THE JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC EDUCATION

2002 ANNUAL REPORT


Obstacles to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Economics
Research
Instruction
Content
Features and Information
Online
World Wide Presence and Global Visibility
Editorial Board
Editorial Matters
Circulation
Closing Comments
Figure 1: Total Access to JEE Web Site from Outside the United States (January 1, 2001 - November 1, 2001)
Figure 2: Monthly Accesses to JEE Web Site
Table 1: Distribution of Articles by Section
Table 2: Authors and Affiliations
Table 3: Disposition of Articles
Table 4: Referees and Affiliations
Table 5: Processing Time
Current Statistics Table
Circulation History Table
Subscriber Profile
Geographical Breakdown Table

This report provides information that will enable an assessment of the Journal of Economic Education's activities in 2002. It provides the data required for a comparison of present activities with those of the last 33 years. It discusses the ways in which the research, content, instruction, features and information, and online sections of the JEE contribute to the advancement of the scholarship of teaching and learning. It presents information on editorial matters and circulation. It also considers a human subjects obstacle that many economic educators now face in the pursuit of scholarship. Finally, it presents an initiative with the Economics Research Network (ERN), a division of Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. (SSEP), and Social Science Research Network (SSRN), to start a new journal of working papers aimed in part at enhancing submissions to the JEE.

As an overview, the quarterly publication of articles in the five sections of the JEE in 2002 is summarized in Table 1. 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 manuscripts is given in Table 5. Information on the JEE World Wide Web site is provided in Figures 1 and 2. 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.

Obstacles to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Economics

Following the death of a man in gene-therapy trials at the University of Pennsylvania and subsequent death of a woman participant in an asthma study at Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in July 2001 halted all federally financed medical studies on human subjects at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and other medical studies underway elsewhere in the university. Important to know for those involved in the scholarship of teaching and learning economics is that no studies involving human subjects engaged in teaching and learning activities at Johns Hopkins were halted. Federal officials said Johns Hopkins' institutional review board (IRB) had failed to ensure that health risks to subjects were minimized and reasonable, as required by federal regulation. The suspension was quickly removed when Johns Hopkins officials hastily enacted new research protocols and human-subject protections. Similarly, federal officials have temporarily suspended all medical research involving human subjects at Duke University and other prominent medical schools for not following recent regulations governing the protection of human subjects. (Following the resignation of medical doctor Greg Koski in October 2002, however, the Bush Administration and The Office of Management and Budget are now questioning the legality of an agreement that Koski's federal Office of Human Research Protections made institutions and researchers conducting studies involving human subjects sign as a condition of the institution continuing to receive federal funds, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 1, 2002.)

There have been a flood of lawsuits against the University of Pennsylvania, University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Oklahoma as well as other institutions involving damage claims filed against individual university officials, doctors, IRB members, and even staff, for allegedly failing to fully inform the people they recruit for medical experiments about all the potential risks of participating as well as not telling participants about the financial interests of those involved. As reported in several articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education, administrators at even the most elite universities have been put on notice regarding intolerable sloppiness in medical clinical trials.

Threats of government action and lawsuits may have led highly risk-adverse university officials to overreact when confronted with human subject committee members' arguments to expand their policing function to classroom teaching. For example, Peter Finn, Chair of the Indiana University Bloomington Human Subjects Committee and Associate Professor of Psychology, states: "oversight is no less important, and no less required, when faculty pursue the scholarship of teaching and learning. To study one's own students raises issues of 'voluntariness,' fairness, and privacy; however, research into teaching methods, curricula, and other areas related to the scholarship of teaching and learning may depend on gathering data from those students." These human subject policing committees, however, may be more preoccupied with enforcing minute matters of procedure than is warranted by the consequence of unlikely negative risk to any university-age student - I am not aware of the withholding of funds or of big dollar lawsuits or even the threat of such because of a full professor at a major research university using data from his or her teaching to improve student learning. University legal counsels are finally beginning to question the blind extension of medical protocols in human subject research to the scholarship of teaching and learning (Chronicle of Higher Education, November 15, 2002). But for the time being IRB requirements present a hurdle for many involved in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Even lower level business executives routinely, and with minimal supervision, are empowered to collect data on customers and suppliers. Those data find their way into publications in marketing, management and engineering journals around the world. The university as a firm is no different than General Motors or the local pizza parlor, where customers fill out questionnaires on the quality of service and purchases are recorded with credit card numbers for later analysis. That full professors should have to seek approval from a committee to pursue the scholarship of teaching and learning in an academic setting is insulting and degrading. To put bureaucratic obstacles in front of a professor who is considering ways in which his or her teaching can be improved for the betterment of his and other students is counterproductive. I suspect that we will see a fall-off in quantitative study of teaching and learning submitted to the JEE as the bureaucracy of human subject committees imposes a paperwork cost on instructors who would otherwise be interested in combining the latest ideas in economics with current ideas about teaching and learning in a way that is made public, open to critique and evaluation, and in a form on which others can build, which is the definition of scholarship.

The scholarship of teaching and learning in economics is advanced by the JEE through the five sections in which articles appear. In the research section, the JEE strives to publish original theoretical and empirical studies that provide analysis and evaluation of instructional methods and materials. Articles involving statistical inference are published in the research section if they deal with the educational process. In the instruction section, the JEE publishes articles, notes, and communications describing innovations in pedagogy, hardware, materials, and methods for teaching traditional subject matter. The content section of the JEE contains articles that address contemporary issues, new ideas, and research findings in economics that may influence or can be incorporated into the teaching of economics. In the features and information section are articles that provide survey results, international and institutional comparisons, and descriptive studies on the economics curriculum, instructional materials, and educational practices. And finally, the online section is designed to identify exemplary uses of technology for economic instruction. Materials submitted to the JEE for review in this newest of the five sections are expected to be interactive and housed at a publicly available Web site controlled by the author.

Research

Peter Kennedy, Professor of Economics, Simon Fraser University, has been the associate editor of the research section since 1989. Peter is a highly productive scholar with cited articles in all of the major refereed journals. One of his books (A Guide to Econometrics, MIT Press) is on the shelves of social scientists worldwide. We are indebted to Simon Fraser University, and the several universities that Peter will be visiting this year in his around-the-world adventure, for the support they are providing Peter in his activities on behalf of the JEE.

As shown in Table 3, in 2002, 27 papers were submitted, which is in line with the average yearly submission count for the past three years. Of the papers submitted in 2002, none have yet been recommended for publication. Peter recommended one article for publication that had been submitted in previous years. The three-year acceptance rate for the research section is 8 out of 50 decisions or 16.00 percent.

In an effort to increase the flow of manuscripts to the research section, a call for papers was publicized through the efforts of Bill Walstad and the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education. Of the 27 abstracts submitted on assessment, four were selected for presentation as complete studies at the AEA meetings in Washington, DC, in January 2003, with their expected publication in the JEE following requisite reviews, including discussant comments at the AEA meeting.

The proportion of pages going to the research section was 26.2 percent in 2002 (Table 1), an increase from 21.3 percent in 2001, 19 percent in 2000, 11.6 percent in 1999, and 9.8 percent in 1998.

Instruction

Michael Watts, Professor of Economics at Purdue University, has been an associate editor of the instruction section since 1988. We express our gratitude to Mike and thanks to the Krannert School of Management for the support Purdue University has provided the JEE.

In addition to being the director of the Center on Economic Education at Purdue University, an affiliate of the National Council on Economic Education, this year Mike once again spent time in the former Soviet Union as well as teaching in Germany; we express our thanks for the support provided to him and the JEE by his hosts. It is also worth noting that Mike's contribution to economic education overseas was recognized by the National Association of Economic Educators and the National Council on Economic Education when he was awarded their first NCEE/NAEE International Award for leadership in international economic education.

In 2002, Mike recommended a total of 18 articles for publication (Table 3). Of the 41 articles submitted this year, none have yet been accepted for publication and 9 have been rejected, leaving 32 still under consideration. The three-year acceptance rate for the instruction section is 17 out of 97 decisions or 17.52 percent. This acceptance rate includes topical issues for which authors are invited to submit articles but which also must go through the referee process. This coming year one such issue is planned for papers on assessment and testing to be presented at the Midwest Economic Association meetings.

The number of pages in the instruction section has fluctuated over the past several years - 22.5 percent in 2002 (Table 1), 24.2 percent in 2001, 34.6 percent in 2000, 62 percent in 1999, and 49 percent in 1998.

Content

Hirschel Kasper, Professor of Economics at Oberlin College, is associate editor of the content section. Professor Kasper is well traveled in academe, having held visiting appointments at the universities of Wisconsin, Michigan, Cornell, Glasgow (Scotland), and Princeton. He has been an associate editor of the JEE since 1986. We express our thanks to Hirschel and to Oberlin College for the support it has provided the JEE over the years that Hirsch has been an associate editor.

This year, 37 manuscripts were submitted to the content section, which is consistent with the past three-year average (Table 3). One of the articles submitted this year has been accepted, 15 have been rejected, and 21 are still in review. Over the past three years, the acceptance rate in the content section has been 18.18 percent. The proportion of pages published in the content section was 29.9 percent in 2002 (Table 1), 10.2 percent in 2001, 21.4 percent in 2000, 12.5 percent in 1999, and 7.9 percent of the pages published in 1998.

Features and Information

William Walstad, Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been the associate editor of the features and information section since 1994. This year Bill received the NCEE/NAEE International Award for his leadership in international economic education, following JEE associate editor Mike Watts' inaugural receipt of this award last year. The world-wide reputation of the JEE is raised through the international recognition of its editors.

Bill Walstad 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. As chair of the AEA Committee on Economic Education, this year Bill initiated a call for papers that is expected to yield four JEE articles on assessment following their presentation at the AEA meetings in January 2003. Both Bill and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln must be thanked for their commitment to advancing economic education at the national level.

The features and information section made up 13.1 percent of the JEE page count in 2002. This year there were 23 unsolicited manuscripts submitted for review in the Features and Information section, of which 6 are scheduled for publication, 9 are still in review and 8 have been rejected. The long-term acceptance rate of this section is 29.54 percent.

Online

Kim Sosin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics, University of Nebraska at Omaha, has been associate editor of the online section since its founding in 2000. Kim is also UN-Omaha Director of the Center for Economic Education, an affiliate of the National Council on Economic Education, and national center representative on the NCEE Board of Trustees. 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.

Materials submitted to the JEE for review in the online section are expected to be interactive or otherwise not conducive to the traditional printed-page format. Materials accepted for their exemplary uses of technology for economic instruction 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."

This year Kim recommended the publication of 6 pieces. Of the 14 online submissions in 2003, Kim recommended the acceptance of 5, and the rejection of 6, with the fate of 3 to be determined. The long-term acceptance rate in the Online section is 34.21 percent, which seems appropriate for a newly formed section that has only been in existence for a few years. Because each online note requires only one page, less than 2 percent of the JEE pages in 2002 were allocated to the published online notes.

World Wide Presence and Global Visibility

The JEE has a major presence on the Web. In addition to the online section, at the JEE WWW site http://www.indiana.edu/~econed/ users find the tables of contents, abstracts, and author information on past and future issues. Since 1998, all articles published in the quarterly issues of the JEE have been available at the JEE Web site as PDF files.

The JEE was the first of the major journals in economics and education to make articles 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. This year the JEE Web site was recognized with "The Infography Award of Excellence" by Fields of Knowledge http://www.fieldsofknowledge.com/infographyawards.html and recognized for inclusion in the Social Science Information Gateway http://www.sosig.ac.uk/.

Scholars from around the world are making use of the JEE Web site. The count of the top 20 countries whose scholars "hit" or accessed the JEE site in 2002 is contained in Figure 1. The number of users hitting the contents on the JEE Web site (Figure 2) has increased exponentially, from 553 per month in April 1995 to a high of 90,246 per month in March 2002 -- a substantial rise, even taking the growth of the Internet into account. It is also impressive especially given the new journals that have been established in the name of economic education. There are now at least three other journals explicitly devoted to our topic: the Journal of Economics and Finance Education, the Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research, and the International Review of Economics Education.

As an international refereed scholarly 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.

Effective in 2003 the JEE will be the first and only journal devoted to the teaching of economics that affords those submitting articles to automatically and immediately have their work considered for inclusion in the newly established electronic journal called the Economics Research Network Educator. The ERN Educator is a cooperative effort of the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education, the National Council on Economic Education, the JEE, and the Economics Research Network (ERN), a division of Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. (SSEP) and Social Science Research Network (SSRN), to which most research faculty in economics subscribe. JEE Editor William E. Becker is also the Editor of the ERN Educator, thus ensuring the synergism between the two journals.

Like the JEE, the ERN Educator is devoted to advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning economics through encouraging contributors to combine the latest ideas in economics with current ideas about teaching and learning in a way that is made public, open to critique, and in a form on which others can build. Unlike the JEE's extensive referee process, the electronic ERN Educator will not subject submissions to lengthy review procedures but will publish abstracts as works in progress with links to the working papers in the SSRN database. Acceptable scholarship could provide descriptions and/or evaluations of innovative courses, case studies, student activities and other teaching materials and information related to the manner in which economics is taught at the post-secondary level. Submissions to the JEE will be considered immediately and automatically for inclusion in ERN Educator, thus giving potential JEE authors worldwide visibility for their work during the comprehensive JEE refereeing and editorial process.

Editorial Board

Last year long-time JEE Editorial Board member Sherwin Rosen died. At the time Sherwin was president of the American Economic Association and according to Nobel laureate Gary Becker destined to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics. Sherwin will be missed.

Joining the JEE editorial board this year was Rebecca Blank, Dean, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and Henry Carter Adams Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, University of Michigan. Rebecca served on the JEE Editorial Board in the 1990s until 1997 when she joined President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers. Her article in the American Economic Review (December 1991) on the effects of double-blind versus single-blind reviewing in the JEE and the other 37 journals that she identified as central to economics established her as an authority on publishing practices. We are fortunate to have her serve on our board.

Editorial Matters

The associate editors and referees devote a significant amount of time to assisting authors with comments and suggestions for the revision of papers that they believe have promise for JEE readers. Even authors who submit papers that do not get published in the JEE receive detailed comments from the referees. The names and institutional affiliations of the 269 referees used between October 11, 2001 and October 10, 2002, are listed in Table 4. The economic education community must express its deep appreciation for their assistance to the JEE. The JEE continues to express its gratitude with a complimentary copy of the Winter issue in which all referee names and affiliations appear.

The review and revision process leading to publication of an article can take a year or more. The information in Table 5 suggests that even after authors have gone through this process, they must often wait another year to see their manuscripts in print because of the length of the queue of accepted articles. This time to publication is not unusual relative to other top-quality journals, although it continues to be a point of concern to both authors and the editors of the JEE.

The data management system and other office administrative routines are critical in manuscript tracking and the smooth operation of the JEE. From the time the JEE moved to Indiana University in 1989, these functions have been underwritten by the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences, for which the JEE is most thankful. Janet Tippin is now firmly in place as the executive secretary of the JEE editorial office, and we are pleased and fortunate to have her assistance. Similarly, for office assistance at Purdue University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Oberlin, we thank April Fidler, Sharon Nemeth, and Terri Pleska. Julie Marker continues to serve as the JEE Web manager, with the consultation of Chris Calabrese, to whom we express our gratitude.

Assistant Editor Suzanne Becker has assisted each of the authors of the 34 articles published in 2002. Sue has a master's degree from the University of Minnesota, and she has been editing manuscripts in economics and econometrics for nearly 32 years, and for the JEE since 1989. 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. Sue Becker, Rosalind Springsteen, and the Heldref staff ensure that the final JEE product is of the highest quality and in readers' hands in the season designated on the issue's cover. To all we express our thanks.

Circulation

Heldref Publications has been responsible for pricing, subscriptions, and the circulation of the JEE since 1981. The last four unnumbered pages at the back of this report contain data on these three items as provided by Heldref.

The regular individual subscription rate for the four yearly issues of the JEE is $49.00 per year and the rate for institutions is $97.00, which are bargain prices compared with many other academic journals. As of the end of October, paid subscriptions were 1,035, with 1,082 copies of the fall 2002 issue circulated. 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 subscriptions. These market changes must be watched closely, and the editors and staff at Heldref Publications must be poised to respond.

Heldref's subscription data do not yet reflect the 2002 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 San Diego, California. This year 82 individual subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network directors who subscribed at the special rate of $35.00 per year. Besides the special rate for NCEE associates, Heldref also provided a special subscription rate for those attending the Department Chairs' Breakfast at the American Economic Association annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia (January 4, 2002), where JEE associate editor and Chair of the AEA Committee on Economic Education, Bill Walstad, featured the JEE in his report. This offer will again be extended at the AEA meeting in Washington, D.C. in January 2003.

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.
Starting in 1995, Heldref was able to make a financial commitment to the editorial office at Indiana University. This commitment has kept the JEE in a positive cash-flow position. We have every reason to expect that its usefulness to economists and educators will continue to increase as we move more and more toward electronic publishing. We hope to keep the JEE in a positive cash-flow position as the staff at Heldref and the JEE editors explore alternative forms of publishing.

Closing Comments

Finally, attention must be called to the importance of the JEE to the scholarship of teaching and learning economics as reaffirmed two years ago in the National Council on Economic Education'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). 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. With such support the JEE will prosper well into the future.

William E. Becker
December 6, 2002


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