THE JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC EDUCATION
1998 ANNUAL REPORT
This annual report presents and discusses information that will enable an assessment of the Journal of Economic Education's efforts in 1998. It provides the data necessary for a comparison of present activities with those of the past 29 years. It discusses the research, content, instruction, qualitative studies, and features and information sections of the JEE. It highlights the advances that the JEE is making in the use of new technology to advance the teaching of economics, including plans for a new section devoted to innovations that are available online.
Two figures and two exhibits provide information on the use of the JEE World Wide Web site. Figure 1 shows the top 20 countries accessing the JEE Web site and Figure 2 shows the time trend in hits. Exhibit 1 lists the top 50 institutions accessing the JEE Web site. Exhibit 2 identifies the top 50 articles accessed on the JEE Web site. Five tables are used to show the level of JEE activities this year and to make possible yearly comparisons. The contents of each of the quarterly issues, giving the allocation of pages to each of the sections, are summarized in Table 1. The mix of authors and their institutional affiliations is presented in Table 2. The number of manuscripts processed and the rates of manuscript acceptance are in Table 3. The lists of referees used over the past year is in Table 4, and Table 5 gives the time required to process published papers. Finally, three tables on pricing, subscriptions, and circulation are provided by the JEE publisher, Heldref Publications, a division of the nonprofit Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation.
This year, with the support of the National Science Foundation and the National Council on Economic Education, and the endorsement of the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education, the Journal of Economic Education and the University of Pittsburgh co-sponsored a conference on Advancing the Integration of New Technologies into the Undergraduate Teaching of Economics. This two-year effort was directed by Professor Arnold Katz of the University of Pittsburgh and JEE Editor William Becker. The conference was held at the University of Pittsburgh on May 28 through May 30. Presenters provided information on their innovations and reviewed the latest developments in instructional software for undergraduate courses.
During the fall of 1997, William Becker, Arnold Katz, Myles Boyland of the National Science Foundation, and Kim Sosin of the University of Nebraska-Omaha reviewed 49 proposals for possible presentation at this JEE/University of Pittsburgh conference on the use of technology in teaching economics. Only 8 projects were selected for presentation and for National Science Foundation support. In addition, 16 discussants were selected to present reviews of the 8 papers at the conference. Presenters were selected and the program was designed to stimulate wide-ranging discussions of ways to increase the rate at which improvements in teaching methods can be implemented in college and university economics courses.
The proceedings of the conference will be published in an expanded issue of the JEE in 1999. The articles in this proceedings issue were subjected to a referee process similar to the regular JEE article selection routine. Each author had to prepare several revisions as part of this process. Seven of the eight papers submitted for review, along with the associated 14 discussant comments, made it through this JEE refereeing process and are scheduled to appear in the forthcoming summer issue along with a feature article by the keynote speaker (Robert Parks) and an overview by Katz and Becker.
Over the years, the JEE has promoted many innovations in the teaching of economics of both the high- and low-tech varieties. Bill Becker and JEE Associate Editor Michael Watts captured 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. It is published by Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. (Cheltenham, England), under the title Teaching Economics to Undergraduates: Alternatives to Chalk and Talk. It will be available for sale in January 1999.
A chapter in Teaching Economics to Undergraduates: Alternatives to Chalk and Talk by Kim Sosin is devoted to the use of technology in teaching economics. Kim has generously accepted an appointment to become an associate editor of the JEE. She is to create and head a new section called "Online." Although the first material to appear under this section banner is not expected until 2000, this section is being designed to identify exemplary uses of technology for economic instruction. Materials submitted to the JEE for review in this new section are expected to be interactive or otherwise not conducive to the traditional printed page format. Only the highest quality materials will receive the JEE imprimatur. These materials are to be 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 will appear in the regular issues of the JEE, with hot links to these sites and other relevant information appearing on the JEE World Wide Web site at http://www.indiana.edu/~econed/index.html
The JEE World Wide Web site was brought online in the spring of 1995. Figure 1 contains the count of the top 20 countries whose scholars "hit" or accessed the JEE site between January 1, 1998, and November 1, 1998. Although the exact meaning or intent of a hit is unknown, scholars from some 93 countries are accessing the JEE URL each month.
The number of users hitting or accessing the contents on the JEE Web site has increased exponentially, from 553 per month in April 1995 to 34,328 per month in October 1998, as seen in Figure 2. As reflected in Exhibits 1 and 2, 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. For example, the top 50 institutions whose members have been hitting the JEE pages are shown in Exhibit 1. Not surprising, because of the location of the JEE's editorial office, Indiana University leads the list followed by many of the most prestigious and well-known colleges and universities in the United States. An unanswered question: what accounts for the ranking of the other 49? In 1999, Bill and Julie will prepare an article on which schools are making use of the JEE WWW services, which articles in the JEE are of most 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.
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 guide. Web users can search this information via keyword entries in the search engine or by scrolling. The most often accessed articles are shown in Exhibit 2.
Following a feasibility study and a meeting with the Heldref staff in January of this year, Heldref approved a plan to place the actual articles published in the journal on the JEE WWW site at Indiana University. All four issues for 1998 are now on the JEE Web page as pdf files that can be read through the Adobe Acrobat Reader. The Journal of Economic Education was the first of the major journals in economics to make this service available without charge on the Internet. How long this service will continue to be available is currently under review by Heldref and the JEE editorial office, but it is likely that at some time in the future some type of fee arrangement will be established.
The success of the JEE WWW site is apparent not only in exponentially growing hits but also in the recognition it received this year from its selection into the Scout Report for Business and Economics. (The Internet Scout Project is an effort of the InterNIC, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.) This recognition is consistent with the results of a study by David Laband and Michael Piette, in the Journal of Economic Literature (June 1994), in which they found that the JEE ranks 27th out of 130 economics journals in terms of impact-adjusted cross-citation counts. The JEE is a leader in the creation and transfer of knowledge in economics, as recognized by Rebecca Blank in her American Economic Review (December 1991) study of double-blind versus single-blind reviewing practices. The JEE was one of 38 journals that she identified as central to economics.
Original theoretical and empirical studies that deal with the analysis and evaluation of teaching and learning methods and materials are published in the research section of the JEE. Peter Kennedy, Professor of Economics, Simon Fraser University, is the associate editor of this section. We express our gratitude to Peter and our indebtedness to Simon Fraser University for the support it has provided Peter in his activities on behalf of the JEE.
Peter and his referees invest a great amount of time working with authors to get papers into shape for publication. Peter is always on the prowl for articles that correct misunderstandings or clarify issues in economic education research. This year of special note is an article by JEE editorial board member William Greene, "Gender Economics Courses in Liberal Arts Colleges: Further Results," which appeared in the Fall issue. Bill is placing a major part of this analysis in the forthcoming 4th edition of his graduate level textbook Econometric Analysis (Prentice-Hall, 1999), with a citation to the JEE.
We continue to be concerned about the flow of manuscripts to the research section. As shown in Table 3, in 1998 23 papers were submitted, which is roughly consistent with the average yearly submission count for the past three years. Of the papers submitted in 1998, one was recommended for publication. Peter recommended for publication an additional four articles that had been submitted in previous years for a total of five manuscripts scheduled for publication in this year. Historically, as reflected in the three-year average, Peter has recommended about 25 percent of the manuscripts reviewed in his section for publication in the JEE.
The proportion of pages going to the research section was 9.8 percent in 1998 (Table 1), a decrease from the 31.5 percent in 1997, but consistent with the 12.4 percent in 1996. The high level in 1997 is associated with a topical spring issue.
In the content section, we publish articles that address contemporary issues, new ideas, and research findings in economics that may influence or can be incorporated into the teaching of economics but have not yet appeared in textbooks. Hirschel Kasper, Professor of Economics at Oberlin College, is associate editor of the content section. We express our thanks to Hirschel and to Oberlin College for the support it has provided the JEE over the past 12 years that Hirsch has been an associate editor.
This year, 26 manuscripts were submitted to the content section. This is a slight decrease from the past three-year average of 28 papers per year (Table 3). None of the articles submitted this year has been accepted, 12 have been rejected, and 14 are still in review. Over the past three years, the acceptance rate in the content section has been 14.3 percent. The proportion of pages published in the content section was 7.9 percent in 1998, 12.6 percent of the pages published in 1997, and 19.1 percent in 1996.
In addition to relying on unsolicited manuscripts, Hirschel devotes considerable energy to scouting and working with potential authors of feature articles. This year for example, Hirschel has been working on a series of articles based on the comments made at the 50th anniversary celebration of Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson's principles textbook, which was held at American Economic Association meetings in Chicago last January. He has been working with Samuelson, JEE board member Robert Solow, Harold McGraw, Jr., Orley Ashenfelter, and other celebration participants to get their video-taped transcripts in proper shape for possible publication in the JEE.
The instruction section includes articles, notes, and communications describing innovations in pedagogy, hardware, materials, and methods for teaching traditional subject matter. Michael Watts, Professor of Economics at Purdue University, is associate editor of the instruction section. Thanks are due to Mike as well as to the Krannert School of Management, under the deanship of Dennis Weidenaar (a past JEE associate editor) for the support it has been providing. We look forward to the continued support of the new dean of Krannert when Dennis leaves that post in June.
In 1998, 49 percent of the JEE published pages went to the instruction section. This was a dramatic increase from last year's 18.4 percent, and well above the historic proportions: 1996 - 37.1 percent , 1995 - 34.3, 1994 - 21.7. In reviewing the disposition of manuscripts, it must be noted that this year there were 34 regular submissions, 10 articles submitted for the proceedings issue of the JEE/University of Pittsburgh technology conference, and 16 discussant comments from the proceedings. Nine of the 10 articles for the proceedings have been accepted and we anticipate that 14 of the 16 discussant comments will be accepted (Table 3). Over the three-year period, 31.7 percent of the articles have been accepted for publication in the instruction section. This relatively high acceptance rate reflects the success we have had in inviting and packaging groups of papers that address topical issues. It also reflects the high quality of manuscripts received. This year of special note is the article by Joni Hersch and W. Kip Viscusi, "The Courtroom Comes to the Classroom: Estimating Economic Damages as an Instructional Device," which was published in the Fall issue.
The features and information section contains articles that provide survey results, international and institutional comparisons, and descriptive studies on the economics curriculum, instructional materials, and practices in teaching. William Walstad, Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska, is the associate editor of the features and information section. Bill and all those associated with the Nebraska Council on Economic Education have done much to advance economic education in Nebraska, throughout the United States, and internationally as well. The fact that the JEE will have two associated editors (Bill and Kim Sosin) from Nebraska speaks to the success of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education.
The features and information section made up 18.8 percent of the JEE page count in 1998. This year, there were 24 manuscripts submitted for review in the Features and Information section, of which 9 are still in review. The long-term acceptance rate of this section is 27.5 percent.
The Spring 1998 Features and Information section was devoted to the National Council's Voluntary Economic Standards. Bonnie Meszaros of the University of Delaware organized this topical section. It included articles by JEE board members John Siegfried and W. Lee Hansen. Also featured were articles by Steven Buckles and Michael Watts, Cecilia Conrad, John Bishop, and Bill Becker. We are indebted to Bonnie for arranging and following through on the editorial details associated with this series.
The qualitative studies section was established to publish studies that among other things use direct observation in analyzing the teaching and learning of economics. The origin of this section can be traced to the publication of "Economics, Lies, and Videotapes" (Spring 1992) by Myra Strober and Allen Cook. Myra Strober has served as associate editor of this section since its inception. We are grateful to her and to Stanford University for its involvement with the JEE.
With mixed feelings we announce that Myra has accepted a position as Program Officer in Higher Education at Atlantic Philanthropic Services, with offices in New York City and Ithaca, which necessitated her resignation from the JEE. The JEE's loss is higher education's gain. In her new position Myra will be able to affect directly research on higher education and thus at least indirectly continue to advance the environment in which economic educators work.
This year we have been able to publish two articles in this section, for 5.5 percent of the pages in the JEE. This year two manuscripts were submitted for review in the Qualitative Studies section; neither was accepted for publication in the JEE. There are still two manuscripts under consideration by Myra.
The National Council on Economic Education (formerly the Joint Council on Economic Education), in cooperation with the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education, published the first of a biannual Journal of Economic Education in 1969. The NCEE assigned the JEE copyright and publishing responsibility to Heldref Publications in 1981, but the NCEE retained responsibility for appointing and maintaining the editor, who is responsible for the process of securing, accepting and scheduling articles. In 1983, the JEE became a quarterly, and later in the 1980s expanded in size under the editorship of Kalman Goldberg.
Kal was honored at the 1989 American Economic Association meetings for his contribution to the JEE as an associate editor and editor. 1998 marks Kal's last year of service on the JEE editorial board; his resignation was begrudgingly accepted. All of us in economic education are in Kal's debt for his 26 years of service to the JEE.
Myra Strober, who until this year has served as associate editor of the qualitative studies section of the JEE, is going to continue as an editorial board member to ensure continuity for those with whom she has worked. We are fortunate that she is willing to do this in her new position.
Joining the editorial board this year is Cecilia Rouse. Cecilia is an associate professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University. She has contributed to economic education both as a teacher and researcher. Her article "The Underrepresentation of Women in Economics: A Study of Undergraduate Economics Students," with Karen Dynan, appeared in the Fall 1997 issue of the JEE. For the past year she has been on leave as a Special Assistant to the President of the United States at the National Economic Council. We have been eagerly awaiting Cecilia's return to academe so she could accept the invitation to join the JEE board.
The names and institutional affiliations of the 223 referees used in 1998 are listed in Table 4. The economic education community must express its deep appreciation for their assistance to the JEE. As has been the practice for the past several years, Heldref Publications expresses the JEE's gratitude to its referees with a complimentary copy of the Winter issue, which is the issue in which all referees listed in Table 4 are acknowledged.
The refereeing process of the JEE is extensive. The review and revision processes leading to acceptance can take in excess of a year. As also seen in Table 5, however, the time from submission to the first contact an author has with an associate editor regarding possible revision is not excessive. It is typically well within three months. Authors of accepted articles typically must wait a year or more before seeing their accepted manuscripts in print. Delays in publication appear to be associated with the subsequent time for rewriting, reviewing, editing, and the length of the queue of accepted manuscripts waiting to be published. This time to publication is not unusual for top-quality journals, as seen for example in an article in Chance [Winter 1998, 11(1): 42-45] on publication delays, but it is a source of concern.
As reflected in the growing number of manuscripts awaiting publication, we have an excess of quality articles for our four issues. The backlog of manuscripts that has built over the past several years makes a compelling case for adding pages to the current 96-page article space limit per issue. This year, editor Bill Becker was able to make that case with the staff at Heldref Publications. Effective in 1999 our new article page limit is expected to increase by at least 16 pages per issue.
The data management system is critical in the tracking and processing of manuscripts. Julie Marker handles these data functions along with the electronic word processing at Indiana University. More important still for the new directions the JEE has taken on the Internet, Julie has assumed full responsibility for maintaining and updating the JEE Web site. Julie has proved to be a most effective, efficient, and innovative executive secretary and Web master. This year, she also prepared the camera-ready copy for Teaching Economics to Undergraduates: Alternatives to Chalk and Talk (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. 1999).
Assisting Bill Becker in the editing function at Indiana University is Suzanne Becker. Sue has a master's degree from the University of Minnesota, and she has been editing manuscripts in economics and econometrics for over twenty years. This year Sue served as production manager and copy editor for Teaching Economics to Undergraduates: Alternatives to Chalk and Talk.
At Heldref Publications, Rosalind Springsteen is the JEE Managing Editor. Springsteen 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.
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, microfilm, and online. 2. University Microfilms, International in the form of microfilm and microfiche. 3. Information Access Company, in the form of CD-ROM, microfilm, and online. 4. Institute for Scientific Information, in the form of photocopy, facsimile, and electronic. 5. Infonautics, in the online form of the Electronic Library and Homework Helper.
Currently, the electronic service providers 1, 2, 3, and 4 are scanning and rekeying hard copies of JEE published issues. Heldref prepares disks for Infonautics circulation.
Assisting in providing these electronic services at Heldref is Multimedia Manager, Margaret Buckley, who together with Julie Marker makes the pdf files of articles available to Web surfers. Margaret notes 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).
Heldref Publications has worked the JEE into a positive cash flow position, and it is in part for this reason that it is willing to expand the JEE's size by at least 16 pages. The management team at Heldref is also working to increase subscription and advertising income, as evidenced by the ad in the book review section of the New York Times (October 25, 1998) in which the JEE was one of only 9 of Heldref's 38 journals selected for promotion. In the 1980s, the JEE was not on Heldref's A list, where it now seems firmly in place.
The last three unnumbered tables at the back of this report contain pricing and circulation data provided by Heldref Publications. Paid subscriptions in November were 1,271, with 1,299 copies of the fall issue circulated in September. The current level of subscriptions is impressive because prices over the last several years have increased dramatically. Regular individual subscriptions are now priced at $41, and institutions must pay $82 for a four-issue subscription. For comparison purposes, in 1988, individuals paid $23 and institutions paid $45.
This year, two special promotions were undertaken. First, JEE board member Mike Salemi featured the JEE in his AEA Committee on Economic Education report to the Department of Economics chairs meeting at the American Economic Association meeting in Chicago. Attendees were given the opportunity to subscribe at the special rate of $30. As in the past, the registration procedure at the annual meeting of the National Council on Economic Education also offered a special rate to Council and Center Directors attending the meeting in Washington, DC. This year 32 individual subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network directors who subscribed at the special rate of $30 per year. These 32 subscriptions are markedly lower than in the past and may reflect Council and Center Director's use of the free World Wide Web. This low subscription number is especially troubling given that Heldref had a booth devoted to its publications at the Washington, DC meeting. These 32 Council and Center Directors' subscriptions are not yet reflected in the subscription data provided by Heldref.
To maintain and increase subscriptions, Deborah Cohen, Promotions Manager for Heldref, has been authorized to implement an initiative aimed at increasing JEE subscriptions. We await details of this promotion and look forward to its success as we prepare for the next millenium.
The support of the JEE by the National Council on Economic Education is ensured by NCEE President and JEE board member Robert Duvall. As noted earlier in this report, that support dates back to the founding of the JEE in 1969. JEE board member Michael Salemi, Chairman of the Economic Education Committee of the American Economic Association, is also ensuring that the American Economic Association is continuing to bring its prestige to the JEE
The Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences, under the direction of Dean Morton Lowengrub, must be thanked for its support. In 1995 a COAS Review Committee (David Ransel, George von Furstenberg, and M. Jeanne Peterson) reported "that the JEE is making an important contribution to the economics profession," and recommended "that its publication and support be continued at Indiana University." Along with Robert Becker, Chair of the Department of Economics, Dean Lowengrub is maintaining that support.
Finally, George Bredon and Geoff Page of the University of South Australia deserve recognition for the support they provided the JEE during Bill Becker's residency at UniSA in June through August 1998. The involvement of all these individuals and organizations is essential to the continuing success of the Journal of Economic Education.
William E. Becker November 30, 1998
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