News from the AJPS Editorial Office

The AJPS Editorial Office is Open

The American Journal of Political Science is now open for submissions! The 2016 Summer Hiatus ended at 12:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 16. And, manuscripts started coming into the AJPS Editorial Office immediately. In the approximately 36 hours since re-opening, we have received 26 submissions! I am happy to report that all of these manuscripts have been processed: That is, they were either been returned to their authors or sent out for review. And I am proud to say that this kind of speedy response is very typical of editorial operations at the AJPS. The average amount of time from initial submission to a desk rejection is 0.8 days, while the average amount of time before a manuscript is sent out for review is 0.7 days. The AJPS Editorial Staff and I understand the kind of time pressure that academic authors face. So, we try to help out by providing the fastest possible turnaround times for the review process. For more information on this and other aspects of manuscript processing at the AJPS, please refer to the Editor’s Annual Report to the Midwest Political Science Association Executive Council. In addition, a Midterm Report will be available shortly before the upcoming Annual Meetings of the American Political Science Association.

AJPS Tops Google Scholar Rankings for Political Science

The Google Scholar publication metrics were updated in early July 2016. The main statistic of interest is the h5-index, which Google Scholar describes as “the largest number h such that h articles published in 2011-2015 have at least h citations each.” The 2016 h5-index value for the American Journal of Political Science is 64. This is a fairly substantial increase over the 2015 h-5 index value of 58. The 2016 h5-index places the AJPS eighth among all social science journals– higher than any other political science journal. Within the discipline, the AJPS is followed by the American Political Science Review (2016 h5-index is 61) and the Journal of Politics (2016 h5-index is 48). Taken together with the great news from earlier this summer that the AJPS has the highest two-year Impact Factor (4.515) of all political science journals, the high h5-index confirms that the American Journal of Political Science is maintaining its stature as one of the premiere outlets for high-quality research in the social sciences.

AJPS Participates in Pre-Registered Research Competition

The American Journal of Political Science is participating in the Election Research Preacceptance Competition (ERPC). This great research opportunity has been organized by Arthur Lupia (University of Michigan) and Brendan Nyhan (Dartmouth College) and funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. A complete description of the competition and its rules can be found on the ERPC website. Briefly, scholars entering the competition must design papers using data from the 2016 American National Election Study (ANES) and pre-register their designs. The AJPS, along with eight other journals, has agreed to review the pre-registered designs and make editorial decisions prior to the release of the 2016 ANES data. Competing scholars whose work is accepted at one of the participating journals not only obtain an important addition to their vitas; they also receive a cash award! Along with the competition organizers and funders, the AJPS Editorial Staff hopes that the ERPC will promote and encourage excellence in research practices throughout the social sciences. While we do not believe that preregistration is something that all researchers need to adopt, it is an important component within the broad array of research transparency principles that the AJPS supports very strongly. So, good luck to all scholars who enter the competition!

William G. Jacoby
Editor, American Journal of Political Science

Upcoming Summer Break for the AJPS

The American Journal of Political Science, like most other major journals in political science, takes a one-month break during the summer. This year, the AJPS summer hiatus runs from Saturday, July 16, 2016 through Tuesday, August 16, 2016. During this period no new or revised manuscripts can be submitted, although all other Journal operations continue unabated. So, we will continue to process incoming reviews, and I will issue editorial decisions on manuscripts as soon as sufficient information is available to do so.

Unfortunately, authors will not be able to check the status of manuscripts through the Editorial Manager system during the hiatus. We apologize for any inconvenience that this causes. If you wish to check the status of your manuscript, please send an e-mail request to ajps@msu.edu and we will respond to you as soon as possible. Please include the AJPS manuscript number and title in your request.

Please remember to mark your calendars if you plan to send your work to the American Journal of Political Science sometime in the near future: Again, the AJPS Editorial Office will be closed to new and revised submissions from July 16, 2016, until August 16, 2016.

William G. Jacoby
Editor, American Journal of Political Science

The AJPS Ranks Number One!

Two weeks ago, the 2015 Thomson Reuters Impact Factors were released. And, I am very happy to report that the 2015 Two-Year Impact Factor for the American Journal of Political Science is 4.515. The impact factor gives the average number of citations in 2015 to articles published in the AJPS during 2013 and 2014. This figure is quite impressive, representing an increase of slightly more than 1.2 citations over the 2014 Two-Year Impact Factor (which was 3.269). But, I am especially pleased to say that the 2015 Two-Year Impact Factor puts the AJPS into first place among political science journals! The rankings for the next few journals place Political Analysis second, the Annual Review of Political Science third, and the American Political Science Review fourth, in terms of average citations to articles over the preceding two years.

The 2015 Five-Year Impact Factor for the AJPS is 5.424. Again, this represents a substantial increase over the 2014 figure of 4.506. And, the 2015 Five-Year Impact Factor ranks the Journal in third place behind the American Political Science Review (ranked first) and Political Analysis (ranked second), and just ahead of the Annual Review of Political Science (ranked fourth).

These large Impact Factors confirm that the social science research community looks to the American Journal of Political Science as a primary source for scholarship of the very highest quality. As Editor, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the AJPS authors for the great work that they have submitted to the Journal and to the referees for the rigorous standards they employ while reviewing manuscripts. The accolades that the AJPS has received provide strong evidence that these efforts pay off in tangible ways.

William G. Jacoby,
Editor, American Journal of Political Science

Revisions to the AJPS Replication Policy

Greetings from the American Journal of Political Science Editorial Office! As AJPS readers know, the Journal is strongly committed to the general principles of data access and research transparency. Over the past thirteen months, this commitment has been manifested in the AJPS Replication Policy, which I believe to be one of the most rigorous sets of standards for this purpose in the social science research community. Today, I am very pleased to announce a major revision to the existing AJPS Replication Policy.

The new version of the American Journal of Political Science Replication and Verification Policy explicitly differentiates quantitative and qualitative analyses. Just as in the earlier version, the current Policy requires authors to “provide replication materials that are sufficient to enable interested researchers to reproduce all of the analytic results that are reported in the text and supporting materials (of their article).” But, the “Guidelines for Preparing Replication Files” now include separate sets of instructions for materials pertaining to quantitative and qualitative data. And, the verification process will be carried out differently for the two types of data. Verification of quantitative data analyses will continue to be handled by the Archive Staff at the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. For qualitative analyses, the verification process will be conducted by the staff of the Qualitative Data Repository at Syracuse University. Although differences between these two kinds of analyses certainly exist, I sincerely believe that similarly rigorous criteria can be employed to evaluate the integrity of the data and analytic procedures used in each case.

The updated AJPS Replication and Verification Policy addresses most of the major reservations that have been articulated regarding the general movement to enhance data access and research transparency in political science research. First, there were questions about exactly what materials must be made available. This topic is discussed in detail in the “Guidelines for Preparing Replication Files.” Second, some critics argued that transparency requirements violate data creators’ rights to maintain exclusive access to their data for some period before making it public. The replication guidelines state that authors only need to make available the specific data that were used in the analyses reported in their AJPS articles; any additional observations or variables in the source dataset can be retained for personal use. Third, some scholars raised concerns that replication standards place quantitative analyses in a privileged position relative to qualitative work. Again, the updated replication guidelines accord equal status to quantitative and qualitative analyses by applying appropriate criteria and procedures to each type of research situation. Fourth, there were fears that data access requirements would compromise the protection of human subjects. This topic is discussed explicitly in the updated guidelines, where confidentiality issues and human subjects protection are identified as two of the main reasons that the AJPS Editor will grant an exemption from the general replication requirements. Finally, the Replication and Verification Policy recognizes that it is impossible to anticipate every data analysis situation that may arise in the future. So the AJPS Editor always retains the authority to handle on a case by case basis any research efforts that do not conform fully to the principles underlying the formal guidelines.

In conclusion, I cannot emphasize strongly enough that the AJPS Replication and Verification Policy is not intended to be biased, either positively or negatively, with respect to any epistemological approach, methodological strategy, presentational style, or subject matter. Instead, it is very specifically intended to help ensure that only analyses of the highest possible quality appear within the pages of the Journal. Of course, this immediate goal has broader consequences: On the one hand, it gives authors a stronger foundation to assert that their work actually accomplishes its analytic objectives. On the other hand, it helps promote the scientific study of political phenomena as a rational and cumulative enterprise. Thus, I believe that the AJPS Replication and Verification Policy— along with similar efforts undertaken by other journals and institutions— really makes a tangible and significant contribution to the infrastructure of the social scientific research community.

William G. Jacoby
Editor, American Journal of Political Science

AJPS to Award COS Open Practice Badges

The American Journal of Political Science has demonstrated its commitment to data access and research transparency over the past year through its rigorous replication and verification policy. Starting immediately, the AJPS will provide more visible signals of its adherence to these principles by adopting two of the “Badges to Acknowledge Open Practices” from the Center for Open Science (COS). Specifically, we will use the “Open Data” and “Open Materials” badges illustrated below. According to the COS guidelines,”(t)he Open Data badge is earned for making publicly available the digitally-shareable data necessary to reproduce the reported results.” Similarly, the guidelines state that “(t)he Open Materials badge is earned by making publicly available the components of the research methodology needed to reproduce the reported procedure and analysis.” Thus, the badges are intended to be a salient indicator that the articles to which they are awarded conform to the principles and best practices of openness in scientific research.

COS Badges

Any manuscript that has been accepted for publication at the AJPS and successfully completed the data replication and verification process will automatically meet the criteria for the Open Data and Open Materials badges. Therefore, upon release of the replication Dataset on the AJPS Dataverse, these two badges will be added to the metadata of the Dataverse Dataset. The badges appear near the bottom of the main page for the article’s Dataverse Dataset, along with the statement, “The associated article has been awarded Open Materials and Open Data badges. Learn more about Open Practice Badges from the Center for Open Science.” When the article, itself, is published, the badges will appear with the information near the beginning of the electronic version in the Wiley Online library. And they will be included as part of the statement about replication materials on the first page of the article’s print version.

Of course, some articles published in the American Journal of Political Science will not receive the Badges. For example, many formal theory manuscripts and virtually all of the normative theory manuscripts that are submitted to the Journal do not contain any empirical analyses. Such work is exempt from the AJPS Replication Policy, so the Open Practice Badges are not relevant to these manuscripts. And there are certain situations in which a manuscript may be given an exemption from the usual replication requirements due to the use of restricted-access data. In such cases, authors still are asked to explain how interested researchers could gain access to the data and to provide all relevant software code and documentation for replicating their analyses. Manuscripts in this situation would not receive the Open Data Badge, but they would be awarded the Open Materials Badge. Even with allowances for exceptions, we anticipate that the vast majority of the articles published in the American Journal of Political Science will receive both Badges.

The AJPS will be the first journal in political science to award Open Practice Badges to articles. Currently, the Badges are used by five other journals– four in psychology and one in linguistics. The Badges already appear in the AJPS Dataverse Datasets for all qualified articles (i.e., those that have successfully completed the replication and verification process). And starting today (May 10, 2016) they will appear in all articles published online in the Early View queue within the Wiley Online Library. Of course, this carries over to the print versions of the articles. The Open Practice Badges serve a useful purpose by helping to emphasize the distinctive quality of the work that appears in the American Journal of Political Science.

In Memoriam: Kenneth C. Williams

I am very sad to announce the loss of an American Journal of Political Science Editorial Board member, departmental colleague, and good friend. Kenneth C. Williams, Professor in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, passed away on April 25, 2016. Ken was 59 years old, and he is survived by his wife, Marcie, and their twelve year old daughter, Katherine. Ken was born in Flint, Michigan. He received a B.A. from Bowling Green State University, an M.A. from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Ken joined the faculty at MSU in 1988. His main areas of professional interest were formal models, game theory, and laboratory experiments in political science, electoral politics, and the legislative process. Ken was the author of Introduction to Game Theory: A Behavioral Approach (2012, Oxford University Press) and Experimental Political Science and the Study of Causality: From Nature to the Lab (with Rebecca Morton, 2010, Cambridge University Press), along with many other publications.

Speaking from a personal perspective, Ken Williams was an outstanding member of the AJPS Editorial Board. He cheerfully reviewed many manuscripts- almost all of which were highly complex formal models or experimental studies of political phenomena. And he always was willing to help me with advice about submissions to the Journal and ideas regarding possible referees for manuscripts. Speaking on behalf of the AJPS Editorial Staff, our thoughts and condolences go out to Ken’s family. He will be greatly missed.

William G. Jacoby
Editor, American Journal of Political Science

AJPS is on Year-End Break!

The American Journal of Political Science is taking its end-of-the-year hiatus from Saturday, December 12, 2015, until Monday, January 11, 2016. During this one-month period, no new or revised manuscripts will be accepted, although all other Journal operations will continue unabated. Thus, we will continue to process incoming reviews, and I will issue editorial decisions on manuscripts as soon as sufficient information is available to do so.

Unfortunately, authors will not be able to check the status of manuscripts through the Editorial Manager system during the hiatus. We apologize for any inconvenience that this causes. If you wish to check the status of your manuscript, please send an e-mail request to ajps@msu.edu and we will respond to you as soon as possible. Please include the AJPS manuscript number and title in your request.

On behalf of the entire American Journal of Political Science Editorial Staff, I want to wish you a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year! Again, we will resume full operations on Monday, January 11, 2016.

William G. Jacoby
Editor, American Journal of Political Science

Upcoming Year-End Break for the AJPS

The American Journal of Political Science will take its end-of-the-year break from Saturday, December 12, 2015, until Monday, January 11, 2016. During this one-month period, no new or revised manuscripts will be accepted, although all other Journal operations continue unabated. So, we will continue to process incoming reviews, and I will issue editorial decisions on manuscripts as soon as sufficient information is available to do so.

Unfortunately, authors will not be able to check the status of manuscripts through the Editorial Manager system during the hiatus. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes. If you wish to check the status of your manuscript, please send an e-mail request to ajps@msu.edu and we will respond to you as soon as possible. Please include the AJPS manuscript number and title in your request.

Please remember to mark your calendars if you plan to send your work to the American Journal of Political Science sometime in the near future: Again, the AJPS Editorial Office will be closed to new and revised submissions from December 12, 2015, until January 11, 2016.

 

NEW INFORMATION AND MATERIALS ON THE AJPS WEBSITE

Greetings from the American Journal of Political Science Editorial Office! I am writing today to let you know about several documents that are now available on the AJPS website. Much of this new content is relevant not only for AJPS authors, but also for anyone conducting, reading, and evaluating scholarly research throughout the social science community. I truly believe you will find these materials interesting and useful for your own work.

As we all know, the research publication world is changing rapidly. New tools, procedures, and modes of communication seem to appear almost daily. For most of us, keeping up with this evolving technology can be difficult. If, like us, you feel this way, we have some help for you: The document, AJPS Information and Resources for Authors provides a convenient guide to several important elements of modern research productivity. Written by Katie Haemmerle, Editorial Assistant at Wiley Publishing, this document provides an excellent and accessible introduction to publishing concepts like the “DOI” for an article (or other online content) and the ORCID for a researcher. The document also explains tools that AJPS authors can use to measure and optimize the impact of their published work (“Altmetrics” and “Kudos,” respectively) along with some additional resources, including the AJPS iPhone App and the Wiley Exchanges Blog. Finally, it explains the rights that authors retain to their AJPS articles.

The American Journal of Political Science is proud to be taking a leading role in promoting data access and research transparency within the social science research community. The Journal‘s major initiative in this direction is its strict policy regarding replication and verification of all empirical analyses that appear in AJPS articles. Basically, authors of accepted articles are required to provide all the data and materials necessary to replicate the analytic results that appear in their articles. Furthermore, all materials are verified to confirm that they do, in fact, reproduce the results. Given the importance of the replication policy, I believe it should appear prominently on the AJPS website. Accordingly, a new item appears on the menu bar near the top of the page. Clicking on “Replication” produces a drop-down list containing the AJPS Replication Policy, guides for preparing and uploading replication files, a handy checklist that authors can use to ensure that their materials are complete before submitting them to the Journal, and a link to the AJPS Dataverse.

We all realize that replication policies are relatively new additions to the scholarly publishing world. So, I hope that these materials will make the replication process at least a bit easier for authors of manuscripts that have been accepted for publication at the AJPS. But, I also hope they receive broader attention: The best time to begin preparing replication materials is not after receiving the acceptance message from the AJPS Editor! Instead, thinking about the eventual need for replication materials throughout the entire research process is advantageous. Doing so will help researchers to create, organize, and document the various datasets, computer code, and other files that eventually will become the components of the replication archive for the article. The materials now available on the AJPS website should inform authors about what will be expected of them; hence, they will be helpful for creating the replication materials.

My main objective as Editor is to maintain the AJPS‘ status as one of the very best publication outlets in political science specifically and the social sciences more generally. And, this goal is accomplished by publishing only research of impeccably high quality. At the same time, however, I hope that the Journal can make tangible contributions toward strengthening the infrastructure of the research community. The AJPS website is a resource that is intended to achieve that objective.

Once again, I hope you find the new information and materials to be interesting and useful. The AJPS Editorial Staff and I will be announcing more innovations in the near future. But, we also are interested in your feedback regarding the materials that currently are available on the AJPS website, as well as suggestions about additional features that could be added. So, let us know if you have thoughts along any of these lines! .

AJPS is on 2015 Summer Break!

The American Journal of Political Science is taking its summer hiatus from Saturday, July 18, 2015, until Tuesday, August 18, 2015. During this month-long period, no new or revised manuscripts will be accepted, although all other Journal operations will continue unabated. Thus, we will continue to process incoming reviews, and I will issue editorial decisions on manuscripts as soon as sufficient information is available to do so.

Unfortunately, authors will not be able to check the status of manuscripts through the Editorial Manager system during the hiatus. We apologize for any inconvenience that this causes. If you wish to check the status of your manuscript, please send an e-mail request to ajps@msu.edu and we will respond to you as soon as possible. Please include the AJPS manuscript number and title in your request.

On behalf of the entire American Journal of Political Science Editorial Staff, I want to wish you a pleasant, fun, and productive summer! Again, we will resume full operations on Tuesday, August 18, 2015.

William G. Jacoby
Editor, American Journal of Political Science

The Editor of the AJPS is at Michigan State University and the Editorial Office is supported by
the Michigan State University Department of Political Science and the School of Social Sciences.

  Michigan State University 
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