contexts is actually kind of competitive

Contexts is a funny little magazine. It’s not exactly a regular academic journal, but it’s not not an academic journal, if you get my drift. It’s popular and peer reviewed, colorful and scholarly. What that means is that Contexts isn’t really the sort of publication that makes or breaks academic careers. I am ok with that. An intellectual magazine just isn’t the same thing as a normal nitty gritty scientific journal.

However, I’ve come appreciate that Contexts is competitive and should get a little more love when it’s seen on the CV. Not only does it show a genuine desire to bring sociology to the public, it’s kind of hard to get in. For example, we’ve done two call for papers – Asian America (Fall 2018) and Freedom (Summer 2019) – we get about 35 proposed papers for 5-7 slots. That means we’ll take about 15%-20% of submissions.* I’ve looked into it and the regular rate of acceptance of submitted proposals is about the same.

These are not the numbers of top tier journals, but they are the numbers of decent regional or specialty journals. For example, we discussed how Sociological Science takes about 20%-25% of papers. Our acceptance rate is in the zone of Journal of Marriage and Family and Sociology of Education.

What’s my point? Contexts should not be the type of journal that makes a career, but I think it should get respect. It’s competitive and it furthers the mission of public sociology. So the next time you are flipping through the CVs of job candidates or junior faculty, and you see a Contexts article, say “hey, good for them!”

*Contexts asks for proposals first. So this means that about 1 in 5 or 6 papers is published.


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Written by fabiorojas

November 26, 2018 at 5:00 am

Posted in uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Right, but there is some probably some self-selection going on here. I would guess the demographics of people who submit to Contexts are different than those who submit to JMF or Soc of Ed.



    November 26, 2018 at 9:52 am

  2. Just as an aside: Sociological Science is below 20% now.


    Kim Weeden (@WeedenKim)

    November 26, 2018 at 11:50 am

  3. I find it fascinating that SocSci has such a low acceptance rate. No doubt there is some percentage of submissions that are flawed beyond what can be reasonably improved in a single revision, but I can’t believe that’s > 80%. (If it is, the discipline is surely in trouble!) With virtually no space constraint in a purely online publication, it seems like the decision has been to prioritize the “status marker” aspect of publication, a la ASR or AJS, with the same sort of judgment of what is or is not “interesting” being a main factor in a manuscript’s fate. (Note that personally I’ve never submitted anything to SocSci, so this is just an observation, not bitterness over a rejection!)



    December 1, 2018 at 11:43 pm

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