THE JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC EDUCATION
THE JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC EDUCATION
1997 ANNUAL REPORT
This discussion of the activities of the Journal of Economic Education in 1997 provides data to enable the reader to view this year's accomplishments in the context of the JEE's 28-year history. Two figures and several tables are presented to facilitate comparisons of current activities with those of the past.
The JEE is using new technology to advance the teaching of economics. Information on the JEE World Wide Web site is provided in Figure 1 and Figure 2. The review, selection, and editing of studies for publication in the JEE, however, continue to be the prime functions of the JEE. Five tables (in the Appendix) provide summary data on these editorial matters. The content of each of the quarterly issues published this year is summarized in Table 1, which also shows the allocation of pages to the research, content, instruction, qualitative studies, and features 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, three tables 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.
In the spring of 1995, the JEE World Wide Web site was brought on line at
Figure 1 contains the count of the top 20 countries whose scholars "hit" or accessed the JEE site between January 1, 1997, and November 1, 1997. Although the exact meaning or intent of a "hit" is not known, scholars from some 93 countries are accessing the JEE URL each month.
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 between 1984 and the present, they also find the abstracts of manuscripts recently accepted for publication. The JEE Web site also contains the last eight years of annual reports, information on subscribing, and submission details that include the style sheet. Web users can search this information via keyword entries in the search engine or by scrolling.
Since the inception of the JEE URL in April 1995, the number of users hitting or accessing its contents has increased from 553 per month to 13,142 per month, as seen in Figure 2. Some of the dramatic increase in September and October 1997 can be attributed to a call for proposals that was added to the Web page in the summer (discussed later in this report). An ongoing study by Bill Becker and Julie Marker is aimed at determining more about who is using the JEE home pages and what information is sought. They hope to answer questions like "Which schools are making use of the JEE WWW services?" "Which economists authoring articles in the JEE are of interest to Web surfers?" and "Which section of the JEE (Research, Instruction, Content, Features and Information, and Qualitative Studies) attracts the most attention on the Web?"
In 1997, Heldref Publications began making the JEE available in forms other than the hard copy with which we are familiar. Readers can find the JEE through several different services in the following ways:
Currently, the electronic service providers 1, 2, 3, and 4 are scanning and rekeying hard copies of JEE published issues. Heldref is not yet providing material to Infonautics (number 5) but is in the process of preparing disks for Infonautics circulation.
Assisting in providing these electronic services at Heldref is Margaret Buckley, who was recently promoted to Multimedia Manager. She noted 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 services. For example, EBSCO is available only to subscribers (1-800-653-2726).
Together with Professor Arnold Katz (University of Pittsburgh), JEE Editor Bill Becker received a National Science Foundation grant for a conference on the integration of new technology in the undergraduate teaching of economics. As of October 15, 1997, 49 proposals were submitted for studies to be presented at the conference, which will be held at the University of Pittsburgh in May 1998. The conference addresses the gap between rapidly advancing instructional technologies and their use in teaching undergraduate economics. Authors of papers selected for the program will receive reimbursement for conference expenses, an honorarium of $500, and consideration for publication of their work in a dedicated issue of the JEE.
Over the years, the JEE has advanced many innovations in the teaching of economics of both the high- and low-tech varieties. Bill Becker and Mike Watts are capturing some of the best of those innovations with a book supported by a grant from the Kazanjian Foundation. This edited volume is the capstone of a four-year effort aimed at advancing alternative methods for the teaching of economics to undergraduates.
Peter Kennedy, professor of economics at Simon Fraser University, is associate editor of the research section. In addition to being indebted to Peter for his care and patience in reviewing manuscripts and assisting authors, the JEE expresses its thanks to Simon Fraser University for the resources it has provided to the JEE over the years that Peter Kennedy has been an associate editor.
Peter's efforts have resulted in a marked increase in the quality of articles appearing in the research section. Peter and his referees invest a significant amount of time identifying and then working with authors to get papers into shape for publication in the JEE. This review process is evident, for example, in Peter's work with Bob Highsmith and the 11 authors of articles appearing in the spring issue on precollege economic education.
Along with our efforts to continue to improve quality is a concern about the flow of papers to the research section. As shown in Table 3, so far in 1997, 16 papers have been submitted, which is below the average yearly submission count for the past three years. As can be seen from both the 1997 (20.0 percent) and three-year (22.6 percent) acceptance rates, Kennedy continues to be selective about recommending papers for publication. Of the manuscripts submitted in 1997, one has been recommended for publication. Peter recommended an additional two articles for publication that had been submitted in previous years for a total of three manuscripts scheduled for publication.
The proportion of pages going to the research section was 31.5 percent in 1997 (Table 1), an increase from the 12.4 percent in 1996 and 14.5 percent in 1995. This increase is associated with our topical spring issue. In 1998, we anticipate a return to a page count for the research section similar to that in previous years.
Professor Michael Watts is associate editor of the instruction section. In addition to our gratitude to Mike, thanks are also given to the Krannert School of Management, for the support Purdue University has provided the JEE. Since the early days of economic education, Purdue University has maintained a leadership position in economic education.
The JEE's ability to attract the best articles on teaching methods was tested by the introduction of an economic education section in Economic Inquiry and the introduction of the Journal of Economic Perspectives by the American Economic Association. What we learned is that the competition for articles did not diminish the flow of articles to the instruction and content sections. Competition may have increased the flow as authors recognized that there are now multiple outlet possibilities. As seen, for example, in the forthcoming article on the classroom use of examples from forensic economics by W. Kip Viscusi of Harvard University, the JEE attracts the best articles on teaching innovations. What will be interesting to watch in the future is the effect on the flow and quality of articles resulting from Economic Inquiry's termination of its "Teaching Tools" section.
The number of pages in the instruction section has fluctuated over the past several years - 18.4 percent in 1997, 37.1 percent in 1996, 34.3 percent in 1995, 21.7 percent in 1994, and 36.9 percent in 1993 (Table 1). Topical issues account for much of this variability. Mike recommended a total of 14 articles for publication in 1997 (Table 3). Only 3 of the 43 articles submitted this year have been accepted for publication; 22 of these articles are still under consideration, and 18 have been rejected. Over the three-year period, 36.0 percent of the articles have been accepted for publication in the instruction section.
Hirschel Kasper, professor of economics at Oberlin College, is associate editor of the content section. We express our appreciation to Oberlin for the support it has provided the JEE over the many years that Hirsch has been an associate editor.
In 1997, Hirschel Kasper recommended five manuscripts for publication. Of the 25 new manuscripts submitted for the content section this year, 12 have been rejected, 3 have been accepted, and 10 are still in review (Table 3). Over the past three years, the acceptance rate has been the lowest in the content section at only 12.9 percent. As with the instruction section, the number of pages published in the content section varies greatly - 12.6 percent of the pages published in 1997, 19.1 percent in 1996, 12.2 percent in 1995 and 26.1 percent in 1994.
The associate editor of the features and information section is William Walstad, professor of economics at the University of Nebraska. Bill and his team at the University of Nebraska are thanked for their work aimed at advancing economic education.
Historically, many of the articles published in the information section were invited articles aimed at fulfilling a specific need. In 1996, only one set of manuscripts was invited and processed through this section. Bonnie Meszaros, University of Delaware, arranged for a series of articles on the new National Council on Economic Education precollege standards. Articles were prepared by John Siegfried and Bonnie Meszaros, W. Lee Hansen, Stephen Buckles and Michael Watts, Cecilia Conrad, John Bishop, and Bill Becker. Early versions of the articles were first presented at the American Economic Association meeting in January. They will appear in the Spring 1998 issue of the JEE.
The features and information section is now dominated by unsolicited manuscripts. In 1997, 23 manuscripts were submitted, of which 4 are still in review. The long-term acceptance rate of this section is 34.3 percent, which is a respectable rate and in keeping with the mission of the JEE. The features and information section constitutes a sizable portion of the pages in the JEE, with 24 percent of the page count in 1997.
Myra Strober is associate editor of the qualitative studies section We are grateful to Myra and to Stanford University, where she is director of the Office of Research and Collaboration at the School of Education. As stated over the past several years, we have trouble securing sufficient manuscripts to justify a special section devoted to the publication of articles using direct observation to analyze the teaching and learning of economics. This year we have been able to publish one article in this section. The future of this section continues to be under review.
The resignation of Rebecca Blank from the board of editors was accepted as she joined President Clintonr s Council of Economic Advisers. Rebecca joined the editorial board in 1992. 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 were fortunate to have her serve on our board.
Joining the board this year is David Colander, Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Economics at Middlebury College. David has made numerous contributions to economic education, including Educating Economists (University of Michigan Press), which he coedited with Reuven Brenner. His introductory textbook Economics (Irwin-McGraw Hill) is in its third edition. We look forward to his contributing to our editorial board over the next three years.
Articles published in the JEE do receive recognition and do help define what we know about the teaching and learning of economics. For example, JEE Editor William Becker's Journal of Economic Literature (September 1997) article on teaching economics at the college level has 82 references, of which 65 are to academic journals. The Journal of Economic Education received the most citations, with 28, followed by the American Economic Review, with 10. In JEE associate editor William Walstad's JEL (December 1992) article on the teaching of economics in high schools, there are 141 references, of which 78 are to academic journals, with the JEE receiving the most citations, with 38, followed by the American Economic Review, with 16. A study by David Laband and Michael Piette, in the Journal of Economic Literature (June 1994), reports that the JEE ranks 27th out of 130 economics journals in terms of impact-adjusted citations in 1990 to 1985-1989 articles. The JEE does publish the most influential articles on the creation and transfer of knowledge in economics.
The editorial practices of the JEE are intended to do more than screen articles for publication; 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.
Table 4 lists the names and institutional affiliations of the 243 referees used thus far in 1997. 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 and in rare cases of special contributions, with a gratis subscription for one year.
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. Although this time to publication is not unusual relative to other top-quality journals, it is a source of both pride and concern. As long as the publisher's limit of 96 pages per issue is binding (Table 1), our queue will not be shortened greatly.
At Indiana University, Julie Marker ensures that all editorial office matters are in control. Julie effectively and efficiently manages the electronic word processing, data management, and the expediting and tracking of manuscripts; she is also responsible for the JEE World Wide Web site. Assisting in the editorial process is Suzanne Becker. Sue has a master's degree from the University of Minnesota; she works closely with Bill and Julie, and with Rosalind Springsteen at Heldref Publications in the editing process. Many of our authors have benefited from the keen eye and attention to detail that Sue brings to the JEE.
Rosalind Springsteen is the managing editor of the JEE at Heldref Publications. Rosalind holds a master's degree from the University of Michigan in economics and was previously employed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Together with the staff at Heldref, Rosalind ensures that the final JEE product is of the highest quality and in readers' hands in the season designated on the issue's cover. With only one exception (in 1992 when Heldref moved into its new building in Washington), since the summer of 1990 each of the quarterly issues has been published on time. We all value Rosalind's effort and that of the entire team at Heldref Publications.
The last three unnumbered tables at the back of this report contain data on pricing, subscriptions, and the circulation of the JEE provided by Heldref. Since 1981 Heldref Publications has been fully responsible for these three items. Regular individual subscriptions to the JEE are priced at $37.50 per year. The institution rate is $75.00 for the yearly four-issue subscription. In November, paid subscriptions were 1,231, with 1,276 copies of the fall issue circulated in November. (The peak circulation in 1995 reflected a promotional effort aimed at participants in the AEA/NCEE teacher training program.) 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. In recognition of competition, Heldref plans no price increase of the JEE in 1998.
Heldref's subscription data do not yet reflect the 1997 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 Indianapolis, Indiana. This year 68 individual subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network directors who subscribed at the special rate of $30 per year versus the regular yearly price of $37.50. In addition, Patricia K. Elder, NCEE Vice President of EconomicsInternational and Barbara R. DeVita, NCEE Associate Director for Administration and Special Projects of EconomicsInternational, arranged for 29 international subscriptions for NCEE program participants in the Ukraine, Russia, Estonia and Kyrgyzstan.
Besides the special rate for NCEE associates, Heldref is also providing a special subscription rate for those attending the Department Chairs' Breakfast at the American Economic Association annual meeting in Chicago (January 4, 1998). JEE editorial board member and Chair of the AEA Committee on Economic Education, Michael Salemi, will feature the JEE in his annual committee report. His report at the AEA Chairs breakfast will also provide participants the opportunity to subscribe to the JEE at a reduced price of $30.00.
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.
The continuing support of the JEE by the National Council on Economic Education is most impressive, and NCEE President and JEE board member Robert Duvall needs to be thanked for his unwavering commitment to the JEE. JEE board member and Chairman of the Economic Education Committee of the American Economic Association, Michael Salemi, is likewise playing a key role in bringing the prestige of the American Economic Association to the JEE.
This year marks the eighth year of support by Indiana University's College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Economics. Two years ago an internal review committee (David Ransel, George von Furstenberg, and M. Jeanne Peterson) concluded "that the JEE is making an important contribution to the economics profession," and recommended "that its publication and support be continued at Indiana University." COAS Dean Morton Lowengrub assures that barring any unforeseen circumstance, the JEE will continue to be supported by COAS. This vote of confidence is deeply appreciated. Robert Becker, chair of the Department Of Economics at Indiana University, also is thanked for the importance he places on economic education. Finally, George Bredon and Geoff Page of the University of South Australia deserve recognition for the support they provided the JEE during my residency at UniSA in May through August 1997. The continued involvement of all these individuals and organizations is essential to ensure the ongoing success of the Journal of Economic Education.
William E. Becker
December 11, 1997