Saturday, June 20, 2009

Journal rankings

The 2008 ISI journal rankings are out. Impact factors for selected journals of interest around here:

APSR: 1.725
Journal of Politics: 1.685
Philosophy & Public Affairs: 1.500
Ethics: 1.053
Journal of Political Philosophy: .902
Political Studies .625
Political Theory .403

Coverage remains bizarrely spotty in the rankings, and many journals covered by ISI's citation indices aren't included. History of Political Thought, European Journal of Political Theory, Review of Politics, Journal of the History of Ideas, and Polity are among the journals not listed in the rankings, while Critical Review, the Indpendent Review, the Nation, Commentary, Dissent, and the New Republic all show up. (Remember, this is supposed to be a list of scholarly journals.)

The APSR is ranked *tenth* in political science by 2008 impact factor. Five-year impact factor and the new Article Influence Score both give the expected result that the APSR is ranked first. Eyeballing the lists, it looks to me as if the 5-year IF, the AIS, and my intuitions all line up in most cases, while the one-year IF has some weird anomalies.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Academic freedom, SSHRC, and York U conference on Israel and Palestine

Les Green has been doing yeoman's work at keeping information flowing about the genuine threat to academic freedom posed by Minister of Science Gary Goodyear's intervention in the SSHRC peer-reviewed grant-making procedure. Academics who are on facebook, please come join the group he's formed and read and circulate the open letter from York faculty, also quoted below.

Sometimes there's a tendency to cry "academic freedom" only when one's own ox is being gored-- especially on Israel/ Palestine questions. If I were to attend the conference at York, I'm pretty sure that I'd be annoyed-to-outraged by a great deal of what I'd hear. And lots of invocations of academic freedom these days are just complaints that one is being criticized.

But politicized interference in what are supposed to be arm's-length impartial systems of peer review-- that's an absolutely clear violation of academic freedom. SSHRC has already compromised itself by agreeing to the extraordinary review of the grant at ministerial request; it needs to not only maintain the funding but also make a strong statement about the inappropriateness of political intervention in peer review.

Anyway, please come join the facebook group both to follow the news and to convey the support of the academic community for the York faculty who are taking the lead in this fight.

Open Letter to SSHRC President from Faculty members of Osgoode Hall Law School
June 14, 2009


Dr. Chad Gaffield
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
350 Albert Street, P.O. Box 1610
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 6G4

Dear Dr. Gaffield:

Re: Review of SSHRC Funding for Conference at York University: “Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace”

We are writing as members of the faculty of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University to express our extreme dismay that SSHRC appears to be acceding to political pressure by revisiting its decision to fund the above-noted academic conference.

As you know, two of our esteemed colleagues, Professors Susan Drummond and Bruce Ryder, have taken a lead role in planning this event and we write in part to support them and their co-organizers, Professor Sharry Aiken and PhD Candidate Mazen Masri. However this issue has grown far beyond the need to support individual colleagues. Your decision as SSHRC President to require a special pre-conference accounting from the conference organizers, outside the normal post-conference reporting procedures for conference grants, raises the much larger question of your agency’s integrity as a funder and promoter of independent university-based research in Canada.

As a group we have extensive experience with the organization of academic conferences and with SSHRC granting procedures. We believe there is no basis at all for the suggestion that “major changes” were made to the plan for this conference after the grant application had been peer reviewed and funding granted. Nor do we believe that you could
possibly see any basis for this suggestion. Rather, it appears that the special accounting was demanded of our colleagues in direct response to the unprecedented and entirely inappropriate political intervention of Minister Goodyear.

We believe that SSHRC made a serious error in acceding to political interference in this manner. Whether or not SSHRC ultimately submits to the demand for a new peer review that better meets the Minister’s political ends, and whether or not the funding for this conference is ultimately jeopardized, we fear that SSHRC has already compromised the autonomy of academic research in this country. By intruding into the planning of an academic event after a funding decision has been made, SSHRC’s actions are likely to have a most unfortunate chilling effect on academics considering the exploration of controversial or unpopular topics. In addition, by casting doubt on the integrity of its own procedures, SSHRC has empowered those who would devalue academic research and discourse by insisting that academic freedom be reserved only for those who happen to share their point of view.

We hope that SSHRC will very shortly stand up to defend its own granting procedures and the values of academic excellence and autonomy they are designed to protect.


Harry W. Arthurs, Professor Emeritus, Former Dean, Former President

Margaret E. Beare, Professor

Neil Brooks, Professor

Ruth Buchanan, Associate Professor

Jamie B. Cameron, Professor

Mary G. Condon, Professor

Carys J. Craig, Associate Professor

Giuseppina D’Agostino, Assistant Professor

Paul D. Emond, Associate Professor

Trevor C.W. Farrow, Associate Professor

Simon R. Fodden, Professor Emeritus

Shelley A.M. Gavigan, Professor

Joan M. Gilmour, Associate Professor

Leslie Green, Professor

Richard Haigh, Visiting Professor

Balfour J. Halévy, Professor Emeritus

Doug Hay, Professor

Allan C. Hutchinson, Distinguished Research Professor

Shin Imai, Associate Professor

Shelley Kierstead, Assistant Professor

Sonia Lawrence, Associate Professor

Jinyan Li, Professor

Michael Mandel, Professor

Ikechi Mgbeoji, Associate Professor

Louis Mirando, Chief Law Librarian

Janet Mosher, Associate Professor and Associate Dean

Mary Jane Mossman, Professor of Law (sign. after initial release)

Roxanne Mykitiuk, Associate Professor

Obiora Chinedu Okafor, Professor

Lisa Philipps, Associate Professor

Marilyn L. Pilkington, Associate Professor and Former Dean

Poonam Puri, Associate Professor

Sean Rehaag, Assistant Professor

Benjamin J. Richardson, Professor

Brian Slattery, Professor

Sara Slinn, Assistant Professor

James Stribopoulos, Associate Professor

Craig M. Scott, Professor

Kate Sutherland, Associate Professor

François Tanguay-Renaud, Assistant Professor

Eric M. Tucker, Professor

Gus Van Harten, Assistant Professor

Robert S. Wai, Associate Professor

Garry D. Watson, Professor

Cynthia Williams, Osler Chair in Business Law

Stepan Wood, Associate Professor

Alan N. Young, Associate Professor

Peer Zumbansen, Canada Research Chair & Associate Dean (Research, Graduate Studies and Institutional Relations)

Bruce B. Ryder, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
Susan G. Drummond, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
Sharry J. Aiken, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University
Mazen Masri, Ph.D. candidate, Osgoode Hall Law School
Mamdouh Shoukri, President, York University
Stan Shapson, Vice-President (Research & Innovation), York University
Patrick Monahan, Dean of Law and VPA-Elect, York University
Mr. J. Craig McNaughton, Senior Program Officer Strategic Grants and joint Initiatives, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
James L. Turk, Executive Director, Canadian Association of University Teachers
The Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science & Technology)
The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Dr. Marc Garneau, Liberal Critic for Industry, Science and Technology
Mr. Jim Maloway, NDP Critic for Science and Technology
M Robert Vincent, Bloc Critic for Science and Technology