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Update on Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
by Geoffrey Maruyama, ASAP Editor, 2006-2009


As I write this column, I have just received a “hard copy” of Volume 7 of ASAP.  As I reviewed the edition I noticed that the editorial board and book editor listed in the front section has not been updated from last year.  I just received an email from Blackwell confirming their error. The web page will be updated, but at this point, I am not sure what Blackwell can or will do with the paper copy.  So, for the record, people left off the masthead start with Peggy Stockdale, who has been the ASAP book editor and member of the editorial board. Other members of the editorial board whose names were omitted include Louis Penner from Wayne State University and Karla Vermeulen from Fordham University. To them, I extend my apologies.

I hope that readers find the contents of Volume 7 useful and worthwhile.  Volume 7 includes the special section of very interesting and diverse papers on the roles and responsibilities of psychologists if and when they become involved with interrogations.  Other papers in Volume 7 touch on key issues including desegregation, immigration, environmental issues, sex offenders, and race. Furthermore, there is a robust set of book reviews, thanks to the hard work of Peggy Stockdale. We came in somewhat under our page limit, which is mixed in its effect. On one hand, it would be good to use all the allocated pages, and even stretch beyond. On the other hand, the number of citations divided by number of articles determines journal quality, so accepting articles that have a low likelihood of being cited would be detrimental to the journal’s long-term success.  In this regard, the bottom line for ASAP continues to be that there are not that many high quality submissions focused on issues of policy and practice. There were only a small number of unsolicited articles in the 2007 volume. I have a few articles in revision, but submissions have not yielded an adequate number of publishable papers.  Last year, only 32 articles went through review.  I have started to be more proactive in recruitment, and hope that having strong articles in the last couple volumes will help get others to consider ASAP.

In thinking about ASAP’s future, I have always tried to align ASAP with SPSSI priorities for policy.  As SPSSI’s policy agenda becomes more prominent, we may need to solicit thematic articles or sets of articles on particular current issues. For those who ask about overlap between ASAP and JSI, one major difference between ASAP and JSI is that JSI normally works with themed issues that come in from members and other social scientists, while ASAP solicits thematic papers in areas of central interest to SPSSI as a society and to policy makers and practitioners. ASAP themes may range from a single article to a set of papers to a key paper plus comments/rebuttals/elaborations. Regardless of themes, a key element of ASAP is the inclusion of unsolicited papers on issues of importance to practice and policy.  

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Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice.
                                                                                                                    - Kurt Lewin