By Mark Moberg
Editor, Human Organization
University of South Alabama
As we began the transition of the editorial office from East Carolina to the University of South Alabama, I was repeatedly asked about my “agenda” for Human Organization. Nearly half way through my first year of editorship, I have found that the day-to-day tasks of preparing manuscripts for review, selecting appropriate reviewers, making timely publication decisions, as well as proofing and copy-editing forthcoming articles, have taken some precedence over implementing ambitious changes. Over and above these daily tasks, my primary goal is to continue to bring to our readers the most engaging scholarship possible in the applied social sciences. As I met with my college’s Dean, Dr. Andrzej Wierzbicki, to discuss my appointment as editor, he imparted a compelling view of academic publishing. In his words, “A good article has its own architecture. It tells a story. It’s no more a collection of facts than a home is a collection of bricks.” I would urge prospective authors to think of the story their scholarship tells, and urge them to convey it in the most compelling way possible.
At this writing, the second issue under my editorship is about to go to publication, the third issue is proceeding to copy-editing, and articles are being accepted for volume 70, number 4. I thank members of the Society whose work was under review during this transition period for their patience as we in the editorial office learned the mechanics of the web portal submission and review process. I have been very ably assisted in the office by a part-time graduate student assistant (Carey Driskell) and undergraduate intern (Gina Deckard), both of whom handle communications with authors and reviewers at the time of submission. Carey and Gina have put together a Facebook page for Human Organiztion; I urge readers to check it out for information about forthcoming articles and authors.
Changes to the Journal
SfAA members who have submitted their work to the journal or who have served as reviewers are by now familiar with the journal web portal. The process of entirely online submissions and reviews has continued since I assumed the editorship at the beginning of 2011. New submissions continue to be received at about the rate of two per week. Reflecting some discussion with Production Editor Neil Hann and outgoing Editor David Griffith prior to the transition, I have rewritten the Information for Authors posted on the Human Organization website to impose a limit of 8,500 words on new submissions and require their conformity with HO style requirements. Please note that manuscripts that do not broadly conform to these requirements will be returned to authors for reformatting and/or shortening prior to review. The purpose of these changes is to ensure that manuscripts are in as close to publishable form prior to submission and review. It is hoped that this will reduce the need for extensive copy-editing for style prior to publication. This will also eliminate the need for authors to revise and resubmit their manuscripts following otherwise positive reviews solely because of excessive manuscript length.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of the job thus far has been soliciting external reviews of manuscripts, with only about one in four requests resulting in an actual review. Should you be approached by our office with a request for a review, please be assured of our gratitude for your willingness to take on this exceptionally important service to the cause of peer reviewed scholarship.
Below are a few statistics about the journal in 2010, including information on the primary affiliations of the authors, the article topic areas, and the locations of authors by nation. Slightly less than 15% of the authors last year were from outside academia, compared to 32% in 2009 and 28% in 2008—this reflects academics working with people in government and industry as well as people in government and industry submitting articles independently.
In terms of topics, the table below demonstrates our commitment to covering a wide range of issues that, we believe, reflect the wide range of interests within the society. Although I have not yet compiled statistics for 2011, since assuming the editorship, I have not noticed any significant shift in the numbers or topics of submitted manuscripts.
As seen in Figure 1 below, the journal remains international in scope, with published authors hailing from 11 countries (compared to 12 in 2009). Authors from Canada and the United Kingdom are well-represented, with many more submitting papers than were published. US-based authors, not surprisingly, continue to be the most commonly published, as the journal received its vast majority of articles from them.