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Recent ASA presidents and ‘top’ journals: observed publication patterns, alleged cartels and varying careers
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-09, 03:31 authored by Jennifer Platt
It has been common for studies presented as about American sociology as a whole to rely on data compiled from leading journals (American Sociological Review [ASR] and American Journal of Sociology [AJS]), or about presidents of the American Sociological Association [ASA], to represent it. Clearly those are important, but neither can be regarded as providing a representative sample of American sociology. Recently, Stephen Turner has suggested that dominance in the ASA rests with a ‘cartel’ initially formed in graduate school, and that it favors work in a style associated with the leading journals. The adequacy of these ideas is examined in the light of available data on the last 20 years, which show that very few of the presidents were in the same graduate schools at the same time. All presidents have had distinguished academic records, but it is shown that their publication strategies have varied considerably. Some have had no ASR publications except their presidential addresses, while books and large numbers of other journals not normally mentioned in this context have figured in their contributions, as well as being more prominent in citations. It seems clear that articles in the leading journals have not been as closely tied to prestigious careers as has sometimes been suggested, and that if there is a cartel it has not included all the presidents.
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