American Sociological Association

ASA Footnotes

A publication of the American Sociological AssociationASA News & Events
January/February 2020

Socius Welcomes a New Editorial Team: Light, Gullickson, and Pascoe

Vincent J. Roscigno, The Ohio State University

Socius editors from left to right: C.J. Pascoe, Ryan Light, and Aaron Gullickson

Socius editors from left to right: C.J. Pascoe, Ryan Light,
and Aaron Gullickson

The editorship of Socius, the ASA’s only open-access ASA-wide sociology journal, transitioned in January from its excellent inaugural editors, Lisa Keister and James Moody at Duke University, to the substantively and methodologically diverse and creative team of Ryan Light, Aaron Gullickson, and C.J. Pascoe at the University of Oregon. ASA’s membership, prospective authors, and readers of Socius should be delighted with the selection of this new, high energy Oregon editorial team.

Superb scholars in their respective fields of expertise, Light, Gullickson and Pascoe bring a deep appreciation for timely, fair, and thoughtful reviews, as well as an equitable and inclusive decision-making process—as demonstrated already by their use of a d20 dice roll when deciding the ordering of editorial name appearance. The seriousness and largely uncompensated work that they will bring to their new editorial duties—duties that benefit us all—will, I suspect, be coupled with collegiality and fun shaped by the trio’s collective embrace of Pacific Northwest mountain views, their joint appreciation of Oregon craft beers, and a shared love of Subarus. Collectively, these three are a totally cool, powerhouse team. Not to be lost is that they also each bring unique and important individual strengths to the editorial table. 

Editorial Strengths and Socius

Ryan Light received his PhD from The Ohio State University in 2009 and is currently an Associate Professor. Much of his published work centers on culture, science, and social networks, broadly, and, more specifically, issues of cultural change, power, and justice in conditions of extreme disadvantage, the network structure of scientific research, and text modeling (e.g., topic and network-text models). Light’s work is increasingly influenced by advances in computational social science, and he is co-editor of the forthcoming The Oxford Handbook of Social Networks. His research has appeared in Socius, Social Forces, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Social Science Research, among other outlets, and Light teaches courses on cultural sociology, sociology of science, theory, methods, and networks. 

Aaron Gullickson received his PhD in sociology and demography from the University of California-Berkeley in 2004. He is an Associate Professor whose work highlights social boundary formation, demographic processes, and inequality, with particular attention to racial categorization and identification. In this regard, his most active research projects focus on interracial union formation and the racial identification of individuals of mixed race in the contemporary and historical United States and in Latin America. Gullickson’s work has appeared in American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Demography, Social Science Research, and Sociological Science, among other outlets. He has also recently published his research on the correspondence between religious affiliation and beliefs. Gullickson teaches undergraduate courses on race and ethnicity and statistics and graduate-level courses on quantitative methods, with a particular focus on building open science practices among graduate students.

C.J. Pascoe is also an Associate Professor at the University of Oregon. She received her PhD from the University of California-Berkeley in 2006. Her current research focuses on young people, schooling and inequality, with a focus on gender and sexuality. Pascoe is perhaps most well-known for her extensive and in-depth work on the role of homophobia in schools, young people’s use of new media, and cultural shifts in gender. Her qualitative flair and expertise on such cutting-edge substantive issues will be of great value to this editorial team and Socius authors, and is reflected in her current book, American High School: Coming of Age in an Unequal Time—a book that addresses gendered, classed, sexual, and racial inequality at a progressive high school. With Tristan Bridges, Pascoe co-edited the anthology Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequality, Continuity and Change, and she currently teaches classes on sexuality, schooling and symbolic interaction. 

The New Team’s Editorial Vision

Socius has quickly proven that first-rate sociological research does not have to exist solely behind expensive paywalls but, instead, can flourish under alternative publication models. Light, Gullickson, and Pascoe’s approach as editors will build upon the excellent foundation established by Keister and Moody, and in at least four ways: 

  1. Fast and clear editorial decisions. Within the traditional publishing model, the typical sociological research article often takes a year or more to reach publication. Other disciplines have been more effective at contributing to public debates by having a variety of outlets that allow for rapid publication. Socius greatly improves sociology’s standing in this regard. The new editorial team plans to continue the policies implemented by the previous editors that have resulted in rapid publication. This includes desk rejecting papers that are very unlikely to be published, thus reducing the load on external reviewers, and by providing editorial up or down decisions after, at most, one round of revision. This process benefits the field and authors by either encouraging rapid publication of important results or allowing those who are rejected quickly to find more suitable outlets for their work. 
  2. Bolster the growth and visibility of the journal. Light, Gullickson, and Pascoe collectively bring to the table a remarkable level of diversity and breadth, with methodological expertise in standard quantitative methods, Bayesian methods, computational social scientific methods, qualitative field methods, as well as digital methods. Work from all sociological corners is welcome at Socius, and the new editorial team hopes and plans to grow the methodological and substantive diversity of the journal, particularly in the area of qualitative research, through outreach efforts and social networking. 
  3. Expand digital publication platform in creative ways. The online journal platform offers greater opportunity for presenting research findings, yet most journals and authors are still locked into a traditional model of text, tables, and figures for the presentation of results. Socius has led the way in encouraging authors to think about alternative means of communicating results, such as with the use of short data visualization articles. The new editorial team will continue these efforts and hopes to expand even further. Their vision includes encouraging creative reporting research findings including, for example, embedding videos, audio clips, interactive Shiny apps, and data animations directly into articles. The editors, of course, cannot do it all. Rather, they hope that authors will spin their wheels and think creatively and boldly about interesting ways to bring sociological results to life! 
  4. Encourage open science. The replication crisis in the social sciences has increased demands that researchers share data, code, and methods in order to increase the transparency and replicability of research findings. The editorial team is committed to broadening this practice within the discipline of sociology and will be strongly encouraging authors, when and where appropriate, to engage in open science practices when they submit and/or publish in the journal.

Looking Forward to More Socius Under the New Editorial Team

I could not be more delighted by the editorial selection of Light, Gullickson, and Pascoe to lead Socius and I know many in the field who concur. Their collective strengths, vision, and openness as editors, as well as their willingness to take on this incredibly important service work to the field, is a benefit to all and will ensure the ongoing visibility and success of the journal, which is now entering its sixth year. I have no doubt that this Oregon team will be conscientious stewards of the journal—stewards who will push the bounds of inclusion and creativity in ways that will underscore, and most likely amplify, the importance of the great sociological work that is looking for a home. We all should be grateful that Light, Gullickson, and Pascoe have taken on this important task. Moreover, we should look forward to reading and submitting to Socius under their editorship!