejecting papers that should have been accepted).
•    Sociological Science emphasizes speed and brevity.
•    Sociological Science is a journal for both theory and evidence.
•    Sociological Science is a journal for papers of all formats and styles.
•    Sociological Science is a general interest sociology journal, for specialists.
[for rationales about these principles take a look at the Journal Information page]

The editors encourage commentary on articles through several methods, including Reactions, Rejoinders, and Comments. Thus far these tend to be few and far between, but do allow for interactivity and scholarly discussion among authors and readers.

Sociological Science’s layout is unusual. Content is arranged in reverse chronological order, last in, first out, with the publication date for each article posted along with the number of views (the day I did this review an article published on that date already had 19 views). Articles are accompanied by abstracts and keywords, and the journal is searchable. My experiences with searching revealed something odd.

I did several searches on single terms, and got lists of articles. Then I did a search for “pregnancy and economic conditions,” and pulled up the article, “Deciding to Wait: Partnership Status, Economic Conditions, and Pregnancy during the Great Recession.” Great article, but beneath it I saw a link to Browse by Issue. Clicking that link led me to links into the four available issues of the journal, for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Pulling up the individual months in a year’s issue gave me access to links into Comments and Rejoinders to individual articles, as well as to Supplemental Materials for articles in the issue. The odd thing about this is that I couldn’t find the Browse by Issue link anywhere on the journal home page or, for that matter, any other place on the site. Another odd thing was that, on the home page, 18 articles were listed, but that was as far as the listing of articles went – I couldn’t go farther back in time to find more articles through the home page. I had to click the “Articles” link at the top of the screen to get to a comprehensive reverse chronological listing of articles from the present back to 2014, when the journal began. I’m assuming the editors expect users to scan the site constantly to be on the lookout for new materials, or to follow the Twitter feed on the home page, or to subscribe to the e-mail newsletter offered on the home page to receive updates.  

Sociological Science does charge authors fees. There’s a $35.00 submission fee and a sliding scale of publication fees, as follows:

•    Full professor: $300 + $15/500 words
•    Associate professor: $150 + $15/500 words
•    Assistant professor: $50 + $15/500 words
•    Students, post-docs, non-tenure track faculty: $0 + $10/500 words

“Rank refers to the most senior co-author on the paper. Individuals with positions not listed here should consult the editorial staff for more information.” The site further notes: “All submission and publication fees may be waived for students, for scholars from developing countries, and for others who demonstrate economic hardship. All fees are subject to change.”
There’s an extremely impressive editorial team leading this journal, and the quality of material to be found here is top notch. This is an item I encourage any librarian working with social scientists to take a look at – it’s not set up like most online journals we’ve seen in the past, but it provides a much more dynamic experience with emerging scholarly literature. Highly recommended.
28 Jul 2017
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