science pile

Failure Is An Option

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Publishing in peer-reviewed journals is hard. It’s also highly arbitrary. Here’s an abridged version of my CV that shows where each book and paper was rejected prior to publication.

I published 31 papers before mostly giving up on journal publishing. One of these was invited; I exclude it from my tallies. Five out of 30 papers (17%) were accepted at the first journal I submitted to. The mean paper was submitted to 2.33 journals prior to publication. Ten papers were rejected by four or more journals before being published. This includes my second-most cited paper (cited 278 times, rejected by five journals), published in Journal of Higher Education. My third-most cited paper, published in Demography, was rejected by three journals and has been cited 185 times. My record is a paper published in 1999 in Gender Issues that was first rejected at seven journals. Two of these rejections, at Gender & Society and Social Problems, came after invitations to revise and resubmit.

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Certainly my numbers are higher because I first submitted to top journals. I’ve had ten rejections at American Sociological Review, nine at American Journal of Sociology, and nine at Journal of Marriage and Family. I’ve never published a paper in any of these, despite a total of five invitations to revise and resubmit.

Books

Under contract. The Changing Economics of Single Motherhood (working title). New York: Oxford University Press (with M. McKeever).

  1. Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love and Marriage among African Americans and Latinos. New York: Oxford University Press (with W. B. Wilcox).

–      proposal rejected by other presses

2013. Do Babies Matter? Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press (with M. A. Mason & M. Goulden).

–      proposal rejected by 15+ other presses

  1. Understanding the Divorce Cycle: The Children of Divorce in Their Own Marriages. New York: Cambridge University Press.

proposal rejected by 15+ presses

–    manuscript rejected by Stanford University Press while under contract

2015. Fragile Families and the Marriage Agenda. New York: Springer (edited, with L. Kowaleski-Jones).

– proposal and complete book rejected by other presses, including one after verbal commitment to publish

Publications in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Note: In all but one instance, rejections after R&Rs came after I resubmitted. In the aforementioned instance, I declined to resubmit.

  1. “One Nation, Divided: What Role Do Culture, Religion, and Civic Institutions Play in the Retreat from Marriage and the Marriage Divide in America?” The Future of Children 25:111-127 (with W. B. Wilcox and C. E. Stokes). Invited publication.

 

  1. “Attitudes toward Marriage, Divorce, Cohabitation, and Casual Sex among Working-Age Latinos: Does Religion Matter?” Journal of Family Issues 34:295-322 (with C. G. Ellison and A. I. Ramos-Wada).

 

 

  1. “Broken Boundaries or Broken Marriages? Racial Intermarriage and Divorce.” Social Science Quarterly 92:1096-1117 (with V. K. Fu).

 

  • Social Science Research, two reviews

 

2011 . “Parental Divorce and Offspring Religious Behavior: Evidence from the General Social Survey.” Review of Religious Research 53: 85-103 (with H.-H. Lau).

 

  • Sociology of Religion
  • Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

 

  1. “More Evidence for Trends in the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Completed Cohort Approach Using Data from the General Social Survey.” Demography 48:581-592, three reviews, some dickering with editor.

 

  1. “Thanks for Nothing: Income and Labor Force Participation for Never-Married Mothers.” Social Science Research 40:63-76 (with M. McKeever), three reviews.

 

  • American Journal of Sociology
  • American Sociological Review, two reviews
  • Demography
  • Social Forces

 

  1. “Joint Physical Custody and Neighborhood Friendships in Middle Childhood.” Sociological Inquiry 81:247-259 (with A. Prazen, L. Kowaleski-Jones, and C. Cahill), two reviews.

 

  • Qualitative Sociology, not sent out for review
  • Journal of Marriage and Family

 

  1. “Alone in the Ivory Tower: How Birth Events Vary among Fast-Track Professionals.” Journal of Family Issues 31:1652-1670 (with M. A. Mason and M. Goulden), two reviews.

 

  • Demography
  • Journal of Marriage and Family

 

  1. “Bendito Amor (‘Blessed Love’): Religion and Relationships among Married and Unmarried Latinos in Urban America.” Under review, Social Science Quarterly 3:171-188 (with W. B. Wilcox and E. I. Hernández), one review.

 

  • Journal of Family Issues, two reviews
  • Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
  • Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, three reviews
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Social Science Quarterly

 

  1. “‘Stay in the Game’: Gender, Family Formation, and Alternative Trajectories in the Academic Life Course.” Social Forces (with M. A. Mason and M. Goulden), accepted after appeal, three reviews. 
  • American Journal of Sociology
  • American Sociological Review

 

  1. “Happily Ever After? Religion, Marital Status, Gender, and Relationship Quality in Urban Families.” Social Forces 86:1311-1337 (with W. B. Wilcox), two reviews.

 

  • American Sociological Review

 

  1. “Family Structure and Voter Turnout.” Social Forces 86:1513-1528 (with R. E. Wolfinger), two reviews.

 

  • American Sociological Review

 

  1. “Problems in the Pipeline: Gender, Marriage, and Fertility in the Ivory Tower.” The Journal of Higher Education 79:388-405 (with M. A. Mason and M. Goulden), two reviews.

 

  • American Journal of Sociology
  • American Sociological Review
  • Social Forces
  • Harvard Educational Review
  • Work and Occupations

 

  1. “Living and Loving “Decent”: Religion and Relationship Quality among Urban Parents.” Social Science Research 37:828–843 (with W. B. Wilcox), two reviews.

 

– Declined to resubmit at Journal of Marriage and Family after second review

 

 

  1. “Family Structure Transitions and Child Achievement.” Sociological Spectrum 28:681-704 (with K. A. Shaff, L. Kowaleski-Jones, and K. Smith), one review.

 

  • Journal of Marriage and Family
  • Journal of Family Issues, two reviews

 

  1. “Then Comes Marriage? Religion and Marriage in Urban America.” Social Science Research 36:569-589 (with W. B. Wilcox), three reviews.

 

  • American Journal of Sociology
  • Social Forces
  • American Sociological Review
  • Demography

 

  1. “Does the Rebound Effect Exist? Time to Remarriage and Subsequent Union Stability.” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 46:9-20, one review.

 

  • Demography
  • Journal of Marriage and Family
  • Journal of Family Issues

 

  1. “Double Impact: What Sibling Data Can Tell Us about the Negative Effects of Parental Divorce.” Social Biology 50:58-76 (with L. Kowaleski-Jones and K. Smith), one review. 
  • Demography
  • Journal of Marriage and Family
  • Journal of Family Issues
  • Social Science Quarterly

 

  1. “Parental Divorce and Offspring Marriage: Early or Late?” Social Forces 82:337-353, accepted after appeal, two reviews.

 

  • American Journal of Sociology
  • American Sociological Review
  • Demography
  • Journal of Marriage and Family

 

  1. “Family Structure Homogamy: The Effects of Parental Divorce on Partner Selection and Marital Stability.” Social Science Research 32:80-97, one review. 
  • American Journal of Sociology, two reviews
  • American Sociological Review
  • Demography
  • Journal of Marriage and Family

 

  1. “Stepparents: De Facto Parents or Legal Strangers?” Journal of Family Issues 23:507-522 (with M. A. Mason, S. H. Jay, and G. Messick-Svare), one review.

 

  • Journal of Marriage and Family 
  1. “On Writing Field Notes: Background Expectancies and Collection Strategies.” Qualitative Research 2:85-95, one review.

 

  • Reprinted in Ethnographic Discourse, edited by P. Atkinson and S. Delamont (London: Sage, 2008) & elsewhere
  • Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

 

  1. “The Effects of Family Structure of Origin on Offspring Cohabitation Duration.” Sociological Inquiry 71:293-313, one review.

 

  • Journal of Family Issues
  • American Journal of Sociology

 

  1. “Reexamining the Economic Consequences of Marital Disruption for Women.” Social Science Quarterly 82:202-217 (with M. McKeever), accepted after appeal, two reviews.

 

  • Demography
  • Journal of Marriage and Family, two reviews
  • Journal of Human Resources
  • Social Forces

 

  1. “Beyond the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: Do People Replicate the Patterns of Marital Instability They Grew Up With?” Journal of Family Issues 21:1061-1086, two reviews.

 

  • American Sociological Review
  • Social Science Research, three reviews

 

  1. “Trends in the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce.” Demography 36:415-420, three reviews.

 

  • American Sociological Review
  • American Journal of Sociology, two reviews
  • Social Forces, two reviews

 

  1. “The Different Voices of Helping: Gender Differences in Recounting Dilemmas.” Gender Issues 17:70-86 (with J. Rabow and D. Newcomb), one review.

 

  • Social Psychology Quarterly
  • Gender and Society, two reviews
  • Harvard Educational Review
  • Signs
  • Feminist Review
  • Symbolic Interaction
  • Social Problems, two reviews

 

  1. “The Effects of Parental Divorce on Adult Tobacco and Alcohol Consumption.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 39:254-270, one review.

 

  1. “The Different Voices of Gender: Social Recognition.” Current Research in Social Psychology 2:50-65 (with J. Rabow), one review.

 

  • Social Psychology Quarterly
  • Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
  • Psychology of Women Quarterly
  • Journal of Language and Social Psychology

 

  1. “Passing Moments: Some Social Dynamics of Pedestrian Interaction.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 24:323-340, two reviews.

 

  1. “Reexamining Personal and Situational Factors in Drunk Driving Interventions.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 24:1627-1639 (with J. Rabow and M. D. Newcomb), one review.

 

Other Publications First Rejected Elsewhere

 

  1. “Shifting Fortunes in a Changing Economy: Trends in the Economic Well-Being of Divorced Women.” Pp. 127-157 in Fragile Families and the Marriage Agenda, edited by L. Kowaleski-Jones and N. H. Wolfinger. New York: Springer (with M. McKeever).

 

  • American Journal of Sociology
  • American Sociological Review
  • Demography

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Failure Is An Option

  1. Curious commenter

    Very interesting data!

    Did you exclude articles that received desk rejects? Or did you not make a distinction between articles that were rejected after one round of review versus articles that were desk rejected from the editor? (Of course, the third possibility is that none of your papers have been desk rejected; if that’s the case, then congratulations!)

  2. admin Post author

    Social science journals rarely do desk rejects unless something is totally out of left field (e.g., your paper about plant pathology going to Journal of Contemporary Ethnography). So no desk rejects.

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