Editorial and Review Process

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.

Submission Types

Sociological Science will publish two types of contributions:

  • reports on original research in all sociological subfields.  Replication studies shall be considered original research in so far as they are judged to advance the state of sociological knowledge.
  • original commentary on work published in Sociological Science.

Sociological Science strongly encourages commentary and debate on work published in the journal. An important function of this commentary and debate is to bring areas of disagreement and dispute about substantive matters out into the open, such that the field as a whole can judge the relative merits of the different positions.

We welcome commentary in two forms: “Reactions” and “Comments”.  More information on these forms of commentary can be found here.   Reactions and Comments are both subject to the editorial process described below.

Editorial Roles

Most editorial decisions will be made jointly by the Editor-in-Chief and at least one (and usually only one) Deputy Editor. In the event of a disagreement between the EIC and DE, the EIC has final authority on whether to accept a paper. The Consulting Editors play an advisory role in the functioning of the journal but have no formal decision-making authority.

See the current Editorial Staff.

Editorial & Review Process

Sociological Science invites reports on original research and comments and reactions to work published in the journal.

The editorial process of original research is as follows:

  • Upon submission, the Editorial Staff has five working days to decide – possibly in consultation with a Consulting Editor – whether the submission is of sufficient quality and interest to merit further review. If not, the ES will return the submission to the author(s) with a brief explanation of the reason for rejection.
  • If the Editorial Staff decides that the paper merits a full review, the EIC will assign the paper to a Deputy Editor, based on area(s) of expertise.
  • Upon receipt of the paper, the Deputy Editor has ten working days to evaluate the submission and recommend a course of action. In almost all cases, the recommended course of action should be either (i) to accept the manuscript, (ii) to accept it conditional on some minor revisions, or (iii) to reject it. In evaluating a submission, the Deputy Editor may solicit the advice of other experts in the relevant field.  DEs may solicit as many or as few (including zero) Consulting Editors and external reviewers as they deem appropriate.
  • After reviewing the paper, the DE will communicate his/her recommendation to the Editor-in-Chief, along with a rationale for the recommendation. The EIC may then choose to accept the DE’s recommendation or to overturn it.
  • The EIC will communicate the final decision to the author(s) no more than 30 days after submission. In the event that the Editorial Staff considers the manuscript acceptable subject to some revision, Sociological Science will grant a “conditional acceptance,” with well-specified conditions for acceptance, rather than a “revise and resubmit” decision.

Information on conflicts of interest in the editorial process is available here.

The editorial process for comments and reactions is described here.

The Role of Consulting Editors

Unlike reviewers at most journals, the role of Consulting Editors at Sociological Science is not to determine the fate of a submission. Rather, when solicited, they will be asked (i) to identify the submission’s strengths and weaknesses and offer their assessment of whether the strengths outweigh the weaknesses; and/or (ii) to identify areas of disagreement that might warrant debate in an open forum (for example, as an editorially-reviewed comment).

Consulting Editors will be encouraged, when a paper is accepted, to use their review as the basis for an editorially-reviewed comment. This gives reviewers the opportunity to initiate a dialogue about substantive disagreements with the work, or to discuss the work’s broader implications. (Such comments are subject to the normal editorial procedure for comments.)