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Back Stage at Social Problems: An Analysis of the Editorial Decision Process, 1993–1996

Joann Miller and Robert Perrucci
Social Problems
Vol. 48, No. 1 (February 2001), pp. 93-110
DOI: 10.1525/sp.2001.48.1.93
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/sp.2001.48.1.93
Page Count: 18
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Back Stage at Social Problems: An Analysis of the Editorial Decision Process, 1993–1996
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Abstract

The publication of scholarly papers in professional journals certifies new contributions to knowledge, as well as the skills of the authors who have subjected their work to a process of critical review. The peer review process, designed to attract quality research with the use of objective practices, cannot avoid the infusion of particularistic judgments. This study examines how more than 600 manuscripts submitted to Social Problems were processed by its editor and associate editor. It traces the influences of manuscript, author, and reviewer characteristics as papers are judged, initially by the editor, subsequently by expert reviewers, and, once again, by the editor. The reviewers' recommendations, although often reflecting disagreement, outweigh all the other measured factors that may affect the editor's decisions. The editors, however, remain obligated to formulate credible accounts of the decision process, especially when a final disposition departs from the recommendation made by expert reviewers.

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