Leadership

Diversity Out Front: Political Science Group Brings All-Female Team to Academic Journal

By / Jul 31, 2019 (Natasha Wolf/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Starting next year, the American Political Science Association’s primary academic journal will be edited by a team of 12 women.

A major political science journal is taking a new approach—and a key sign of that shift can be seen in the makeup of the American Political Science Review’s new editorial team.

For the first time ever—and in a rarity for the world of academic journals—every APSR editor is a woman. That’s intentional according to its parent organization, the American Political Science Association (APSA), which saw an opportunity to take a big step forward with the makeup of its 12-member editorial team.

“In addition to our substantive and methodological breath and expertise, our team is also diverse along lines of race, ethnicity, and sexuality,” the incoming editorial team explained on a page announcing their arrival. “In a context of growing evidence of and concerns about the under-representation of women in submissions to the journal and in authorship of APSR articles as well as about structural biases against the publication of scholarship about race, gender, and sexuality, the APSA’s selection of our team sends a strong signal about the association leadership’s commitment to structural and cultural changes at the journal and in the discipline more generally.”

The editorial team, made up of political science and gender studies professors from around the academic world, will stay in their roles for a four-year period between June 1, 2020, and May 31, 2024. The women bring a breadth and diversity of thought to the publication, with many of the editors previously taking editorial roles in political science journals and, collectively, having served on the editorial boards of more than 40 journals.

“Our editorial team is unprecedented in many ways,” the editors said.

In an article on the new editorial team, Inside Higher Ed wrote that, beyond the focus on diversity, the editorial team is notable in one other way—its size will shift the way the journal is edited. In the past, the journal has had one lead editor for the entire four-year period, but will now shift to having two co-leaders that switch out each year. One thing that might help, noted former APSR editor John Ishiyama of the University of North Texas, is that APSA will be taking on an administrative role in helping the editors manage submissions.

Ishiyama, who served as an editor of APSR from 2012 to 2016, praised the move.

“I generally see this as a positive step,” he said. “After all, there have been many all-male and racially homogeneous editorial teams in the past, so why not a racially diverse team of women?”

Sharon D. Wright Austin, a professor of political science and director of African American studies at the University of Florida, will serve as one of the 12 editors starting next year.

She told Inside Higher Ed that her team “is very excited about the work we are planning to do to maintain the high standards of the journal while also making it more inclusive of diverse research topics and methodologies.”

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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