Saturday, September 11, 2010

From the Editor--State of the Journal: An Advisory Board Update

For the Editor's blog this week I want to share the semi annual update on ARJ activities that I recently shared with the ARJ Journal's advisory board.

I. Updates.

i. Our ARJ "manifesto" now sits on the home page: You may recall you added your signature and having it on the home page allows easier access and citation. As a reminder here’s how it starts up:
We, the undersigned leaders and friends of the Action Research journal, believe that our journal flourishes by serving the community of action researchers and putting its contributions at the service of society and our planet. As a community we are committed to doing work that brings appreciable positive impact through the collaborative character of our research.
ii. Now that ARJ has been inducted into the all important social science citation index, we can next expect the first “Impact Factor” to be published in June 2011. Thomson Reuters will count citations in 2010 to articles published in 2008 and 2009. I think it would be too optimistic to expect a high impact score in the early months and years; building reputation, at least as expressed in citations is a process that may take a long time. That said, we are so pleased to have been selected for the social science citation index as this is a significant help with making the journal a premier destination especially for younger scholars.
iii. Our acceptance rate now runs at around 25%. My hunch, watching the numbers over the years, is that we will stabilize at or around 20%. Not shabby! And we can take some pride in knowing that the 80% rejected usually experience a developmental approach which, we hope, does not deter from future engagement with the journal.

Accepted papers are now published in "on-line first" format which means they do not languish too long between final acceptance and public access. The current batch sit at:
iv. The advisory editorial board has modified the "quality criteria" that inform authors what we are looking for in a paper. This happened as part of the ongoing review process among the associate editors, through which we reflect on such things as the quality criteria. The criteria are posted on the site with manuscript submission information. It starts out as follows:

“The seven criteria listed on the ‘Quality Criteria’ page of the web-site are the product of ARJ associate editor board members’ ‘collogue’ on what constitutes ‘quality in action research.’ To start off the process of agreeing on these criteria, the Editor-in-Chief and each of the Editors on the Associate Board completed a questionnaire in which we ranked and commented on the existing quality criteria in terms of how we saw their relevance and importance to the journal.”
v. We have a number of Special Issues underway. For example Action Research and the Arts is coming to fruition – there was a bumper response which Mary Brydon-Miller has managed to pare down to what is shaping up to be a terrific issue. There are additional calls for papers to various special issues, including one whose guest editors have not been closely associated with the journal to date. We hope this signals our openness and our desire for a “big tent” approach. That SI may be found on our home page also: Civil Society Research for Sustainable Development.
vi. We created a new layout for the journal - matching most other SAGE journals. We therefore took the opportunity to update all the information on the site. Importantly we now acknowledge the Associate Editor who led the review for each paper and invite comments from readers on the blog. Therefore each article now ends with, for example, “We thank Dr. Davydd Greenwood for leading the review process for the authors of this paper. Should you have comments/reactions you wish to share, please bring them to the interactive portion of our website:”
Now speaking of interactivity …
II. II. REQUEST: blog now and then! RSVP with your interest to Hilary ( and check out the blog:
Drs. Mary Brydon Miller, Meghna Guhathakurta, Steve Waddell and myself formed a team to advance ARJ connectivity. Mary engaged a handful of innovative and enthusiastic grad students at her Center for AR at University of Cincinnati to help out. In fact they have done most of the terrific work so far. As a result we now have the daily ARJ blog. Each weekday is devoted to a specific topic, one of which is to offer the "Voice of the Editor." I have been using that spot to share about our quarterly associate editor board meetings as well as drawing attention to the articles coming out in the new issue. It is now time to expand upon that.
The request: Please consider if you'd like to write a blog post (i.e., an informal, first person perspective on a subject of your choice that is relevant to the AR community) and how often (once a month, once every 2 months, daily is OK too!). Topics could simply include "what's on your mind now." Please include links to your own site and show your work off. In time we hope to use the blog as a showcase for the exciting AR work all over the world.
Next step 1) RSVP and let me know of your interest and/or 2) send me a blog post and I will upload it for you - or, if you prefer, let you know how to do it yourself.

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