ICYMI: New People, New Policies

By Jan Leighley, AJPS Interim Lead Editor

Summer breaks are never long enough, eh? It’s back to “normal” business as of earlier today, when the Editorial Manager submissions portal re-opened for new business. During our break, I posted some details about the updated submissions guidelines, so be sure to take a careful look at some of the changes that we have made (more on those below).

The other change that we made over break was shifting the editorial staff responsibilities from Michigan State University to American University. The transition for staff responsibilities reflected a fundamental change in the editorial structure—with associate editors identifying reviewers and drafting decision letters based on their readings of the manuscript and the reviews, and letters that I send out after reviewing the manuscript and its reviews. One of the biggest changes has been having Marty Jordan, previously the Managing Editor, shift to a new role as Production Editor. In this capacity, Marty will deal with all matters relating to production as well as replication. At AU, Julia Salvatore has taken over the responsibilities of the ever-important AJPS inbox, managing the stream of incoming emails, as well as other matters relating to the editorial procedures and office management. So when you email AJPS@mpsanet.org, you’ll most likely be sending Julia an email, and she will ably respond or move it along to whoever can respond. We also have new staff at AU who will assist with technical checks. This includes Ryan Detamble, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Government.

I wrote last week about changes in the submissions process. We will do our best—with new staff as well as updated guidelines—to move manuscripts through technical checks as fast as possible, but need your help to do so. Please send any questions about new submissions—as well as manuscripts already under review—to AJPS@mpsanet.org, and we will respond as quickly as possible.

A few notes about those updated submission guidelines. In my post last week, I noted the changes but didn’t spend much time explaining the rationale for those changes, and that is: to improve the peer review process. Providing the names of co-authors from the past five years for every author on submitted papers will allow us to avoid “obvious” conflicts of interest that are both difficult and time-consuming for either editors or staff to identify. Additional details regarding author anonymity—and the need to disclose whether the manuscript being submitted is part of a larger project—is essential to allowing the editors (if not reviewers) be able to assess the independent contribution of each manuscript we review. (If you don’t know what “salami-slicing” is in the editing/academic publishing world, maybe ask about that at APSA…) We don’t want to publish papers that are re-treads, or that make marginal advances—which means that the AJPS editorial team and reviewers need to be able to evaluate every manuscript in light of what it contributes, aside from related book projects, other publications—and even related papers under review. We encourage you to follow the updated guidelines  as closely as possible—but also to please email with any questions or concerns you have about related work before you submit your manuscript.

Finally, we announced last week that generally we expect supplemental information (SI) files to be no longer than 20 pages. Our primary goal here is to enhance the use of the SI information as part of the review process—which means for some authors, more focus and intentionality in what and how much is provided as a supplemental file to allow AJPS to publish papers that stand on their own.  We plan to discuss these policies with editorial board members at APSA and will consider additional updates to the guidelines as needed.  Until then, we ask that authors work toward limiting SI files to 20 pages, and send any questions about this to AJPS@mpsanet.org.

With the Editorial Manager portal open again—and the deadline for APSA papers approaching (or past?)—it will be a busy week. I hope it’s a good one on all fronts, as the summer draws to a close.



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The American Journal of Political Science (AJPS) is the flagship journal of the Midwest Political Science Association and is published by Wiley.