Section Membership and Participation in the American Sociological Review Publication Process

Networks, Hacking, and Media – CITA MS@30: Now and Then and Tomorrow

ISBN: 978-1-78769-666-2, eISBN: 978-1-78769-665-5

ISSN: 2050-2060

Publication date: 27 November 2018


A persistent theme throughout the history of the Communication, Information Technologies, and Media Section of the American Sociological Association (CITAMS, formerly CITASA) has been that the work of section members has been underrepresented in sociology’s leading journals. This chapter empirically examines that claim, using data from the newly created American Sociological Review (ASR) Digital Archive, a collection of all manuscripts, published and unpublished, submitted to ASR between 1990 and 2010, along with all reviews of these manuscripts. Analyses in the chapter focus on a comparison of CITAMS and Methodology Section members’ participation in the ASR process as a manuscript author or reviewer. The findings of this chapter show that controlling for differences in the gender and age composition of the two sections, CITAMS members are significantly less likely than Methodology Section members to participate in the ASR publication process. This pattern is evident not only in the degree to which CITAMS members are asked to review papers, but also in the frequency with which they submit to ASR. Further analyses in the chapter look at membership in multiple sections and the possibilities for innovative collaboration. Increasing CITAMS involvement in the ASR publication process and amplifying the section’s voice in the discipline’s flagship journal may begin with more CITAMS members submitting manuscripts to ASR and collaborating with sociologists affiliated with other ASA sections.



Witte, J., Spalter-Roth, R. and Furuya, Y. (2018), "Section Membership and Participation in the American Sociological Review Publication Process", Wellman, B., Robinson, L., Brienza, C., Chen, W. and Cotten, S. (Ed.) Networks, Hacking, and Media – CITA MS@30: Now and Then and Tomorrow (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 25-40.

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During James Witte’s tenure as Chair of the Communication and Information Technology Section of the American Sociological Association (CITASA), from 2005 to 2007, several issues dominated our business meetings and council meetings. Successful efforts were made to increase flagging section membership, which once again crossed the 300-member threshold in 2005, to secure more session time at the annual meeting. CITASA mini-conferences were held in conjunction with the annual meetings in Philadelphia (2005), Montreal (2006), and New York (2007), which was held in the SecondLife virtual world platform.

But perhaps the most important recurring theme, particularly among the section’s student, junior faculty, and mid-career faculty members, was that the important academic work of the section was not represented in top-tier sociology publications. This sentiment holds sway today. On the CITAMS website, my predecessor as section chair, Barry Wellman, commented on the “Stellar Seven 2015,” seven outstanding papers that competed for the section’s top paper honors:

CITASA has a bright future: all of the authors are mid-career or younger. Taken together, these articles make a great reading list. They show the use of CITASA’s work on a variety of fields: norms, social capital, symbolic interaction, urban, gender, race, teens, and social psychology. The papers all come from solid journals. Yet, none of the mainstreamers with “social” or “sociological” in their titles appear. Those laggards will catch on some day. (Wellman, 2015)

This chapter empirically examines claims that the significance of the work produced by the section is unheralded by the discipline, particularly when compared to the American Sociological Association (ASA) Methodology Section. It also examines the potential scientific networks within each section that can lead to innovations in the discipline. This analysis focuses on sociology’s flagship journal, The American Sociological Review (ASR). As part of a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project, a new data set, the ASR Digital Archive has been created. This archive contains twenty years of ASR manuscripts, published and unpublished, as well as the associated reviews. Materials are only included with the permission of authors and reviewers. The data set also includes demographic, institutional, and network data.

The chapter begins with further discussion of the data and methods and is then followed by a comparison of CITAMS participation in ASR with that of the Methodology Section. Analysis with the Archive data focuses on a comparison of CITAMS members’ participation in the ASR publication process to that of the Methodology Section of ASA. This comparison is made because the two sections are roughly the same size, but while the Methodology Section is well established in ASA, CITAMS is a relative newcomer. Moreover, the reputation of ASR is that it is a highly quantitative journal that fits the profile of many members of the Methodology Section, while many of the members of the CITAMS section focus on qualitative and theoretical approaches. First, we compare participation in ASR between the two sections. Then we examine some reasons for the differences we find in ASR participation, including: the size of the discipline over time; the proportion of women in the section; and the network clusters formed by members of the two sections. The chapter concludes by highlighting how the ASR Digital Archive fits into recent calls for a “Science of Science” (Fortunato et al., 2018) and considers implications of the analysis for CITAMS members who wish for a more prominent profile in the discipline’s leading journals.

Building the Digital Archive

Paper records from ASA’s journals were retained in an archive at Pennsylvania State University. When Penn State decided to deaccession these records, they were stored in a climate-controlled warehouse by ASA, but were slowly deteriorating. The choice between allowing these files to deteriorate and creating a new form of Archive was made by the ASA Council. The result was a proposal to the NSF for Creating a Digital Archive for Research on the Production of Scientific Knowledge project, which was funded by NSF in 2015. The ASA, in collaboration with the Center for Social Science Research (CSSR) at George Mason University, was awarded a grant from the NSF to develop a digital research Archive of the rejected and accepted manuscripts, their peer reviews, and correspondence between editors, authors, and reviewers who submitted to the ASR from 1990 to 2010. Though the focus to date has been on the ASR materials, paper manuscripts, and corresponding reviews submitted to all six of the ASA’s journals during this time-period have been digitized.

The Digital Archive is in the form of a relational database spanning a 20-year time and permitting the scholarly exploration of the evolution of sociology as a discipline – its paradigms, intellectual networks, and the demographics of its contributors. It will track how the process of knowledge production was shaped by the peer review process during a period of dramatic change in the discipline and in the institutions of higher education. By including unpublished manuscripts along with published articles, the Archive will make visible currently invisible professional networks and processes that span the discipline of sociology. By bringing together versions of unpublished manuscripts with published ones and corresponding review materials, the Archive will allow scholars to better understand changes in disciplinary paradigms and how the peer review process shapes the discipline.

The first step of this process was to curate the boxes of manuscripts, reviews, and letters to determine the completeness of the paper files for each journal. The ASR, ASA’s flagship peer-reviewed research journal, contained the most organized files for each year of data. Therefore, we began creating the Archive based on this journal.

The next step was to create a database to organize and manage the metadata associated with the Archive documents, which includes information on 8,152 initial submissions with another 2,399 revisions prepared by a total of 18,547 authors. In addition, the archive includes 26,690 reviews produced by 5,511 reviewers. Beginning in 1990, ASA began to use Journal Builder, a computerized submission process, for articles submitted to all the ASA journals. The Journal Builder files served as the source for the Archive’s metadata. Journal Builder provides an accurate count of every unique manuscript submitted to each journal every year, including their titles, the author(s), the reviewers, transaction dates, reviewer decisions, and final outcomes, all of which are connected through a unique Journal Builder manuscript number. A comma delimited file was developed from the Journal Builder files so that, for manuscripts with multiple authors, unique records could be assigned to each author while remaining connected to one another by the manuscript number and the version number. All names of the participants (authors and reviewers) taken from the Journal Builder file have been uniformly formatted (Last Name, First Name, Middle Name, Suffix). However, names were not used in the present analyses and will only be used in the future for authors who have given permission to have their manuscripts in the Archive. Reviewers will neither included by name nor the actual manuscripts and reviews used in this chapter, and they will only be used in the future for authors and reviewers who have given permission. Use of this file will be handled as a restricted data set following Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and NSF procedures.

Next, we disambiguated the author and reviewer files by removing all duplicate listing of authors and reviewers. We curated the names of all participants in the Journal Builder files, removing redundancy by using Google searches to determine if John Q. Public was the same person as John Public. This disambiguation process was used for the reviewer and author files, as well as a person file, which contained a single record for any person who participated in the publication process as an author or reviewer.

The purpose of the next steps was to add additional information to populate the appropriate files using the ASA Guide to Graduate Departments of Sociology and the ASA membership data base. Each year, ASA publishes the Guide to Graduate Departments of Sociology for departments that offer graduate degrees and wish to be included in the Guide. The Guide is organized by the name of university and the name of department. Digital copies of the Guide, covering the 20-year period from 1990 to 2010, were converted into Excel format from Word and PDF files. This data includes the institutional affiliation of authors at the time of the article or review submission, Ph.D. granting institutions, current institution, and rank (which will vary over time). These files can be used to see career trajectories (including changes in institutional affiliation and rank) over time.

The ASA membership files are filled out by ASA members on an annual basis at the beginning of each membership year. Not all sociologists are members of ASA. For those who were ASA members during 1990–2010, we collected data on their gender, race, ethnicity, and current institution, as well as their current email addresses for the most recent year of membership. For those whose demographic characteristics and email addresses could not be obtained through the membership files, online searches were conducted to find the missing information. To ensure that those who submitted manuscripts or reviews to ASR were willing to include their work in the Archive, we conducted a Qualtrics permissions survey, with five reminders, that was sent out to authors and reviewers. The survey also included information about their race, ethnicity, gender, and institution that could be used to populate the files when membership information was missing. The response rate to this survey was 45%.

A very time-consuming and ongoing part of the project has been the manuscript and review curation process followed. This process is not discussed in detail here, as these documents are not used in the analyses presented in this chapter. In short, the PDF files created through the scanning process contained all information pertaining to an initial submission, that is, all versions of the manuscripts, the associated reviews, and miscellaneous correspondence. In addition to the curation, email search, and permission survey, we included annual section membership for each individual in the file. These files were then broken apart into individual files for each document, redacted to remove identifying information, and then saved in a file structure that could be linked to the metadata from Journal Builder.

These data files are used for the analyses below; first comparing ASR participation, and then the reasons for differential participation.

Section Participation in the ASR

To consider how CITAMS members fit into the mainstream publishing landscape, the ASA membership data is combined with other data from the ASR Digital Archive. Specifically, any individual who belonged to either section (CITAMS or Methodology) between 2004 and 2015 was matched with metadata from the digital archive to see if an individual had been “ASR active” between 1990 and 2010. To be ASR active, an individual had to have either submitted one or more manuscripts for publication during this time or served as an ASR reviewer for one or more manuscripts. In the analyses presented in this chapter, we are not concerned with whether or not the manuscript was published or not. Nor does the analysis examine whether or not the editor agreed with a reviewer’s recommendation. The analysis simply looks at who is playing the ASR game. Future analyses will distinguish between published and unpublished manuscripts.

Section Membership and ASR Participation

Table 1 compares CITAMS members to the Methodology Section of ASA to determine if membership in either section is associated with a greater level of participation in the ASR publication process.

Table 1.

Participation in the ASR Publication Process According to Section Membership.

ASR Participation Methodology CITAMS Both Total
As an authora 34.8% 14.2% 27.6% 25.3%
As a reviewerb 27.4% 12.8% 19.7% 20.6%
As an author or reviewerc 39.4% 20.0% 35.5% 30.6%
Total 100%

a Pearson Χ2 = 89.4, df = 2, p < 0.001.

b Pearson Χ2 = 51.8, df = 2, p < 0.001.

c Pearson Χ2 = 71.7, df = 2, p < 0.001.

Note: 0 cells (0.0%) have expected count less than 5.

First, we consider whether members of the Methodology and CITAMS sections are equally likely to submit a manuscript to ASR. From the first row of Table 2, we see that Methodology Section members are more than twice as likely to have submitted to ASR as CITAMS section members. Those who belonged to both sections are less likely to have submitted than members of the Methodology Section, but are still nearly twice as likely to have submitted as those who belonged to CITAMS but not the Methodology Section.

Table 2.

Participation in the ASR Publication Process According to Section Membership controlling for Year of Birth.

ASR Participation Methodology CITAMS Member of Both Sections Total
Born before 1968
As an authora 41.0% 17.1% 25.8% 30.6%
As a reviewerb 39.7% 22.1% 25.8% 31.9%
As an author or reviewerc 48.1% 27.8% 38.7% 39.4%
Born 1968 or later
As an authord 28.9% 13.5% 28.6% 21.8%
As a reviewere 16.6%  7.6% 14.3% 12.4%
As an author or reviewerf 31.9% 16.0% 33.3% 24.6%

a Pearson Χ2 = 43.8, df = 2, p < 0.001.

b Pearson Χ2 = 23.6, df = 2, p < 0.001.

c Pearson Χ2 = 28.1, df = 2, p < 0.001.

d Pearson Χ2 = 30.0, df = 2, p < 0.001.

f Pearson Χ2 = 15.8, df = 2, p < 0.001.

g Pearson Χ2 = 30.2, df = 2, p < 0.001.

Note: 0 cells (0.0%) have expected count less than 5, N = 1,571.

Next, we see a similar pattern with participation in the ASR review process as a reviewer. Here, too, members of the Methodology Section are more than twice as likely (27.4%) to have served as reviewers as compared to those who belonged to CITAMS but not the Methodology Section (12.8%).

Finally, we look at whether or not individuals who were a member of either section were active as an ASR manuscript author or reviewer at any point in time for which we have data. Members of the Methodology Section are nearly twice as likely to be ASR active (39.4%) than members of CITAMS (20.0%), while those who are members of both sections most clearly resemble members of the Methodology Section (35.5%).

Reasons for Differences in Participation

CITAMS Membership Over Time

One explanation for the lack of participation in ASA might be the relatively stable size of the section compared to the growth of other sections. In terms of absolute numbers, CITAMS section membership has been relatively consistent in size during the period 2004–2015. Beginning in 2005, when a membership drive was initiated to ensure additional session time at the annual meeting, membership has been routinely at 300 or greater, peaking at 331 members in 2015.1

Similarly, the proportion of all ASA members who belong to CITAMS was relatively stable during this period, as was the case for most ASA sections (see Fig. 1). Fig. 1 indicates that the proportion of ASA members who belong to CITAMS grew from just under 2% in 2004 to just under 3% in 2015. Most other ASA sections followed a similar pattern of slow growth with the exception of the “Sex and Gender” section, the largest ASA section throughout this time period, with 10% of all ASA members belonging to the section in 2015 and the greatest growth in membership. Two other sections, Medical Sociology, and Organizations, Occupations, and Work also saw notable increases during this period. The relatively small size of CITAMS suggests that there were fewer members available to submit papers.

Fig. 1. 
Size of Selected ASA Sections Over Time.

Fig. 1.

Size of Selected ASA Sections Over Time.

Age and ASR Participation

From Fig. 2 we see that there are clear differences in the age composition of various sections, though this has changed somewhat over time. The Methodology Section has typically been among the ASA sections with the lowest proportion of members under age 40, while CITAMS has at times been the section with the greatest proportion of members under age 40. These proportions have converged somewhat during the 2004–2015 period, nevertheless 47% of the members of the Methodology Section were under 40, as compared to 50% of the CITAMS membership.

Fig. 2. 
Proportion Under Age 40 of Selected ASA Sections Over Time.

Fig. 2.

Proportion Under Age 40 of Selected ASA Sections Over Time.

Given the differences in the age structure between the two sections, it is possible that this could account for the differences in participation in the ASR publication process because early-career sociologists may be less likely to submit to the top journals in the field. Table 2 considers this possibility. There are clear differences according to age when one compares the upper panel of the table, which shows the level of participation among those born before 1968 in the process as an author, a reviewer, or as either an author or a reviewer, with the lower panel that provides this information for members of the two sections who were born in 1968 or later. This table does show that younger scholars who belong to either of these sections are less likely to submit manuscripts or prepare reviews for ASR – 24.6% of those born in 1968 or later as compared to 39.4% of those born before 1968 – yet in both age groups, the differences between sections remains large and statistically significant. When comparing participation as an author, a reviewer, or both an author and a reviewer, members of the Methodology Section participate at a much higher level than CITAMS section members. Within both age groups, and regardless of whether one considers participation as an author, a reviewer, or as either an author or reviewer, the participation rates of those who are CITAMS members are about half as high as those who are Methodology Section members.

Gender and ASR Participation

Fig. 3 shows that while both the Methodology and CITAMS sections were among the sections with the highest proportion of male members, this has changed somewhat over time, and by 2015, just over half of the members of CITAMS were women. Contrarily, the proportion of women in the Methodology Section has never exceeded 40%, and in 2015, it stood at 34%. If women are underrepresented in the ASR publication process, then the different gender composition of the two sections could account for differences between the sections in participation in the ASR publication process.

Fig. 3. 
Proportion Female of Selected ASA Sections Over Time.

Fig. 3.

Proportion Female of Selected ASA Sections Over Time.

However, as Table 3 shows, the relationship between participation and section affiliation holds regardless of gender. Across both sections, women are just about half as likely to participate in the process as an author, as a reviewer, or as either an author or a reviewer. For example, of those members of the Methodology Section who participated in the publication process as either an author or a reviewer, only 27.2% of the women did so compared to 49.0% of the men. Clearly there is a gender gap. For the CITAMS section, only 13.8% of the women participated as either an author or a reviewer compared to 26.6% of the men. In other words, there is a large difference in participation according to gender in both sections. Nevertheless, in aggregate, there is a large difference in participation according to section affiliation irrespective of demographic qualifiers.

Table 3.

Participation in the ASR Publication Process According to Section Membership Controlling for Gender.

ASR Participation Methodology CITAMS Both Total
As an authora 43.5% 19.8% 33.3% 33.5%
As a reviewerb 35.1% 16.7% 26.7% 27.3%
As an author or reviewerc 49.0% 26.6% 42.2% 39.7%
As an authord 23.7%  9.0% 19.4% 16.4%
As a reviewere 17.6%  9.9%  9.7% 13.5%
As an author or reviewerf 27.2% 13.8% 25.8% 20.6%

a Pearson Χ2 = 51.8, df = 2, p < 0.001.

b Pearson Χ2 = 35.2, df = 2, p < 0.001.

c Pearson Χ2 = 43.3, df = 2, p < 0.001.

d Pearson Χ2 = 27.8, df = 2, p < 0.001.

e Pearson Χ2 = 9.5, df = 2, p < 0.01.

f Pearson Χ2 = 19.6, df = 2, p <0.001.

Note: 0 cells (0.0%) have expected count less than 5.

ASR Participation and Section Membership Controlling for Age and Gender

Having established the relationship between section membership and participation in the ASR publication process, as well as the main effects of age and gender, the logistic regression results presented in Table 4 consider if the effects of section membership remain when controlling simultaneously for both age and gender. The table presents exponentiated logistic regression coefficients, which may be interpreted as the percent change in the odds that an individual is active in the ASR publication process: a coefficient less than one means that an individual with that characteristic is less likely to be active; a coefficient greater than one means an individual with the characteristic is more likely to be active; and a coefficient of one means the probability of being active is not associated with the characteristic.

Table 4

Logistic Regression Analysis of Participation in the ASR Publication Process.

Exponentiated (β)
Author Reviewer Author or Reviewer
Born after 1968 0.74* 0.331*** 0.566***
Female 0.422*** 0.506*** 0.444***
Methodology Section member 2.620*** 2.134*** 2.154***
Constant 0.327*** 0.378*** 0.555***
Percent correct 74.3% 79.0% 70.4%
Omnibus Χ2 test of model 131.3*** 152.0*** 139.0***
Nagelkerke pseudo R2 0.12 0.14 0.12

N = 1,563, ***p < 0.001, **p < 0.05.

The constant in each model captures the baseline probability of an individual participating in the ASR publication process. Whether one considers the likelihood that an individual is an author, a reviewer, or either an author or a reviewer, the results are the same. For example, looking at the latter estimates, whether one is either an author or a reviewer, the negative relationships between being born in 1968 or later and for being female are both statistically significant, with an estimated change in the probability of 43.4% for age and 55.5% for gender. Holding the effects of age and gender constant, the coefficient of 2.154 for being a member of the Methodology Section means these individuals are more than twice as likely to participate in the ASR publication process as CITAMS members.

In thinking about possible interaction effects, the most plausible would be that beyond the direct effects of gender and section membership, it could be that male members of the Methodology Section would be more likely to participate in the publication process. However, regardless of whether the analyses looked at authorship, serving as a reviewer, or being either an author or a reviewer, there was no evidence to support such an interaction effect.

Table 4 also summarizes the predictive power of the models. Here, too, the results are consistent across all three models. Looking again at the likelihood that an individual was either an author or a reviewer, the model would make a correct prediction in 70.4% of the cases, a statistically significant improvement in the overall fit of the model (Χ 2 = 139.0 with 3 df) as compared to assuming that members of both sections, regardless of gender or birth year, would have the same probability of participating in the publication process.

Multiple Section Memberships and Opportunities for Innovation

As noted, work by cross disciplinary teams suggest greater innovation and more notice in a field of study (Fortunato et al., 2018). Over time, there has been a shift from sole authorship to co-authorship, or team authorship, across disciplines. Therefore, we examine the network affiliations between CITAMS members and members of the Methodology Section. Sociology has more than 50 sections, each representing a sub-disciplinary specialization. These include: Science, Knowledge, and Technology; Organizations, Occupations, and Work; Racial and Ethnic Minorities; Rationality and Society; Race, Gender, and Class; Social Psychology; International Migration; and Medical Sociology. While these sections are part of the discipline, they define borders within the field and have different topic areas, bodies of literature, and, in some cases, different methodologies. Therefore, co-authorship among section membership resembles interdisciplinary work (Jacobs, 2013). We examine section affiliations of all CITAMS members compared with all Methodology Section members. By examining potential collaborations, we can see the possibilities for innovative science rather than replication of prior work.

Fig. 4 is a network graph representing the ASA section affiliations of all CITAMS section members and all Methodology Section members. Using NodeXL, the graph’s vertices were grouped by cluster by applying the Clauset-Newman-Moore cluster algorithm. The graph was then laid out using the Harel-Koren Fast Multiscale layout algorithm. Vertices in the graph represent sections and the CITAMS and Methodology Section members who belong to them. Sections are represented by solid symbols, with CITAMS and the Methodology Sections as squares and all other sections as circles. Vertices labeled numerically are individual section members with one instance for each year that an individual belonged to ASA and the CITAMS or Methodology Sections. Membership in these two sections, as well as all other sections to which they belong, is represented by the graph’s edges, which are directed to indicate section affiiation.

Fig. 4. 
Section Affiliations of Members of CITAMS and the Methodology Sections of ASA.

Fig. 4.

Section Affiliations of Members of CITAMS and the Methodology Sections of ASA.

The clustering algorithm groups vertices based on the overall network structure such that each group represents a cluster of vertices that are densely connected with one another, but only loosely connected with vertices in other groups. The individual and section vertices in each group are clustered together because these are sections (and members) who tend to share section affiliations.

Table 5 summarizes the sections falling within each of the five clusters laid out in Fig. 3. For example, members of the Methodology Section tend to also belong to the following sections: Crime, Law, & Deviance; Sociology of Education; Community & Urban Sociology; Environment & Technology; Sociology of Population; Asia/Asian American; Sociology of Religion; International Migration; and Disabiity and Society. Members of CITAMS are more closely aligned with members of a different set of sections: Organizations, Occupations, and Work; Theory; Peace, War, & Social Conflict; Comparative and Historical Sociology; Sociology of Culture; Science, Knowledge & Technology; History of Sociology; Economic Sociology; Labor and Labor Movements; Ethnomethodology/Conversation Analysis; and Global/Transnational Sociology. Importantly, other members of these two sections cluster with other sections, such as those around Sociology of the Family, Social Psychology, and Teaching and Learning.

Table 5.

ASA Section Clusters as Defined by Methodology and CITAMS Member Affiliation.

ASA Section Number and Name Methodology CITAMS Family Social Psych Teaching Section Sizea
S01 Teaching and Learning XXX 6,504
S02 Methodology XXX 3,701
S03 Medical Sociology X 9,257
S04 Crime, Law, & Deviance X 5,928
S05 Sociology of Education X 7,196
S06 Family XXX 7,129
S07 Orgs, Occupation and Work X 8,963
S08 Theory X 7,330
S09 Sex and Gender X 10,328
S10 Community & Urban Sociology X 6,153
S11 Social Psychology XXX 5,924
S12 Peace, War, & Social Conflict X 2,773
S13 Environment & Technology X 4,011
S14 Marxist Sociology X 3,350
S15 Soc Practice & Public Soc X 2,499
S16 Sociology of Population X 4,412
S17 Pol Econ of World-System X 3,801
S18 Aging and the Life Course X 5,373
S19 Sociology of Mental Health X 3,702
S20 Coll Behavior/Soc Movements X 7,162
S21 Racial & Ethnic Minorities X 7,459
S22 Comparative/Historical Soc X 6,480
S23 Political Sociology X 7,298
S24 Asia/Asian America X 3,229
S25 Sociology of Emotions X 2,394
S26 Sociology of Culture X 10,298
S27 Science, Knowledge & Technology X 4,389
S28 Communication and Information XXX 2,790
S29 Latina/o Sociology X 3,123
S30 Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco X 2,252
S31 Children & Youth X 3,705
S32 Sociology of Law X 3,681
S33 Rationality and Society X 1,482
S34 Sociology of Religion X 5,778
S35 International Migration X 4,987
S36 Race, Gender, and Class X 8,311
S37 Mathematical Sociology X 1,907
S38 Sociology of Sexualities X 4,179
S39 History of Sociology X 1,850
S40 Economic Sociology X 6,945
S41 Labor and Labor Movements X 3,265
S42 Animals and Society X 1,606
S43 Ethnomethodology/Conv Analysis X 1,668
S44 Evolution, Biology & Society X 1,407
S45 Disability and Society X 1,474
S46 Human Rights X 1,743
S47 Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity X 1,284
S48 Body and Embodiment X 1,536
S49 Global/Transnational Soc. X 2,504
S50 Inequality, Poverty & Mobility 2,029
S51 Development, Sociology of 1,255
S52 Consumers & Consumption 581
Total potential collaborators 50,938 66,553 83,392 12,004 15,702 228,385

a Section size is the total number of section memberships between 2004 and 2015 excluding the years for which section membership is not available. There were no overlapping memberships between the Methodology and CITAMS sections with three other sections: Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility; Sociology of Development; Consumers and Consumption.

The Section Size column in Table 5 contains the total number of section memberships for each section for the nine years between 2004 and 2015 for which there is data. Here, we see that the Methodology Section has slightly more memberships (3,701) than CITAMS (2,790). Both are dwarfed, however, by sections such as Sex and Gender (10,328) and the Sociology of Culture (10,298). The significance of the sections in each cluster can be summarized in two ways. First, if one thinks about all of the members of the sections in the cluster as potential points of collaboration, we see that despite smaller section size, members of CITAMS have notably more points of potential collaboration (66,553) than those of the Methodology Section (50,938). Second, if we consider betweeness centrality of the various sections, we see that CITAMS members hold an advantage here as well. The Methodology and CITAMS Sections have the highest betweeness centrality, as membership in either section was necessary to be included in the graph. But of those eight sections with the next highest betweeness centrality, five are in the CITAMS cluster, two in the Methodology cluster, and just one in the Social Psychology cluster. This finding suggests that CITAMS members have greater opportunities to collaborate than do Methodology Section members.

Conclusion and Discussion

The findings in this chapter suggests that CITAMS members are less likely to participate in ASR, either as authors or reviewers. This article is innovative in that, unlike many articles published under the rubric of the “Science of Science,” the Archive database provides information on both published and unpublished articles, freeing the analysis from bias in terms of what becomes part of the sociological knowledge base. Possible explanations for the publishing disparity between CITAMS and the Methodology section includes age, gender, and size differences. However, our regression results show that, even when controlling for age and gender, section membership is a strong predictor of this publishing disparity. In the late 1990s and in the early 2000s a number of promising young scholars in the CITAMS section chose to pursue careers in communications and may have been participating that field’s top-tier journals, while others chose to enter the tech industry, where there is less of a focus on academic publications.

On the one hand, the observed disparities by section, age, and gender, in both submissions and reviewing, reflect the publishing choices of CITAMS members, as well as the choice of younger and female sociologists in the CITAMS and Methodology Sections not to submit their manuscripts to ASR. On the other hand, the difference in patterns of reviewing represent the choices of editors to assign reviews more frequently to members of the Methodology Section, to older sociologists, and to men. In other words, the differences in participation are the cumulative effect of both agency with regard to submissions, as well as external structure embodied in the editors’ choices for reviewers.

The lament as to the lack of recognition of the CITAMS Section’s work in the discipline’s top journals has spanned the entire history of the section, including all three periods as defined by the section’s previous three names: Micro-Computing; Sociology and Computing; and Communication and Information Technologies. So, now as the section bears a fourth name, the question arises: if this is to change, what is to be done?

We suggest that co-authorship or team authorship within the dense networks of section members can bring about an increase of publication and more innovative science. For the membership of CITAMS, we suggest that a name change alone is not enough. CITAMS members, possibly in collaboration with sociologists affiliated with other sections, need to start putting their work in play and participating more fully in the publication process at ASR and other leading journals in the discipline. Other researchers have found that greater attention and innovation occurs as a result of joint or team collaboration (Fortunato et al., 2018).

Future work will examine the role of editors in the publication process and whether they constrain the topics and the findings that get published, and whether they support conventional sociology at the expense of innovative social research.



Earl (2015) reports a peak in membership of over 350 in 2013; however, this is a year for which ASA section membership data is not available.


Earl, 2015Earl, J. (2015). CITASA: Intellectual past and future. Information, Communication & Society, 18(5), 478491. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2015.1008544

Fortunato, Bergstrom, Borner, Evans, Helberg, Milojevic, & Barabasi, 2018Fortunato, S., Bergstrom, C. T., Borner, K. Evans, J. A, Helberg, D., Milojevic, S. & Barabasi, A. Z. (2018). Science of science. Retrieved from Accessed on May 2, 2018.

Jacobs, 2013Jacobs, J. A. (2013). In defense of interdisciplinarity and specialization. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Wellman, 2015Wellman, B. (2015). The CITAMS (CITASA) Stellar Seven 2015. Retrieved from Accessed on September 19 2018.