Katerina S. Guba

European University at Saint Petersburg

Articles. Research

Traditionally, research on sociological journals focuses on the study of academic journals as a source of information about disciplinary knowledge. Instead of considering academic journals as representations of different disciplinary cultures, in this paper we take a step backwards and explain journals’ and their influence on disciplines the first place. Neonstitutionalism in the organizational analysis allows us to consider journals as organizations and study how the dependence on professional, commercial and state resources influences on their organizational behavior (W. Powell, P. DiMaggio, J. Meyer, B. Rowan). Journals have the option which organizational form should be selected for searching and evaluating manuscripts. In one case journal editors heavily use personal ties to find papers and improve selection decisions. In other cases editorial nepotism is prohibited and editors rely on open review process with obligatory double-blind peer reviewing of all manuscripts. Drawing on existed research on manuscript review process at major American sociology journals, I explain under what conditions network and market form of governance are emerged and thrived in the case of scientific journals. Neo-institutional framework explains the presence of market form of governance in spite of all costs (heavier workloads for editors and decline of innovative manuscripts). Journals select organizational forms not only as a response to exchange conditions and control activities, but also because of the problem of the legitimacy. Employing a fair review process, journals manifest their virtue which is important for the organization survival in the case of dependence on professional authors.

Keywords: American Sociology; Scientific Journals; Manuscript Reviewing; Procedural Justice; Network Form of Governance