Monday, May 12, 2014

Who is getting published in the journal Political Theory?

Here's a quick snapshot of the articles published in Political Theory over the past 5+ years, starting with the Feb 2009 issue and ending with the April 2014 issue. (That's 32 issues, containing 117 articles). In July 2012, Mary Dietz (who served since 2005) was replaced by Jane Bennett as editor of the journal.

The chart above reflects that of the 117 articles published in Political Theory during this time period, 77 of the single-authored articles were written by men and 34 were written by women.

This chart addresses articles only. We are working on compiling information about book reviews in this journal and others.

In addition to articles and reviews, PT also publishes "Critical Exchanges" and "Symposiums." Contributions of these types are shorter than full articles and there are far fewer of them.  Given the prominence of the journal, however, these venues are also worth our attention. 

In this time period, 17 Critical Exchanges between two authors were  published. Of these, 11 were between male authors, three were between female authors, and 3 were between a male and female author.

There were also 4 Symposium published. The overall gender balance here was better than either articles or Critical Exchanges. The total number of participants in these fora was 22 (counting a pair of co-authors). 13 of these participants were male (again, including a pair of male co-authors) and 9 were female. It is worth noting, however, that 3 of the 4 Symposium were dedicated to the work of living male theorists (James Tully, Jurgen Habermas, Jeffrey Green). The remaining Symposium was on republicanism. Interestingly, it was the only one of the four to feature exclusively male participants.

Since Political Theory is widely considered the top journal in the subfield (and has a higher "impact rating" than any other theory-specific journals), these stats deserve scrutiny. It would be interesting to know more about the gender breakdown of article submissions, manuscripts sent out for review, etc. If anyone has access to that data and is willing to share, please speak up!

For now, we'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this.


  1. Is there anyone who has worked on the editorial side of PT who has access to submission data and would be willing to share? This would be useful in pinpointing whether the gender disparity lies there and/or with the selection process. Anyone?

  2. Thanks for compiling these statistics - very helpful. I agree that knowing the number of articles submitted by women vs men would help round out the picture. Another journal I'd be very curious to see gender stats on is the Journal of Political Philosophy. A casual comparison of that journal with the Journal of Social Philosophy for the last 3 or 4 years certainly gives the impression that the JPP is publishing fewer articles by women than is its nearest comparison journal, the JSP. I wonder if the Goodin's high number of desk-rejects (which is clearly not blind-review!) may play a role here. The JSP has a strict double-blind review policy and as far as I know does very little desk-rejecting. I also think PT does not do much desk-reject.

  3. Submission stats would be amazing. If anyone wants to email us with those, we would post them - or you could post them yourself, anonymously. Also agreed re: JPP stats - that would offer an interesting comparison with _Political Theory_. We will put that in the queue of projects, but please feel free to do it yourself and post it here.