Over the last several weeks, my Rutgers University e-mail in-box has been bombarded by calls plugging a new journal, “The Journal of Education Research and Policy,” encouraging me or my doctoral students to submit manuscripts to be considered for publication.
Now, generally new journals are the LAST place talented doctoral students and new graduates should be submitting their research. BUT, this is one journal that will actually HARM the careers of would-be professors of educational administration and policy.* From the call:
Research and content included in the journal focus on different educational
levels and educational environments, from social to educational
institutions. Additional content presented will include book reviews,
profiles of people of interest, and similar information useful to scholars
and practitioners interested in networking to use knowledge to best create
change. Journal content is presented in a format that provides for scholarly
and professional dialogue designed to encourage maximal utilization and
evolution of the knowledge shared by contributors and readers.
Authors are invited to submit articles documenting research and
research-based practices that include in-depth documentation of analysis,
design and development, implementation and evaluation; design-based
research; as well as applied research. Articles must be grounded in theory
and research and must include not only the reporting of research, but also
lessons learned and how to apply that knowledge to advance research or
Now, if this were a traditional research journal it would not mention “research based practices” or “profiles of people of interest” (like People Magazine??)in the call. Furthermore, the vast majority of research journals tend to be housed either with organizations (see the American Education Research Association) or with major academic publishers, or both. Furthermore, the editor(s) and editorial boards draw on faculty at major research
university universities. So, where is this new journal housed, pray tell???
wait, wait, wait…..
At Walden University, which is a for-profit, Ed.D. diploma mill, specializing in cranking out public school administrators (!). If you think I’m kidding about the diploma mill charge, just try to find data on their graduation rates. Furthermore, it seems to have no published admissions/selectivity data. Finally, as of today, the journal has yet to have a dedicated web-page, a major no-no for any would-be scholarly journal.
So, what is the purpose of this new journal? Probably to publish work from trivial dissertations that would be rejected by every other reputable research journal. But “The Journal of Education Research and Policy” will provide a sort of legitimation for a few holders of these fast-track Ed.D. programs.
Perhaps what I find most offensive is the journal claims to be promoting social change. From the call:
The Journal of Education Research & Policy (JERP) is a quarterly refereed
online journal for reflective scholar-practitioners and
practitioner-scholars working to make significant contributions to create
social change in the field and practice of education and learning.
In my world, “these are fighting words.” Historically, many of the MOST important US leaders of social change have held traditional Ph.Ds., Ed.D., and J.Ds from top-tier institutions (Think W.E.B. Du Bois, Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall, John D’Emilio, Estelle Freedman, etc. etc.). If you care about social justice, the LAST place you can expect to develop the intellectual acumen and judgment to work for social justice would in be an on-line, fast-track doctoral program. But like most any intellectual trends, “social change” has now become mere ad copy to legitimate anti-intellectual hackery.
I’ve spilled a lot of “e-ink” over the last several weeks on the dangers of trivialized doctoral education. But the rise of fast-track Ed.D.s, particularly in educational administration–because of its history of crass anti-intellectualism–may present an existential threat to the field as an area of rigorous scholarly inquiry. The advent of a “pseudo research journal” is just one more piece of evidence of the growing peril.
*At some research institutions, like Rutgers, sometimes its better to have not published than to have published something in a 2nd tier journal, much less a terrible journal. Consequently, such a publication can be a career-stopper, before it has even begun. This observation is based on 15 years of faculty experience, as well as a few short years of experience as a grievance counselor for Rutgers AAUP-AFT.