Call for papers for the Canadian Journal of Sociology : The role of national journals in the social sciences and humanities
Vincent Larivière and Jean-Philippe Warren are guest editing a special issue of Canadian Journal of Sociology which aims to explore the roles and functions of social sciences and humanities journals in the new scholarly ecosystem.
Call for papers
The role of national journals in the social sciences and humanities
The vast majority of scholars work within a national framework. Research is mostly state-funded, and university professors are usually affiliated with national or regional institutions. However, science is driven by an ideal of universalism in which nations, cultures, and traditions are seen as constituting obstacles to overcome on the road towards true objectivity.
In this conflicting dynamics between place-bound and “placeless” research, national journals in the social sciences and humanities (SSH) occupy an uncomfortable position. If one of their aims is to provide a precise understanding of their respective societies, another consists in arriving at a more global explanation of contemporary issues. For instance, the Canadian Journal of Sociology states: “The Canadian Journal of Sociology publishes rigorously peer-reviewed research articles and innovative theoretical essays by social scientists from around the world, providing insight into the issues facing Canadian society as well as social and cultural systems in other countries.”
The desire to escape parochialism, the drive towards the internationalization of science, and the incentives to publish in prestigious top-ranked periodicals, among others factors, have led some peer-reviewed journals to disinvest to a certain extent the national scene. Reflecting this evolution, some journals have been renamed to convey a non-national orientation (e. g. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology changed its name to the Journal of Sociology; the Revue québécoise de science politique changed its name to Politique et sociétés). Meanwhile, some traditionally well-established journals are increasingly regarded as too narrowly regional and therefore unattractive to the large number of scholars now more involved on the international scene. Recent years have witnessed a broadening of Canadian researchers’ publication venues. For instance, while 46% of Canadian SSH papers in 1981 were published in Canadian journals, this percentage had dropped to 12.6% by 2014.
Such a seemingly progressive move away from perceived localism is particularly noteworthy if only for the fact that research in SSH cannot be blind to national realities. Firstly, if scholars from a given country do not study their own society, the probability that others will remains slim. Secondly, the quest for universalism may hide career-driven strategies that favour more central paradigms in the field of SSH. American journals are not only more likely to publish research on American topics but may also encourage certain forms of inquiry to the detriment of other, less mainstream approaches. Hence, an increasing focus on so-called international research is likely to have adverse effects.
Many questions arise: How does the transformation of the periodical field vary across disciplines? What are the factors affecting these trends? How are journals affected by this evolution? What are the mid- to long-term consequences of the different changes in practice for scholarly journals? Is the internationalization of social science another name for its Americanization? In answering such questions and many more this special issue aims to explore the roles and functions of SSH journals in the new scholarly ecosystem.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Vincent Larivière (email@example.com) or Jean-Philippe Warren (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Submission of Proposals Deadline (400 words): May 1, 2016.
Submission of Final Papers Deadline: February 1, 2017.
This content has been updated on May 22 2016 at 13 h 42 min.