Placements in “Mid-Tier” Journals

Q: What would be considered “mid-tier” sociology of education journals (i.e., journals with a soc of ed audience other than Sociology of Education) but that are valued by sociology departments for hiring and/or tenure purposes?             

MullerAuthor: Chandra Muller, University of Texas

I’ll suggest a few guidelines to keep in mind when considering where to place a sociology of education article:

  1. Journals can change emphasis. Journals may shift in their emphasis or openness to articles in sociology of education, so it’s important to stay current about journals. For example, a change in editorship (e.g., sociologist of education, Pamela Quiroz, has just become co-editor of Social Problems) may signal a shift in the pool of reviewers, or the interests of the editors about what should be published. Oftentimes, new editors will write a statement about their goals or interests for the journal, providing an indicator about any shifts in emphasis.
  2. Developing your list of journals in sociology of education. Keep track of the journals that publish your cited references. Look at the more recent publications on CV’s of section members and colleagues who are working in sociology of education or on topics of interest to you. And, of course, reading the journals themselves is invaluable!
  3. Consider other sociology journals that may have an interest in your topic. Sociology of education has natural area overlap with many other sociological fields.  For instance, a paper on gender and STEM might be a good fit for Gender and Society; a paper on discipline and high school may good fit in Criminology; and, a paper on demographic trends in the relationship between race, family structure educational attainment might fit well in Demography. Each of these is the flagship journal of a professional association and potentially an excellent placement for an article.
  4. The definitions of “mid-tier” and “valued” are not uniform. Departments vary somewhat in what they consider an acceptable or valued journal.  Although indicators such as a journal’s impact scores are of questionable validity, they do provide some gauge of journal quality and people (like Deans) who are reviewing your CV may use them (along with acceptance rates) as indicators quality. Unfortunately, the hiring process can be unpredictable. Departments may have clearer expectations about journal quality required for tenure. Some hints about a department’s standards might be found on the CV’s of recently hired or tenured faculty.

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