The political science blogosphere has erupted in protest after the International Studies Association unveiled a proposal to bar members affiliated with its scholarly journal from doing just that — blogging.
“No editor of any ISA journal or member of any editorial team of an ISA journal can create or actively manage a blog unless it is an official blog of the editor’s journal or the editorial team’s journal,” the proposal reads. “This policy requires that all editors and members of editorial teams to apply this aspect of the Code of Conduct to their ISA journal commitments. All editorial members, both the Editor in Chief(s) and the board of editors/editorial teams, should maintain a complete separation of their journal responsibilities and their blog associations.”
The Governing Council of the ISA, which consists of about 50 voting members, will debate the proposal the day before the association’s annual meeting in Toronto on March 25. Should the council adopt the proposal, it would impact five journals: International Studies Quarterly, International Studies Review, International Studies Perspectives, Foreign Policy Analysis and International Political Sociology, as well as International Interactions, which the association co-sponsors.
“I think it’s a really strange proposal in 2014,” said Stephen M. Saideman, a professor at Carleton University in Canada and one of many political science scholars who assailed the policy on social media. “I would have expected it in 2006.”
Well, it’s not the first time social scientists have been behind the curve. A big part of the reason think tanks emerged was that academia, with its internally-focused supply and demand standards, couldn’t adjust to external needs.
I don’t know that much specifically about international relations publications and blogs, but the emergence of political scientists into the blogosphere, via vehicles like The Monkey Cage (whose major contributor John Sides is quoted in the linked article deploring the backlash against blogging), has been immensely healthy for academics, journalists, and practitioners alike. I’m probably not the first to suspect that the backlash is in part motivated by jealousy, and the feeling that academic hierarchies are profaned every time some Assistant Professor from some non-Ivy college turns out to be influencing the debate in the Real World that academia is supposed to be studying. But unless the very important social science chairs at very important universities find a way to join ranks with angry journalistic hacks who are annoyed by competition from people who know what they are talking about, I don’t think this repressive movement is going anywhere.