Journal of Social Issues
Note: Journal of Social Issues does not publish unsolicited manuscripts or book reviews.
Information and Guidelines for Issue Editors
Over its long history, JSI has covered a wide range of pressing social issues concerning education, health, intergroup relations, politics, poverty, religion, technology, and the workplace. Articles included in each JSI issue collectively address relevant theoretical, empirical, and policy considerations. JSI issues showcase international research from scholars (including early career scholars) from a variety of relevant fields.
Each number or issue of JSI is organized around one unifying theme or topic.
Issue editors who are knowledgeable about that topic plan and develop each issue. As outlined below, first the issue editors submit a preliminary proposal to the JSI editor. Second, the issue editors submit a formal proposal to the JSI editor. Third, the issue editors oversee the first round of reviews and revisions of all the manuscripts proposed for their issue. Fourth, the issue editors submit the entire set of manuscripts to the JSI editor for outside reviews (second round of reviews for the manuscripts). Fifth, the issue editors oversee the final round of manuscript revisions.
The JSI editor and editorial board review each preliminary and formal proposal and, if approved, make recommendations for developing the proposal into a JSI issue. The JSI editor and editorial board review each manuscript in the proposed issue after the first round of reviews and revisions led by the issue editors. The JSI editor and editorial board later approve the final issue of articles.
Important Considerations and Suggestions in Developing a JSI issue
There are typically 2 or 3 issue editors. The inclusion of early career scholars as contributors (as editors and/or authors) to JSI issues is strongly encouraged.
JSI issues typically begin with an introductory piece by the issue editors in which they provide a clear and convincing rationale and overview for the issue. The body of JSI issues is parsed into sub-sections reflecting important aspects or components of the topic. JSI issues typically end with a concluding piece that evaluates and extends the themes that have emerged throughout the issue.
Within a single issue, it is desirable to strike a balance among conceptual, empirical, and policy-oriented articles. For example, an issue could move from a theoretical perspective on the topic to examples of research findings and applications, and end with a discussion of policy or practice implications. As another example, each article in an issue could provide its own theoretical perspective, research findings supporting that theoretical perspective, and policy implications of the discussed research. There are many possible organizational sequences. It is important that policy implications of the issue are discussed. They can be addressed by one paper dedicated to policy issues (sometimes appearing as final paper in the issue) or addressed in the concluding sections of several papers in the issue.
There are a variety of ways of being "empirical." Not all articles must contain numerical data, or employ experimental or survey methods. But, in general, at least half of the articles should be empirical. Reviews of research literature and intensive analyses of illustrative cases can be considered empirical. A desirable goal is to have a mix of quantitative and qualitative pieces.
Both quantitative and qualitative papers should include a detailed Method section and Results section. Even qualitative research should include percentages or other appropriate statistics.
JSI issues should reflect an appropriate diversity of conceptual approaches to the issue they deal with. Issue editors should attempt to draw their authors from more than one discipline and to represent a sampling of perspectives different from their own. Authors should come from different institutions. No more than three contributors (first authors) should come from a single institution, and no author's name should appear on more than two contributions.
JSI has an interdisciplinary readership. It is important that papers be written for non-experts. Background citations are especially important for general points being made so the interested reader can find further information.
Most JSI issues are developed across 18 months (from preliminary proposal stage to publication). The process can be shortened (or lengthened). The longest delays seem to occur while contributors are developing and later revising their full-length manuscripts.
Each JSI issue cannot exceed 320 manuscript pages (double-spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins) including abstract, references, tables, and figures, and a one paragraph biography of each contributing author. The introductory and concluding articles are typically 20 pages, leaving 280 pages to distribute across 8 to 10 manuscripts (28 to 35 pages each).
The issue needs to be submitted using current APA (American Psychological Association) format. Reference sections for issues published in 2010 and after should include digital object identifier (DOI).
Stages in Developing a JSI Issue
1. Preliminary Proposal
A preliminary proposal should be submitted to the JSI editor for feedback on the general focus of the issue and its feasibility. The preliminary proposal should include a (1) a brief vision statement (1- 2 pages) describing the general focus of the issue, (2) a tentative table of contents including a breakdown of the sections of the issue and within each section a listing of tentative titles or topics and potential authors (and whether or not they have already agreed to contribute).
Preliminary proposals are approved if they are deemed to represent an important and timely topic of considerable interest to the JSI readership, and if they include a strong and diverse group of scholars whose collective contributions appear to represent a coherent, compelling theme. Content suggestions (revisions, omissions, extensions, reorganizations) and suggestions for additional contributors are typically given.
2. “Formal” Proposal
After the preliminary proposal is approved, the issue editors prepare and submit a formal proposal to the JSI editor. Since the preliminary proposals are brief, much of the evaluation of the merits of the proposed issue occur at the formal proposal stage. At this formal proposal stage, the editorial board is able to provide a detailed evaluation of how well the proposed issue fits with JSI's goals.
A "formal" proposal should include (1) a draft of the issue editors' introduction. This should include the objectives of the issue, the approach to be taken; and a review on previous research regarding this social issue, (2) a proposed table of contents broken down by sections of the issue and within each section a listing of tentative titles and authors (This should include the estimated length of each proposed manuscript), (3) an abstract of 2-4 pages for each proposed contribution followed by a short biography (limited to half a page) of each author (4) a timeline for development of the issue, indicating the stage of development of the material underlying each article and when manuscripts are likely to be forthcoming.
Similar to feedback at the preliminary proposal stage, the JSI editor and editorial board typically give content suggestions (revisions, omissions, extensions, reorganizations) and suggestions for additional contributors. Often, substantial feedback is given at this stage since issue editors will be handling the first round of the review and revision process as the next step in the development of the issue.
Please note that issue editors may receive substantial feedback that requires several rounds of revisions of the formal proposal before approval is given. Unfortunately, some formal proposals are not approved; thus, approval at the preliminary stage does not guarantee eventual approval at the formal proposal stage.
Approval of the formal proposal by the JSI editor indicates the editor's intent to publish an issue, following the general plan of the proposal, modified by any suggestions for additions or revisions. It does not guarantee that JSI will publish the set of papers ultimately submitted by the issue editor(s). The JSI editor and ad hoc reviewers will review the finished manuscripts. Any specific paper, or even the issue as a whole, might not be acceptable in its final form. Thus, the approval is a statement of intent, not a contractual commitment. The issue editor(s) should have a similar understanding with the potential contributors. However, the JSI editor and issue editors will try to avoid such unusual circumstances of rejecting a paper at a late stage in the process.
3. After the Formal Proposal is Approved
The issue editors communicate suggestions to their contributors (typically including a draft of their introduction to the issue, the table of contents of the issue, and expected length of each manuscript) and solicit full-length manuscripts.
As part of the first round of reviews and revisions, authors send copies of their manuscripts to the issue editors. The manuscript should be in current APA format and incoude an abstract of 150 words or fewer
as well as a one paragraph biography of each author.
The issue editors review manuscripts, often with the help of additional reviewers including other contributors to the issue. Authors respond to the issue editors' recommended changes and send modified manuscripts back to the issue editor, with a cover letter outlining revisions that have been made. This is repeated until the issue editors feel the manuscript is ready for submission to the JSI editor and board.
When satisfied with all manuscripts, the issue editors send all the manuscripts to the JSI editor. This should include a table of contents. Sometimes, the introductory and concluding pieces are submitted at a later time.
The JSI editor sends the manuscripts to the Editorial board and outside reviewers. The JSI editor then compiles the outside reviewers' comments and her/his own review and sends this to the issue editors. (Revisions may be minor and stylistic or major and substantive; there may be a recommendation that a particular article be dropped, although this is avoided as much as possible.)
The issue editors consider the suggested revisions and comments and discuss them with the JSI editor. Once the JSI editor and issue editors have agreed on the needed changes, the issue editors send comments back to the authors.
Authors revise in response to comments and suggestions and return modified manuscripts to issue editors, with a cover letter outlining revisions that have been made.
The issue editors review the authors' responses and recommend final edits to the manuscripts as needed. The issue editors will make sure the overall length of the manuscripts does not exceed expectations. When completed, the issue editors send the modified manuscripts to the editor in electronic form, along with the author cover letters.
The JSI editor does a final review of each manuscript to check for clarity, the use of correct statistical procedures, adequacy of citation and other format issues. Occasionally, some final revisions are required at this point. The JSI editor will also make sure the overall length of the manuscripts does not exceed publication guidelines.
4. Final Processing of Manuscripts
All manuscripts are sent to the publisher for copy editing in paper and electronic form. Each manuscript should include an abstract of 150 words or fewer and a brief, one paragraph biography of each author.
Full contact information for each contributing author needs to be sent to the issues editors who will compile contact information for the entire issue and send to the JSI Editor. Copyright forms must be signed by the first author of each article and sent (preferably scanned and sent as a pdf file) to the issue editors who will compile all the copyright forms and send to the JSI Editor, who will then forward them to the publisher.
The publisher sends page proofs to the first author of each individual article; the publisher also sends a complete set of proofs for the entire issue to the issue editors and to JSI editor.
The issue editors check the entire set of proofs and return the corrected proofs to the publisher.
The publisher finishes the issue and mails it to subscribers.
SPSSI Journal Appeal Procedure
An appeal procedure is available to Authors and Issue Editors of Journal of Social Issues and Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy. If an author or issue editor believes that the editorial process was fundamentally flawed such that their work or issue did not get a fair review, they should first discuss this with the journal editor. If they are not satisfied with the outcome, they may appeal in writing to the journal editor, describing their concerns. The journal editor will provide a written response to the appeal. If the Author or issue editor is not satisfied with the editor’s response, they may then appeal to the Publication Committee of SPSSI through the chair of that committee (with a copy to SPPSI Central Office). The appeal should include a written description of the concerns, and any relevant correspondence with the journal editor. The Publication Committee will provide an opportunity for the journal editor to provide feedback regarding the appeal prior to the committee’s deliberation, and the committee will make a final decision that will be conveyed to both the editors and the author. At each step, every effort will be made to provide a response in a timely fashion.
Journal of Social Issues is published quarterly for the Society for the Psychological Study of Social issues by Wiley-Blackwell, 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA. Call US toll-free 1-800-835-6770; phone (781) 388-8200, fax (781) 388-8232; www.Wiley.com.
Length of JSI Issues and Articles
Issue length is important since JSI has a fixed annual page allocation. With both contractual and quality considerations in mind, the entire issue should be about 320 double-spaced manuscript pages.
Updated April 2010