With this first issue of Volume 26 of Political Analysis I start my term as Editor in Chief. I take over after the outstanding stewardship of R. Michael Alvarez and Jonathan N. Katz, whose term of eight years is unprecedented in length and level of success. They have moved the journal forward in every dimension and the Society for Political Methodology owes them a substantial debt of gratitude. We can proudly say that Political Analysis now rests solidly among the very best journals in political science.
I come to Political Analysis at an exciting time. We continue to hold our place at or near the very top of impact factor ratings in the discipline. We now have a successful replication policy in place using Dataverse. The shorter letter format is taking off and is now being subsequently copied at other journals in political science. Submissions are at an all-time high and the journal has successfully moved to Cambridge University Press. All of this points toward a bright future.
I am pleased to say that a very accomplished collection of scholars have agreed to be associate editors of Political Analysis during my editorship. These are: Lonna Atkeson (University of New Mexico), Adriana Crespo-Tenorio (Facebook), Sunshine Hillygus (Duke University), Dan Hopkins (University of Pennsylvania), Xun Pang (Tsinghua University), and Betsy Sinclair (Washington University). I look forward to working with them over the next three years. On another personal note, the Editorial Board stays in its current form except that Professors Alvarez and Katz will be joining. I know that I can count on all of these outstanding scholars for advice and counsel over the next few years.
With a new editorship come some new policies and procedures. As of January 1, 2018, Political Analysis will be moving to a single-blind submission system. There are two primary reasons for this, both of which were laid out in a Society for Political Methodology report a few years ago. First, it is unrealistic to believe that authors in our subfield are really anonymous courtesy of Google, and so on. In a recent experiment, Caltech graduate students were able to identify the authors of nearly every article for which they were given the title and abstract. Second, it is expensive and troublesome to monitor and correct for author-identifying features in submissions. Over the last year this has commanded more staff resources than it should. Currently Political Science Research and Methods (PSRM; our sister CUP journal) is single-blind without reporting any problems. We have modified the submission procedures to reflect this new policy. Furthermore, we will be studying reviewer reports for one year’s worth of data in January 2019 to look for evidence of any prejudicial trends in reports and scores. Please feel free to contact me if you have any particular concerns about this change. Manuscripts currently being processed will remain double-blind during the review process.
In addition, Political Analysis will no longer be reporting $p$ -values in regression tables or elsewhere. There are many principled reasons for this change—most notably that in isolation a $p$ -value simply does not give adequate evidence in support of a given model or the associated hypotheses. There is an extremely large, and at times self-reflective, literature in support of that statement dating back to 1962. I could fill all of the pages of this issue with citations. Readers of Political Analysis have surely read the recent American Statistical Association report on the use and misuse of $p$ -values, and are aware of the resulting public discussion. The key problem from a journal’s perspective is that $p$ -values are often used as an acceptance threshold leading to publication bias. This in turn promotes the poisonous practice of model mining by researchers. Furthermore, there is evidence that a large number of social scientists misunderstand $p$ -values in general and consider them a key form of scientific reasoning. I hope other respected journals in the field follow our lead.
I would like to thank American University for providing space and support for Political Analysis. The administration has been extremely welcoming and I am confident that the journal will thrive in its new home. The support from Cambridge University Press, both in New York and in the UK, could not be better.
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