THE JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC EDUCATION
2000 ANNUAL REPORT
This review of the activities of the Journal of Economic Education in 2000 provides data to enable the reader to view this year's accomplishments in the context of the JEE's 31-year history. Exhibits, figures, and tables are presented to facilitate comparisons of current activities with those of the past. Expectations for the future are addressed throughout the report.
Exhibit 1 is new this year; it identifies recent JEE authors who are part of the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE) network of state councils and academic centers, members of the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education (AEA-CEE), or Henry H. Villard Research Award recipients. Exhibit 2 lists the top 50 institutions accessing the JEEWeb site. Figure 1 shows the top 20 countries accessing the JEE Web site, and Figure 2 contains the time trend in hits. Five tables provide summary data on editorial matters. The content of each of the quarterly issues published this year is summarized in Table 1, which also has the allocation of pages to the research, content, instruction, features, and online sections. The mix of authors and their institutional affiliations are presented in Table 2. The number of manuscripts processed and the rates of manuscript acceptance are in Table 3. The referees used over the past year are listed in Table 4. The time required to process published papers is given in Table 5. Finally, four pages with information on pricing, circulation, and subscriptions are provided by the JEE publisher, Heldref Publications, a division of the nonprofit Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation.
Beginning to the Present
The National Council on Economic Education founded the Journal of Economic Education in 1969. From its beginning, the JEE was a cooperative effort between the NCEE and the American Economic Association's Committee on Economic Education. The NCEE oversaw publication, and the AEA-CEE served as the editorial board, with Henry H. Villard serving as the first editor. According to G. L. Bach, chair of the AEA-CEE at the time, the purpose of the JEE "is to provide a channel of communication for research work and related publishable material with reference to economic education"(AER Papers and Proceedings, May 1971, p. 505).
The NCEE assigned the JEE copyright and publishing responsibility to Heldref Publications in 1981, but the NCEE retains responsibility for appointing and maintaining the editor. The editor and associate editors are responsible for article review, selection, and scheduling. Financial support for these editorial functions continues to be provided by the NCEE and the six institutions of higher education that house the editor and associate editors: William Becker at Indiana University, Hirschel Kasper at Oberlin College, Michael Watts at Purdue University, Peter Kennedy at Simon Fraser University, William Walstad at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, and Kim Sosin at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Today the JEE is truly a team effort.
The importance of the JEE to the National Council on Economic Education is suggested by the observation that three of the five associate editors of the JEE are NCEE affiliate university center directors, and one, Kim Sosin, is national center representative on the NCEE Board of Trustees. Editor Bill Becker was Director of the Minnesota State Council on Economic Education and Director of the University of Minnesota Center on Economic Education before moving to Indiana. As identified in Exhibit 1, 51 NCEE board members, NCEE center and council network affiliates, AEA Committee on Economic Education members, and/or Henry H. Villard research award winners have published 121 articles in the JEE since 1990.
As an international refereed academic journal, the JEE plays a major role in giving academic credibility to the economic education movement. The JEE is the only publication dedicated to the teaching and learning of economics that is indexed, abstracted, scanned, or otherwise listed in the Journal of Economic Literature, Social Science Citation Index, Current Contents, Education Index, Business Education Index, Contents Pages in Education, International Bibliography of Book Reviews, International Bibliography of Periodical Literature, PAIS Bulletin, Social Studies/Social Science Education (ERIC), and Research Alert.
The importance of the JEE to the scholarship of teaching and learning economics was reaffirmed this year in the NCEE's strategic review of all its programs. That zero-based budgeting assessment effort enabled the NCEE board "to recognize even more fully the significant part that the JEE plays in fostering and fortifying the academic backbone of our organization" (September 28, 2000, correspondence). According to Robert Duvall, NCEE President & Chief Executive Officer, the NCEE is committed to ongoing support of the JEE, with a rolling three-year cycle of funding from 2001 forward. We are indebted to JEE Editorial Board member Bob Duvall and the NCEE for this vote of confidence and commitment to the mission of the JEE.
Over the years, the JEE has promoted many innovations in the teaching of economics of both the high- and low-tech varieties. The JEE World Wide Web site was brought online in the spring of 1995 at
On the JEE home pages, Web users find the tables of contents, abstracts, and author information on past and future issues. In addition to abstracts for articles published since 1984, they also find the abstracts of manuscripts recently accepted for publication. The JEE Web site also contains the last 12 years of annual reports, information on subscribing, and submission details that include the style guide. Web users can search this information via keyword entries in the search engine or by scrolling.
The top 50 institutions whose members have been hitting the JEE pages are shown in Exhibit 2. Figure 1 contains the count of the top 20 countries whose scholars "hit" or accessed the JEE site between January 1, 2000, and November 1, 2000. Although the exact meaning or intent of a hit is unknown, scholars from around the world are accessing the JEE URL each month. Figure 2 shows that the number of users hitting or accessing the contents on the JEE Web site has increased exponentially, from 553 per month in April 1995 to a high of 46,648 per month in April 2000 -- a substantial rise, even taking the growth of the Internet into account.
Starting in 1998, all articles published in quarterly issues of the JEE have been available at the JEE Web site as pdf files that can be read through the Adobe Acrobat Reader. The JEE was the first of the major journals in economics to make this service available without charge on the Internet. William Goffe and Robert Parks honored the JEE in their January 7, 2000, presentation "What's on the Internet for Economists?" at the Allied Social Sciences Association meetings in Boston as unique and commendable for the services the JEE provides on the Internet.
In 1998, the JEE Web site was selected for the Scout Report for Business and Economics. (The Internet Scout Project identifies "the best resources on the Internet," http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/report/bus-econ/.) It was also recognized by the National Science Foundation with a grant for a conference on the use of technology in teaching that was held at the University of Pittsburgh and published in an enlarged summer 1999 JEE issue.
The technology employed and the appearance of the JEE Web site is becoming dated. The JEE home page is written and managed in html. Capacity limits have already been reached on its original search engine. As already noted, posting articles on the page was made possible by adding pdf capabilities. The html and pdf environments do not meet the anticipated future needs of the JEE Web site. Thus, the JEE has joined in an American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education and National Council on Economic Education grant request to the National Science Foundation, which, if funded, will give the JEE the wherewithal to make major improvements.
The potential of what is planned using Cold Fusion can be seen already in the new experimental search engine that was added this fall by Chris Calabrese of Indiana University Information and Technology Services. This advanced search engine can locate anything within the pdf files of actual articles published in the quarterly issues. If funding is forthcoming from the NSF, then all our plans for a more inviting and technically sophisticated JEE Web site can be realized.
Peter Kennedy, Professor of Economics, Simon Fraser University, is the associate editor of the research section. Peter's goal is to publish original theoretical and empirical studies that deal with the analysis and evaluation of teaching and learning methods and materials. We are indebted to Simon Fraser University for the support it has provided Peter in his active pursuit of this goal over the past 11 years.
Articles involving statistical inference are published in the research section. In 2000, 29 manuscripts were submitted to the research section but none of these has been yet recommended for publication; 14 are still under consideration for publication. This year, Peter recommended 2 articles for publication that had been submitted in previous years. Peter's three-year acceptance rate is only 7.02 percent, which is an all time low and expected to increase as Peter and his referees invest a significant amount of time working with authors to get papers into shape for publication in the JEE.
Although the acceptance rate is low in the research section, longer articles tend to be published there. The proportion of pages going to the research section was 19 percent in 2000 (Table 1), which compares to the 11.6 percent in 1999, 9.8 percent in 1998, 31.5 percent in 1997, and 12.4 percent in 1996. The high level in 1997 was associated with a topical spring issue devoted to pre-college economic education.
Michael Watts, Professor of Economics at Purdue University, has been associate editor of the instruction section for the past 12 years. In the instruction section, Mike oversees articles describing innovations in pedagogy, hardware, materials, and methods for teaching traditional subject matter. Thanks are due to Mike and those with whom he works at the Krannert School of Management, where he is also director of the Center on Economic Education, an affiliate of the National Council on Economic Education.
Mike recommended a total of 4 articles for publication this year (Table 3). Only one of the 44 articles submitted in 2000 have been accepted for publication; 25 are still under consideration, and 18 have been rejected. Over the three-year period, 11.11 percent of the unsolicited articles have been accepted for publication in the instruction section. For the special proceedings issue featuring the papers presented at the National Science Foundation/JEE/University of Pittsburgh conference on technology in teaching economics, 91.67% of the submitted pieces were accepted. In 2001, we will be publishing three articles that were invited following presentations at a conference on the use of Monte Carlo in the teaching of econometrics to undergraduates held at Middlebury College, which was sponsored by JEE board member David Colander.
The instruction section has been the largest section in the JEE, although its size fluctuates - 34.6 percent in 2000, as seen in Table 1, and 62 percent in 1999, 49 percent in 1998, 18.4 percent in 1997, and 37.1 percent in 1996. Topical issues, such as the Middlebury conference proceedings planned for 2001 and the University of Pittsburgh conference on the use of technology for teaching economics in 1999, account for much of this variation.
Hirschel Kasper, Professor of Economics at Oberlin College, is associate editor of the content section. Hirschel strives to publish articles that address contemporary issues, new ideas, and research findings in economics that may influence or can be incorporated into the teaching of economics. We express our thanks to Hirschel and to Oberlin College for the 14 years of support it has provided the JEE during Hirsch's tenure an associate editor.
This year, Hirschel Kasper recommended one manuscript for publication. Of the 41 new manuscripts submitted for the content section in 2000, 10 were rejected, and 31 are still in review (Table 3). Over the past three years, the acceptance rate in the content section has been 19.74 percent, which seems close to ideal for authors producing high - quality pieces to feel relatively assured of getting published. As with the other sections, the number of pages published in the content section varies from year to year - 21.4 percent in 2000, 12.5 percent of the pages published in 1999, 7.9 percent in 1998, 12.6 percent of the pages published in 1997, and 19.1 percent in 1996.
Features and Information
Since 1994 William Walstad, Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska -Lincoln, has been the associate editor of the features and information section. He is also Chair of the American Economic Association's Committee on Economic Education, and Director of the University of Nebraska National Center for Research in Economic Education, an affiliate of the National Council on Economic Education.
The features and information section contains articles that provide survey results, international and institutional comparisons, and descriptive studies on the economics curriculum, instructional materials, and educational practices. For example, the JEE cooperated with the University of Melbourne, the University of South Australia, and the University of Adelaide in sponsoring an international conference on the scholarship of teaching and learning of economics held in Melbourne on July 13 and 14, 2000. The proceedings from this conference will appear in the summer 2001 issue.
In 2000, Bill Walstad recommended a total of 7 manuscripts for publication. This year, there were 30 new unsolicited manuscripts submitted for review in the features and information section, of which 8 were rejected, 4 accepted, and 18 are still in review (Table 3). The three-year acceptance rate of this section is 24.07 percent, which seems right on target for our current flow of manuscripts.
The features and information section made up 13.7 percent of the JEE page count in 2000, which compares to its 5.7 percent in 1999, 18.8 percent in 1998, 24.0 percent in 1997, and 20.6 percent in 1996.
In 2000, the new "online" section was initiated, with Kim Sosin as associate editor. Kim is Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics, University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is also UN-Omaha Director of the Center for Economic Education, an affiliate of the National Council on Economic Education. The fact that the JEE has two editors (Bill Walstad and Kim Sosin) from Nebraska speaks to the commitment of Nebraska to economic education and the JEE is indebted to the Nebraska team of economic educators.
The new online section is an outcome of the Journal of Economic Education and the University of Pittsburgh 1999 conference on the use of technology in the teaching of economics. The online section is designed to identify exemplary uses of technology for economic instruction. Materials submitted to the JEE for review in this new section are expected to be interactive or otherwise not conducive to the traditional printed-page format. As seen by the sites available on the JEE Web page, only the highest quality materials receive the JEE imprimatur. These materials are housed and available for Web viewing as finished documents on the submitter's Web site for a fixed period of time. Short descriptions and Web URLs of accepted Web materials appear in the regular issues of the JEE. Selected sites receive an electronic award button signaling that they are "JEE selections," as seen for example at the NCEE Web site (http://www.econedlink.org/) where the JEE award button is prominently on display.
Helping Kim in her first year of work on the online section have been Michelle Mason Winston, director of Technology Program Development for the National Council on Economic Education, and George Bredon, Senior Lecturer at the University of South Australia. Together they have recommended the acceptance of 3 pieces of which 2 were submitted this year. Of the 17 pieces submitted this year, 8 were rejected and 7 are still under consideration. Kim's long-term acceptance rate is 44%, which seems appropriate for a newly formed section. Because each online note requires only one page, only 3.4 percent of the JEE pages in 2000 were allocated to the published online notes.
The associate editors undertake extensive reviews of manuscripts considered for publication in the JEE. In the refereeing process this year, they made use of 286 scholars (Table 4). Each referee receives a complimentary copy of the winter issue in which all the referees' names appear with thanks. In the past the JEE only recognized referees in the year for which a final publication decision was made. Referees may have been asked multiple times to look at a manuscript revision but they were only recognized once in the winter issue following the year in which a paper was either accepted or rejected. This year, for the first time, referees are acknowledged for doing any work for the JEE between October 11, 1999 and October 10, 2000. All of economic education is in the debt of those who voluntarily serve as referees.
The refereeing process associated with the selection of articles for publication in the JEE is time consuming. As seen in Table 5, however, the time from submission to the first contact an associate editor has with an author about possible revision is not excessive. It is typically well within three months. Authors of accepted articles typically must wait a year or more before seeing their accepted manuscripts in print. Delays in publication appear to be associated with the subsequent time for rewriting, reviewing, editing, and the length of the queue of accepted manuscripts waiting to be published. This time to publication is not unusual for top-quality academic journals in general, as seen for example in an article in Chance [Winter 1998, 11(1): 42-45], or the slowdown of the economics publishing process as reported by MIT professor Glenn Ellison in an October 1999 seminar paper. Nevertheless, it is a source of concern.
The data management system is critical in manuscript tracking. From the time the JEE moved to Indiana University in 1989, when Phillip Saunders was Chair of the Department of Economics, this function has been underwritten by Indiana University College of Arts and Science, for which the JEE is most thankful.
Initially, Elaine Yarde was executive secretary of the JEE and responsible for all data management. From 1994 until late 1999, Julie Marker assumed those duties. In 2000 Gordana Greene took over many of those responsibilities. Both Elaine and Julie came back to help Gordana until her departure in early December. Julie is still taking care of the JEE Web page and Elaine is again taking care of the critical daily office work as we search for a new executive secretary. We are all in Elaine's and Julie's debt.
Editor Bill Becker was on leave this year for six months at the University of South Australia. While there, Sandra Ciaramella provided most appreciated word processing and data management assistance for which the JEE is thankful.
Suzanne Becker continues to assist Bill Becker in the editing function at Indiana University. Sue has a master's degree from the University of Minnesota, and she has been editing manuscripts in economics and econometrics for nearly 30 years, and for the JEE since 1989. The authors of each of the 48 articles, notes, and reviews published in 2000 have benefited from Sue's eye for detail and editorial forte.
At Heldref Publications, Rosalind Springsteen is the JEE Managing Editor. She holds a master's degree from the University of Michigan in economics and was previously employed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rosalind Springsteen, together with the Heldref staff, ensures that the final JEE product is of the highest quality and in readers' hands in the season designated on the issue's cover.
Data on pricing, subscriptions, and the circulation of the JEE are provided by Fred Huber, Heldref Circulation Director, in the four pages at the end of this report. Heldref Publications has been responsible for these three functions since 1981.
Regular individual subscriptions to the JEE are priced at $45 per year. The institution rate is $89 for the yearly four-issue subscription. In November, paid subscriptions were 1,112, with 1,159 copies of the fall issue circulated. There was a slight increase in the average number of subscriptions, from 1,158 in 1999 to 1,211 in 2000. The peak circulation of 1,578 in 1995 reflected a promotional effort aimed at participants in the AEA/NCEE teacher training program.
Heldref's subscription data do not yet reflect the 2000 changes in Council and Center Directors' subscriptions. These subscriptions are obtained as part of the registration process at the annual meeting of the National Council on Economic Education, which was held this year in Savannah, Georgia. This year, 71 individual subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network directors who subscribed at a special discounted rate as a result of their association with the NCEE.
Over the past several years, other periodicals devoted to economic education and the economics of education have entered the market. In addition, expanding free use of the JEE World Wide Web services as well as those coming on line through other Web servers may be cutting into hard copy subscriptions.
In addition to the JEE Web site, Heldref Publications now makes the JEE available in forms other than hard copy. Readers can find the JEE through several different services in the following ways:
1. EBSCO, in the form of CD_ROM, and online.
2. Bell and Howell, International in the form of microfiche and online.
3. Gale Group, Northern Lights in the form of CD-ROM, and online.
4. Institute for Scientific Information, in the form of photocopy, facsimile, and electronic.
5. Bigchalk.com, in the online form of the Electronic Library and Homework Helper.
Tom Kelly, director of advertising and new media, and Margaret Buckley, multi-media manager, note that unlike the JEE Web site at Indiana University, and Heldref's own Web page, users accessing the JEE in one of the above five forms must pay for the service. For example, EBSCO is available only to subscribers (1-800-653-2726)
Heldref has worked the JEE into a positive cash-flow position. Since 1995, it has provided a financial grant to the editorial office at Indiana University. We have every reason to expect that the JEE's usefulness to economists and educators will continue to increase as we move more and more toward alternative forms of publishing and circulation. With the support of both Heldref and the NCEE, as well as the six universities housing the JEE editorial offices, the financial and academic backbones of the JEE appear secure.
William E. Becker
December 1, 2000
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