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News from the ISA

Three years of Sociopedia.isa

October 27, 2012

Some years ago the Executive Committee of the ISA discussed the possibility of publishing an annual volume of review articles. The proposal was to produce an on-line journal rather than a book. We reasoned that the production of a book would take so much time that the articles would be out-of-date by the time of publication. An on-line journal, on the other hand, can publish a contribution as soon as it is ready, and there would be no problem of missed deadlines. Michel Wieviorka, Bert Klandermans, and Izabela Barlinska got together and discussed what became Wieviorka’s Presidential Project. As he had developed a similar idea, Kenji Kosaka joined the founders. Sociopedia was born.

To acknowledge the affiliation to the ISA and to distinguish it from other initiatives it was named Sociopedia.isa, a new concept in the production and dissemination of knowledge. It combines the best of two worlds: rapid publication using the Internet and scientific quality ensured by thorough and imaginative editing and peer review. While experienced editors and peer reviewers ensure the highest possible quality, the Internet makes it possible to provide “state-of-the-art” review articles. Sociopedia.isa, then, offers a “living social science.” It promises users up-to-date entries, revised on a regular basis. After two years the authors of the original articles are asked to update the entry. Moreover, each entry has a supplemental discussion section.

Three years ago the first five articles were uploaded. Since its inception Sociopedia.isa has published 35 articles on a wide range of subjects that includes Protest, Social Conflict, Sex Roles, Disaster Studies, Health and Illness, Diaspora, Memory, Mobility, Everyday Life, Immigrant Transnationalism, Secularization, and Reflexivity. Using their ISA password, ISA members have access to Sociopedia.isa via the ISA website or the Sage website. Every 3-4 months, five ISA articles are also freely accessible. Sociopedia.isa has been visited by thousands of users.

Entries for Sociopedia.isa can be submitted by email to sociopedia.isa.fsw@vu.nl. Those who are interested are advised to look for the Sociopedia Submission Procedures that can be found at http://www.isa-sociology.org/publ/sociopedia-isa/. The typical Sociopedia.isa article is 7,000 words excluding the bibliography. Articles must be in English but Sociopedia.isa encourages authors to simultaneously send in a copy of the article in another language such as French or Spanish. The author needs to make sure, however, that such a translated article is identical to the English version. A typical Sociopedia.isa article has the following structure: overview of theoretical approaches; review of empirical evidence; assessment of research to date; discussion of future direction that theorizing and research might take. The article needs to be completed with the following three elements: references cited, annotated suggestions for further reading (“Read this article because…”); and a short author biography of approximately three sentences.

Bert Klandermans is the Editor of Sociopedia.isa. Associate Editors are: Devorah Kalekin-Fishman, Kenji Kosaka, Elisa Reis, Arturo Rodríguez Morató, and Henri Lustiger Thaler. As a rule, submissions are sent to at least two external reviewers. In principle, the editors work with the authors until the entry is considered acceptable. Once a paper is accepted it is published within a few weeks. Starting in 2013, every year 8-10 Sociopedia.isa entries will be selected for publication in a Review Issue of Current Sociology – one of the two off-line refereed ISA journals. This makes publishing in Sociopedia.isa even more attractive.

There is one further innovation, namely Sociopedia.isa colloquium, which is an extension of the standard Sociopedia.isa review article. The same editing and peer review process will govern it, with experienced editors and peer review to ensure the highest possible quality. Sociopedia.isa colloquium will commence with a leading and acknowledged author summarizing his or her position on a given sociological problem or thematic, followed by three or four articles that address and evaluate the main article’s approach. The three or four commentators will take on the role of critical discussants. Henri Lustiger Thaler is preparing a Colloquium on “Cosmopolitism” while Devorah Kalekin-Fishman is preparing one on “The sociology of the senses.” I encourage everyone who is interested in writing a review of his or her field for Sociopedia.isa to submit a paper to sociopedia.isa.fsw@vu.nl.

Bert Klandermans, VU-University, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and ISA Vice-President for Finance, 2002-2006

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