Report presented at the meeting of the Executive Council of the Latin American Studies Association in Lima, Peru, April 27, 2017.
During 2016, Philip Oxhorn (McGill University) completed his final year as editor in chief of the Latin American Research Review (LARR), while the new editorial team led by Aníbal Pérez-Liñán (University of Pittsburgh) began to process new submissions. The associate editors joining LARR in 2016 were Mónica Espinosa Arango (anthropology, Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia), Fabrice Lehoucq (book review editor, University of North Carolina, Greensboro), Claudia Ferman (documentary film review editor, University of Richmond), José Molinas Vega (economics, Ministry of Planning, Paraguay), Michel Gobat (history, University of Pittsburgh), Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel (literature and cultural studies, Rutgers University), Flavia Freidenberg (politics and international relations, UNAM, Mexico), and Gioconda Herrera (sociology, FLACSO-Ecuador).
LARR received 321 manuscripts during 2016, and 80 additional manuscripts during the first quarter of 2017. The number of submissions for 2016 represents a 30% increase over the number of manuscripts received in 2015 (247), which in turn represented a 26% increase over the number received in 2014 (196). Submissions remain concentrated in the social sciences, with only about one third of the manuscripts (32% in 2016) originating in the humanities (anthropology, history, or literature and cultural studies). As we show in the third section, this imbalance does not translate to the articles published by the journal.
Figure 1 presents the number of manuscripts received in 2016 and during the first quarter of 2017, by discipline. The most active fields in 2016 were politics and international relations (26% of all submissions), economics (15%) and literature and cultural studies (14%). It is worth noting that the number of articles published in economics is relatively small (more about this in the third section). We often reject manuscripts labeled as “economics” after an internal review because they do not correspond to the aims and scope of the journal. Overall, 51% of all manuscripts received in 2016 (165 of 321 papers) were sent for external peer review.
The editorial team made 287 final decisions on manuscripts during 2016, and 78 additional decisions during the first quarter of 2017. During the transition year, Philip Oxhorn made final decisions on most manuscripts submitted prior to 2016.
Table 1 classifies final decisions on manuscripts in three groups: reject after internal editorial review (i.e., desk-reject), reject after external review (based on referees’ reports), or accept (normally after one or two rounds of revisions). About 62% of all final decisions made in 2016 correspond to desk-rejects. This does not mean that LARR rejected three fifths of the manuscripts without external review; only 47% of all manuscripts received in 2016 were desk-rejected. The figure partly reflects the increasing number of submissions: most desk-rejects were made for a larger pool of manuscripts received in 2016, while decisions after external review were made for a smaller pool of manuscripts submitted in previous years. Figures for 2017 are preliminary (for the first quarter) and presented for reference only.
|Decisions made (%)||2016||2017*|
|Reject after internal review||61.7||42.3|
|Reject after external review||27.2||23.1|
Figure 2 displays the average number of days required to reach each type of decision. On average, it took 68 days to reject manuscripts after internal review, 129 days (4.3 months) to reject manuscripts after peer review, and 337 days (11.2 months) to accept articles for publication after revisions. The editorial team is focusing on shortening those response times.
Volume 51 was the last volume of LARR published in traditional print format, before the transition to on-line open-access publication. The editorial team led by Philip Oxhorn selected the contents for volume 51 (and most of volume 52) prior to the transition in 2016. Volume 51 contained 53 articles (including book review essays) written by 81 authors. The volume showed balance in terms of gender (46% of the authors were female) and geographic region: 41% of the authors were located in Latin America, 39% in Canada and the United States, and 20% in Europe. The most common countries were the United States (36% of LARR authors), Brazil (11%), Mexico (9%), and Chile (7%).
The volume also presents balance in terms of substantive topics. Of 47 research papers published in 2016, 45% were in the humanities (anthropology, history, literature and cultural studies) and 55% in the social sciences (economics, political science and international relations, sociology). This opening to the humanities will remain in the future. Of the 41 research papers scheduled to be published in 2017 (volume 52, excluding the special issue), 63% are in the humanities and 37% in the social sciences. Figure 3 reports the number of articles published in volume 51 and scheduled for current volume 52, by field. In line with the membership of LASA, the most common disciplines in LARR are politics and international relations, and literature and cultural studies.