THE JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC EDUCATION

2008 ANNUAL REPORT

 

Transition
Sections
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
Geographical Breakdown Table

 

This Journal of Economic Education annual report is devoted to activities in 2008 and expected changes in 2009.  Figures and 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 2008 quarterly issues is summarized in Table 1.  The names of authors and their institutional affiliations are presented in Table 2.  The number of manuscripts processed and the rates of manuscript acceptance are provided 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, there are three pages with information on pricing, circulation, and subscriptions provided by the JEE publisher, Heldref Publications, a division of the nonprofit Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation.  

 

transition

I became executive editor of the JEE in the late summer of 1989.  In the 2006 JEE annual report, I announced my forthcoming retirement as executive editor of the JEE.  That retirement is now imminent.  This report is the last of the 20 reports I will complete and file on behalf of the JEE.  At this time, all those reports are available on the JEE Web site at http://www.indiana.edu/~econed/ but as mentioned later in this report, Web site changes are in the works.  

    The JEE was founded by the National Council on Economic Education in 1969. In 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.  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 executive editor.  The editor and associate editors are responsible for article review, selection, and scheduling, whereas Heldref controls all other aspects such as copy editing, production, and promotion.  Financial support for the academic editorial functions continues to be provided by the NCEE and the six institutions of higher education that house the editor and associate editors: currently William Becker at Indiana University, David Colander at Middlebury College, William Goffe at State University of New York-Oswego, Paul Grimes at Mississippi State University, Peter Kennedy at Simon Fraser University, and William Walstad at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.  I want to take this opportunity to thank these associate editors, along with retired associate editors Robin Bartlett, Hirschel Kasper, Kim Sosin, Myra Strober, and Michael Watts, for their service to the JEE.  I am deeply indebted to all.

     At Heldref, Rosalind Springsteen became managing production editor of the JEE a little more than a year after I became executive editor.  She retired this year.  It was with deep regret that we said goodbye to Rosalind and her outstanding service but at the same time, we welcomed the newly appointed JEE Managing Editor Elinor Frisa, who has already proved most able. 

    I also want to recognize the assistants I have had at Indiana University.  Three secretaries stand out: Elaine Yarde, Julie Marker, and Christina Campoll.  And without the support of Department of Economics Office Manager Harriet Kenny, life for all of us would not have been as pleasant.  To all these coworkers, I say thanks.

    Finally, Sue Becker, Assistant Editor, will be retiring with me later in 2009.  Sue has been editing manuscripts in economics and education for some 35 years and for the JEE since 1989.  We are working at this time on a coauthored article for the American Economist describing some of our experiences in academic publishing. 

 

sections

The quarterly issues of the JEE typically have five sections.  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 has been the associate editor of the research section since 1989.  His retirement from Simon Fraser University this year and mine scheduled for next year caused me to recall how we first became acquainted nearly 30 years ago.  

    Someone had written something in the Journal of Economic Education that Peter found objectionable, and he wrote to me to call it to my attention, as I was then the associate editor of the JEE research section.  My secretary was given the task of finding this guy so I could talk to him and convince him to write an article for the JEE.  He was so shocked that we tracked him down at a family cottage that he agreed to do the article.  Subsequently, when I became editor of the JEE, I used a similar tactic to get him to say yes to becoming the associate editor of the JEE research section. 

    Peter has continued to point out errors in my thinking and that of others, for which all of us in economic education are in his debt.  There is no scholar who has done more than Peter to advance the application of econometrics in assessing the teaching and learning of economics.  More personally, I was extremely fortunate to have him as a coauthor on publications, including pieces in Econometric Theory, The American Statistician, and The American Economic Review (P&P) to name but a few.  

    As shown in Table 3, in 2008, 21 papers were submitted, which is in line with the average yearly submission count for the past three years.  Of the papers submitted in 2008, 2 have been recommended for publication.  Peter recommended 4 articles for publication that had been submitted in previous years.  The three-year acceptance rate for the research section is 8.96 percent. 

    The proportion of pages going to the research section was 20.8 percent in 2008 (Table 1), which is more than the 16.6 percent in 2007 and less than the 21.3 percent in 2006.

 

INSTRUCTION

As reported last year, after 20 years with the JEE, Michael Watts (professor of economics, Purdue University) stepped down as associate editor of the instruction section to facilitate his new responsibilities as chair of the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education.  I am personally indebted to Mike for his support and the joint work we have undertaken over the past many years, including two books that are simply known as the “Chalk and Talk” books.

    Readers of the JEE are fortunate that Paul Grimes agreed to serve as associate editor of the instruction section following Mike’s resignation.  Paul is professor and head of the Department of Finance and Economics at Mississippi State University.  He is also the director of the MSU Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy.  I have written a couple of articles with Paul, and we are currently working on a study of what inspired leading economists to become economists.  We are particularly interested in finding out whether it was exposure to outstanding teachers of economics, teaching methods, curriculum, or something else.

    In 2008, Paul recommended a total of 15 articles for publication (Table 3).  Of the 37 articles submitted this year, none have been accepted for publication and 11 have been rejected, leaving 26 still under consideration.  The three-year acceptance rate for the instruction section is 14.88 percent; 28.9 percent of the 2008 JEE pages went to instruction (Table 1), whereas in 2007, it was 27.6 percent and in 2006, it was 43.2 percent.  

 

CONTENT

Unplanned, but necessitated by personal matters late in 2007, Hirschel Kasper has resigned as associate editor of the content section.  Hirsch had been an outstanding editor of this section since 1986.  In the Spring 2008 issue, we expressed our thanks to Hirsch and to Oberlin College, where Hirsch continues as a professor of economics, for the support it has provided the JEE over the 21 years that he has been an associate editor.

    We are fortunate that JEE editorial board member David Colander (Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Economics at Middlebury College) agreed to step in as editor of the content section.  One of the first things David did as the new editor of the content section was to form a review team consisting of JEE editorial board members Jessica Holmes (Middlebury College), Mark Setterfield (Trinity College), and Casey Rothschild (Middlebury College) to expedite the refereeing process.  Together David and his team have written a forthcoming JEE article on what they will be looking for in manuscripts for the content section.  David is also working with JEE editorial board member Mike Watts in the planning of a session for the 2010 Atlanta GA Allied Social Science Association meetings and for related JEE publication of articles devoted to what should be taught in principles of economics classes about financial crises. 

    This year, 59 manuscripts were submitted to the content section, which is consistent with the past three-year average (Table 3).  Three of the articles submitted this year have been accepted, 41 have been rejected, and 15 are still in review.  Over the past three years, the acceptance rate in the content section has been 12.98 percent.  As with the other sections, the number of pages published in the content section varies from year to year: 18.9 percent in 2008, 41.9 percent in 2007, and 20.2 percent in 2006.

 

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.  Dating back to our days at the University of Minnesota in the early 1970s, Bill Walstad has been my partner in many ventures in economic education and most recently in a follow-up study on what, if anything, departments of economics are doing to assist graduate students to become better teachers of economics.  For my years of work with Bill I am grateful.

    In cooperation with Michael Watts, Bill is planning to publish the papers presented at the AEA-CEE’s post 2009 Allied Social Science Association meeting of economic educators from Australia, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom.  These four papers will feature reports on the respective countries’ mature economic education secondary and post-secondary programs.  They will likely be published in 2010.

    This year, there were 20 unsolicited manuscripts submitted for review in the features and information section, of which 2 have been accepted and scheduled for publication, 10 are still in review, and 8 have been rejected.  The long-term acceptance rate of this section is 21.67 percent.  The features and information section made up 22.1 percent of the page count in 2008, which compares to 6.6 percent in 2007 and 8.2 percent in 2006.

 

ONLINE

Planned for this year was the retirement of Kim Sosin as associate editor of the online section.  Kim had been associate editor of the online section since its founding in 2000.  Over the past eight years she has shaped this section into a unique and valued addition to JEE readers, for which we are all most grateful.  

    When Kim retired as professor and chair of the Department of Economics, University of Nebraska at Omaha, she began thinking about a successor at the JEE, and, fortunately, she helped us land William Goffe, SUNY–Oswego.  JEE readers may know Bill as the founder and editor of the American Economic Association–sponsored “Resources for Economists on the Internet,” which highly complements his work with the JEE.

    In addition to being 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 JEE.  Because each online note requires only one page, less than 1.6 percent of the JEE pages in 2008 were allocated to the published online notes, which is roughly the same as in 2007 and 2006.

    In 2008, Bill has recommended the acceptance of five pieces, of which two were submitted this year.  Of the 11 pieces submitted this year, three were rejected, and six are still under consideration.  The long-term acceptance rate in the online section is 45.83 percent.

 

EDITORIAL MATTERS

The editorial practices of the JEE are intended to do more than screen articles for publication; they are intended to assist potential authors in the development of articles that will be noticed and make a difference in the teaching of economics.  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.

    The names and institutional affiliations of the 198 referees used between October 11, 2007, and October 10, 2008, are listed in Table 4.  Until last year, the JEE’s publisher Heldref enabled us to express our gratitude to each referee with a complimentary copy of the Winter issue in which referee names and affiliations appear.  This year, however, this practice came to an end with a newly initiated Heldref cost-cutting policy.  The 198 referees will be recognized in the Winter 2008 issue, but they will no longer receive a complimentary copy of that issue.  In addition, authors no longer receive a complimentary copy of the issue in which their article appears; however, they can access the issue without charge on the newly constructed Heldref MetaPress Web site at http://heldref.metapress.com.

    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 more than another year to see their manuscripts in print because of the length of the queue of accepted articles.  To reduce this backlog Heldref has again agreed to at least temporarily increase the size of the quarterly issues from 96 to 112 pages, which should be sufficient to reduce the backlog while maintaining the current overall acceptance rate of 14.13 percent.  If need be, Sarah Jane Petersen-Kamau (Director of Scientific & Technical Journals, Heldref Publications) has stated that Heldref would be willing to produce an extended theme issue devoted to a single topic that would at least remove the backlog on that topic.

    Needless to say, 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’s College of Arts and Science, for which the JEE is most thankful.  Thanks are due to then Department of Economics chair Phillip Saunders and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Morton Lowengrub for their institutionalizing of the JEE into the budgeting process at IU.  Their investment, along with that of their successors, has paid off handsomely for the excellent visibility the JEE has brought to Indiana University.

    Two articles in other journals this year suggest that the JEE editors and their referees are doing their jobs to maintain the JEE as THE scholarly publication in the area.  First, Lo and her coauthors* identify the JEE as central or the benchmark for comparison of the top 20 journals in economics that publish a substantial number of articles on economics education.  Second, although it may well have been published to show that the International Review of Economics Education was “somewhat similar” to the JEE on a few measures, authors Mixon and Upadhyaya** also make clear that the JEE continues to be the leader in economic education on “multiple grounds,” including the simple fact that the IREE is published only twice a year while the JEE is a quarterly publication with highly cited articles in each issue. 

    To bring yet more visibility to JEE authors, Heldref was to bring the Journal of Economic Education into RePEc (http://repec.org/) in early 2008.  Plans now call for archiving of the JEE in RePEc to be completed back to 2004 by March 1, 2009.  Once this is done, economists will be able to easily find JEE articles and thus increase citations to them, which is critical in establishing journal rankings.  Many economists now use http://ideas.repec.org/ or http://econpapers.repec.org/ for their literature searches, which are built on RePEc data.


CIRCULATION

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

    The individual subscription rate during 2008–09 for the four quarterly issues of the JEE is $67.00 for online only and $70.00 for joint print and online.  For institutions, the rate is $166.00 for each of print only and online only, and $200 for joint print and online.  These are bargain prices compared to many other academic journals, such as those published by Elsevier.  

    As of the end of October, the print circulation of the JEE was 740, which is a decrease from that in October 2007 when the circulation was 871.  Likewise, the yearly average circulation is 783, decreasing from 914 in 2007.  Unfortunately, a downward trend in print circulation continues to be evident.  Over the past several years, other periodicals devoted to economic education and the economics of education have entered the market and, at the same time, the availability of information free on the internet has likely affected the JEE print circulation. 

    Unlike the JEE, specialized educational journals devoted to the scholarship of teaching and learning are missing the academic recognition that is associated with being included in JSTOR (Journal Storage), where the JEE is archived with a lag.  From the thousands of journals on economics, education, and some 50 other disciplines, JSTOR archiving is restricted to only those journals that are judged to have historical importance to scholarship and 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.  In addition to being a JSTOR journal and having material available on the JEE Indiana University Web page, Heldref Publications makes the JEE available through its own Web page and 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.

    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 (Web of Science), 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 2009, plans call for Heldref to take over all the functions of the JEE Web site (http://www.indiana.edu/~econed/), initiated at Indiana University in 1994 and continued to this day.  On this Web site the annual reports for the past 20 years are maintained.  The importance of this can be seen in the Mixon and Upadhyaya IREE article on citations to journals in economic education, where text from both the 1994 and 2005 JEE annual reports are directly quoted, with the explicit reference to the IU site.

    Finally, while on the topic of circulation, it must be noted that Heldref’s subscription data do not yet reflect the 2008 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 Biloxi, Mississippi, October 8–11, 2008.  This year, 56 individual subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network directors (which is fewer than the 77 NCEE annual meeting subscriptions received in 2007), at the special rate of $35 per year.  In addition to 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 New Orleans (January 6, 2008), where Chair of the AEA Committee on Economic Education Michael Watts featured the JEE in his report, which he will again do at the San Francisco AEA meeting on January 4, 2009.

 

Closing comments

As noted at the opening of this report, together the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education, the National Council on Economic Education, and the editorial board of the JEE are responsible for the JEE’s long-term success.  The NCEE’s financial commitment to and oversight of the JEE since its creation in 1969 has proved vital. It has been my honor and a job well worth doing to edit the JEE for twenty years, but this is my last annual report.

           

                                                                                                William E. Becker

                                                                                                December 15, 2008

 

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*Melody Lo, et al., “Ranking Economics Journals, Economics Departments, and Economists Using Teaching-Focused Research Productivity,” Southern Economic Journal, 74 (3), 2008: 894–906.

 **Franklin Mixon and Kamal Upadhyaya, “A Citations-Based Appraisal of New Journals in Economics Education,” International Review of Economics Education, 7 (1), 2008: 36–46.