THE JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC EDUCATION

 

2006 ANNUAL REPORT

 

 

Prestige Comes With Performance
Research
Instruction
Content
Features and Information
Online
Editorial Matters
Circulation
Closing Comments
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 2006.  It provides the data required for a comparison of present activities with those of the last 37 years.  It illustrates how the research, content, instruction, features and information, and online sections of the quarterly issues of the JEE contribute to the advancement and prestige of the scholarship of teaching and learning in economics.  It also presents information on editorial matters and circulation. 

Tables are provided to enable comparisons of current activities with those of the past.  The allocation of material to the five sections of the JEE in each of the 2006 quarterly issues 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.  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.

PRESTIGE COMES WITH PERFORMANCE

In the 1995 JEE annual report, I called attention to the perceived negative view of economists toward teaching, as portrayed in books such as Impostors in the Temple, where economists were singled out for their contempt of undergraduate teaching.  I cited then Journal of Economic Literature Editor John Pencavel for writing that the JEE is essential to the discipline because it was the only journal to which we could point to counter the negative claims regarding economists’ interest in teaching.  Today the academic world appears to have changed and I think the JEE can take some credit for that.  There has been a material increase in the number of studies devoted to the teaching of economics as seen in the number of sessions at the Allied Social Science meetings and the number of submissions to the JEE.

With the 2006 acceptance rate of only 8.97 percent, a three-year average acceptance rate of 21.8 percent and a page limit of 100 pages, the JEE could not and cannot handle the volume of manuscripts now being generated on teaching and student learning in economics.  To reduce the backlog of manuscripts waiting to be published, this year Heldref Publications increased the JEE size from 100 to 128 pages but in 2007 its size will be returned to the 100-page limit.  In part, it is the difficulty of getting published in the JEE that makes it a prestigious publication.  There are now several newer and thus less recognized journals devoted to the teaching of economics. They are publishing articles that cannot be published in the JEE.   

Acknowledging the difficulty in making it through to publication, the JEE is 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 an electronic journal that the JEE created in 2003: the Economics Research Network Educator.  The ERN Educator is a cooperative effort with the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), an electronic umbrella service to which most research faculty in economics subscribe.  JEE Editor William E. Becker is the Editor of the ERN Educator, thus ensuring the synergism between the two journals.

Like the JEE, the ERN Educator is devoted to advancing economic education by encouraging contributors to combine the latest ideas in economics with current ideas about teaching and learning in a way that is public, open to critique, and in a form on which others can build.  Unlike the JEE’s extensive refereeing and editing process, the electronic ERN Educator does not subject submissions to lengthy review procedures but publishes abstracts as works in progress with links to the working papers in the SSRN database.  Submissions to the JEE are now considered as a matter or routine for inclusion in ERN Educator, thus giving potential JEE authors worldwide visibility for their work during the comprehensive JEE evaluation process.

The innovative efforts of the JEE and the quality of its articles demonstrates the JEE’s legitimacy as the leader in the area and led to its selection into JSTOR (Journal Storage).  From the thousands of journals in economics, education and some 40 other disciplines, JSTOR archiving is restricted to only those several hundred journals that are judged to have historical importance to scholarship and the potential benefits associated with searching them alongside other core journals. Critical factors in a JSTOR decision for inclusion are 1) the number of institutional subscribers, 2) citation analysis, 3) recommendations from experts in the field, and 4) the journal’s longevity. 

Back issues of the JEE from its inception in 1969 are now available through the JSTOR Web site: www.jstor.org.  There is a “moving window” representing the time period between the last issue available in JSTOR and the most recently published issue of a journal. For the JEE this moving window is five years. Each page of the JEE in the JSTOR archive is a “faithful representation” of the original print journal obtained from the full collection of back issues maintained by the editorial office at Indiana University. 

In addition to availability through JSTOR, Heldref Publications makes the JEE available in hard copy and electronically 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 forum of the Electronic Library and Homework Helper.

Also worth noting is that 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.

There is little question that the JEE is the premiere source of information on the teaching of economics and a central journal within economics and education alike.  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 economics. 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 section are expected to be interactive and housed at a publicly available Web site controlled by the author.

RESEARCH

Peter Kennedy, Professor of Economics at Simon Fraser University, has been the associate editor of the research section since 1989.  We are indebted to Simon Fraser University for the support it has provided Peter in his activities on behalf of the JEE

            As shown in Table 3, 21 papers were submitted in 2006, of which two have already been recommended for publication.  Peter recommended seven articles for publication that had been submitted in previous years.  The three-year acceptance rate for the research section is 21.4 percent, which reflects Peter’s dedication to assist potential authors with the complex quantitative analysis required to get published in this section. 

            The proportion of pages going to the research section was 21.3 percent in 2006 (Table 1), which is an increase from the 18.9 percent in 2005, and 31.1 percent less than the 30.9 percent in 2004.

INSTRUCTION

Michael Watts, Professor of Economics at Purdue University, has been an associate editor of the instruction section since 1988.  Worth noting this year is that Mike took over the Chairmanship of the Committee on Economic Education of the American Economic Association from JEE associate editor Bill Walstad, which just adds to the prestige of the JEE because the AEA is the most highly recognized organization of economists in the world.  We express our gratitude to Mike and thank the Krannert School of Management for the support Purdue University has provided the JEE

            In 2006, Mike recommended seven articles for publication (Table 3).  Of the 41 articles submitted this year, none has yet been accepted for publication and 15 have been rejected, leaving 26 still under consideration.  The three-year acceptance rate for the instruction section is 21.8 percent.  

In 2006, 43.2 percent of the JEE pages went to instruction (Table 1), whereas in 2005, it was 52.7 percent and in 2004, it was 29.3 percent. 

CONTENT

Hirschel Kasper, Professor of Economics at Oberlin College, is associate editor of the content section.  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, 38 manuscripts were submitted to the content section (Table 3).  One of the articles submitted this year has been accepted, 14 have been rejected, and 23 are still in review.  Over the past three years, the acceptance rate in the content section has been 26.7 percent.  As with the other sections, the number of pages published in the content section varies from year to year: 20.2 percent in 2006, 16.3 percent in 2005, and 18.3 percent in 2004.

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.  Both Bill and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln must be thanked for their commitment to advancing economic education.

            This year, 22 manuscripts were submitted for review in the features and information section, of which two have been scheduled for publication, 12 are still in review, and 8 have been rejected.  The long-term acceptance rate of this section is 21.4 percent.  The features and information section made up 8.2 percent of the page count in 2006, which compares to 5.3 percent in 2005 and 13.6 percent in 2004.

ONLINE

             Kim Sosin, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, University of Nebraska at Omaha, has been associate editor of the online section since its founding in 2000.  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 reviewed in the online section are accepted for their exemplary uses of technology in economic instruction.  These materials are available for Web viewing as finished documents on the submitter’s Web site. Short descriptions and Web URLs of accepted Web materials appear in the regular issues of the JEE. Because each online note requires only one page, less than 1.3 percent of the JEE pages in 2006 were allocated to the published notes, which is roughly the same as the allocations in 2005, 2004 and 2003.

            In 2006, Kim has recommended the acceptance of three pieces of which two were submitted this year. Of the five pieces submitted this year, none were rejected and three are still under consideration. The long-term acceptance rate in the online section is 43.8 percent, which reflects the unique nature of the online section.

EDITORIAL MATTERS

One of the big issues facing the JEE in the last several years has been the growing backlog of manuscripts accepted and scheduled for publication.  In 2006, Heldref agreed to temporarily increase the JEE from 100 pages to 128 pages, which helped to reduce the backlog.  Unfortunately, manuscripts accepted in November 2006 were tentatively scheduled for publication over a year later (Spring 2008), when the size of the JEE is expected to be its historic 100 pages.

The screening of articles for publication in the JEE is critical to maintain and advance its prestige.  However, the editorial practices of the JEE are intended to do more than screen articles; they are intended to assist potential authors as well.  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. Less dedicated editors and reviewers would have rejected out-of-hand some papers that have been transmuted by their advice.

            The names and institutional affiliations of the 247 referees used between October 11, 2005, and October 10, 2006, are listed in Table 4.  The economic education community must express its deep appreciation for their assistance to the JEE.  The JEE continues to demonstrate 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 acceptance 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

            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 Indiana University College of Arts and Science, for which the JEE is most thankful.  In October, Christina Campoll took over as executive secretary of the JEE, replacing Stacey Wheeler who took a full-time position at the Indiana University Foundation.  Christy came to the job just as the JEE main computer crashed with all of its corrupted files irretrievable on the backup server maintained by Christopher Calabrese.  We were in luck that Stacey had maintained paper records.  Working with Calabrese and Stacey, Christy has proven to be a most able office administrator and quickly has taken over all functions of the office.  The tables in this annual report could not have been completed without the extraordinary efforts of Christy and Stacey.

            The authors of each of the 46 articles, notes, and reviews published in 2006 have benefited from Assistant Editor Suzanne Becker’s eye for detail and editorial forte.  Sue has a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota, and she has been editing manuscripts in economics and education for over 31 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. 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.

CIRCULATION

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

The regular individual subscription rate for the four yearly issues of the JEE in 2006 was $62 per year, rising to $65.00 in 2007, and the rate for institutions was $135, rising to $147 in 2007, which are bargain prices compared to many other academic journals such as those published by Elsevier.  The University of Oxford editorial board resigned from the prestigious mathematics journal Topology to protest the pricing policies employed by Elsevier.  We are fortunate that Heldref is a truly academic publisher.

As of the end of October, the circulation of the JEE was 939, which compares favorably to October 2005 when the circulation was 908.  Likewise, the yearly average circulation is up from 978 to 990.  Unfortunately, a downward trend in circulation continues to be evident even with the increase in circulation this year.   (The relative peak circulation in 1995 reflected a promotional effort aimed at participants in the AEA/NCEE teacher training program.)  As already noted, 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 recognition of falling circulations, and following meetings with JEE board member and NCEE president Robert Duvall and JEE editor Bill Becker, Heldref’s marketing department took some action.  In 2005, a mailing went out to 9803 teachers of economics soliciting subscriptions in a letter written by long-time JEE editorial board member, Will Baumol, with endorsements by John Siegfried and Alan Krueger.  The increase in subscriptions in 2006 is likely associated with that effort.

Heldref is currently evaluating pricing models and alternative delivery methods to encourage online readership, but not discourage print.  In accordance with this plan, recent individual articles will no longer be available free on the JEE Web page at http://www.indiana.edu/~econed.

            Heldref’s subscription data do not yet reflect the 2006 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 in New York, NY, on October 11-14, 2006.  This year 78 individual subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network directors who subscribed at the special rate of $35 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 Boston (January 7, 2006), where JEE Associate Editor and then Chair of the AEA Committee on Economic Education, Bill Walstad, featured the JEE in his report.  Newly appointed AEA-CEE Chair and JEE Associate Editor Mike Watts will feature the JEE in his report at the January 2007 AEA meeting in Chicago.

CLOSING COMMENTS

In closing it is worth calling attention to the importance of the JEE to academic economists as reaffirmed by the NCEE’s strategic review of all its programs several years ago. 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. We are indebted to JEE Editorial Board member Bob Duvall and the NCEE for this vote of confidence and long-term commitment to the mission of the JEE.

The National Council on Economic Education founded the Journal of Economic Education in 1969.  The JEE was a cooperative effort between the NCEE and the American Economic Association’s Committee on Economic Education.  In the beginning, the NCEE oversaw publication and the AEA-CEE members 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). 

Although the NCEE assigned the JEE copyright and publishing responsibility to Heldref Publications in 1981, it retains responsibility for appointing and maintaining the editor.  To ensure the long-term success of the JEE, it will soon become time to think about a transition team to oversee a move to a new editorship as the current editors approach retirement.  (Already JEE Associate Editor Kim Sosin has retired from the University of Nebraska and cannot be expected to maintain her editorship forever.)  There is no need to rush to action but, in closing this report, I want to call attention to the needs of the JEE two to three years into the future.

 

                                                                                                William E. Becker

                                                                                                December 1, 2006