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Sociology of Health and Illness: new developments

  1. Top of page
  2. Sociology of Health and Illness: new developments
  3. Enhanced journal homepage
  4. Submission and acceptance rates
  5. Monographs/special issues
  6. Increasing internationalism (and a cautionary note)
  7. Referees
  8. Virtual special issues (VSIs)
  9. Review articles
  10. What can I do?
  11. Feedback
  12. References

Since our last editorial in 2008 (Vol. 30 No. 5 pp. 655–6) there have been a number of developments in the journal which we would like to share with you. We hope that this will stimulate you to both use and support the journal, whether as reader, author or reviewer.

Enhanced journal homepage

  1. Top of page
  2. Sociology of Health and Illness: new developments
  3. Enhanced journal homepage
  4. Submission and acceptance rates
  5. Monographs/special issues
  6. Increasing internationalism (and a cautionary note)
  7. Referees
  8. Virtual special issues (VSIs)
  9. Review articles
  10. What can I do?
  11. Feedback
  12. References

A new and improved journal homepage has now been launched. It provides us with the opportunity to be more dynamic and interactive with the journal’s readership. In case you haven’t visited it in a while, the website can be found at:

You will see that, as well as the usual links to the current issue contents and the journal’s archive, policy and procedures, the home page contains some basic statistics and news about the journal. Additional link buttons lead to our ‘Online Early’ site (Wiley Interscience Early View), where papers not yet out in the print issue are posted, and to ‘Virtual Special Issues’, a new feature of the journal described more fully below.

But first, we provide some indicators of the overall progress of the journal in the past few years. We now headline the following statistics on the journal web site:

  • • 
    Two year Impact Factor: 1.845
  • • 
    Five Year impact factor: 2.899
  • • 
    Ranked 6thout of 99 world sociology journals
  • • 
    Average Submission to Final Decision: 54 days

Two years ago these would have read:

  • • 
    Two year Impact Factor: 1.699
  • • 
    Ranked 8 out of 93 world sociology journals
  • • 
    Average Submission to Final Decision: 65 days

Perhaps because we have been able to maintain our standing on indicators like this, the rates at which articles are submitted to the journal are very healthy, and reflect an increasingly international authorship.

Submission and acceptance rates

  1. Top of page
  2. Sociology of Health and Illness: new developments
  3. Enhanced journal homepage
  4. Submission and acceptance rates
  5. Monographs/special issues
  6. Increasing internationalism (and a cautionary note)
  7. Referees
  8. Virtual special issues (VSIs)
  9. Review articles
  10. What can I do?
  11. Feedback
  12. References

Submissions are rising, although this is in part due to the fact that papers appearing in our annual monograph were included in the statistics for the first time from 2007. This will also have inflated the number accepted and the percentage accepted a little, the latter because outline proposals from authors applying to write monograph papers are screened by guest editors before actually submitting a full paper, so are more likely to be accepted than other submissions.

The proportion of papers not sent for review varies over the years, between a quarter and just under a third of submissions. The reason for this is usually because they are judged to be outside the journal’s remit, or that their quality is such that they do not justify asking for referees’ time.

Monographs/special issues

  1. Top of page
  2. Sociology of Health and Illness: new developments
  3. Enhanced journal homepage
  4. Submission and acceptance rates
  5. Monographs/special issues
  6. Increasing internationalism (and a cautionary note)
  7. Referees
  8. Virtual special issues (VSIs)
  9. Review articles
  10. What can I do?
  11. Feedback
  12. References

Each year, one issue of the journal is guest edited and devoted to a particular theme. Recent monographs, which are also published as stand-alone books, include:

  • • 
    Pharmaceuticals and Society: Critical Discourses and Debates by Simon J. Williams, Jonathan Gabe, Peter Davis (Editors) January 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
  • • 
    Ethnicity, Health and Health Care: Understanding Diversity, Tackling Disadvantage by Waqar Ahmad, Hannah Bradby (Editors) April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
  • • 
    The View from Here: Bioethics and the Social Sciences by Raymond De Vries, Leigh Turner, Kristina Orfali, Charles Bosk (Editors) March 2007, Wiley-Blackwell

Two more monographs are due to be published in the near future:

  • • 
    Communication in Healthcare Settings: Policy, Participation and New Technologies. Edited by Alison Pilnick, Jon Hindmarsh, Virginia Teas Gill [already published in the journal as Vol 31 Issue 6]
  • • 
    Technogenarians: studying health and illness through an ageing, science, and technology lens. Edited by Kelly Joyce and Meika Loe

A further monograph proposal has been accepted and is receiving submissions:

  • • 
    Bodywork in health and social care: critical themes, future agendas. Edited by Julia Twigg, Carol Wolkowitz, Rachel Cohen and Sarah Nettleton

And another one is planned.

If you are interested in guest editing an SHI monograph in the future, contact the monograph series editor Hannah Bradby (h.bradby@warwick.ac.uk).

Increasing internationalism (and a cautionary note)

  1. Top of page
  2. Sociology of Health and Illness: new developments
  3. Enhanced journal homepage
  4. Submission and acceptance rates
  5. Monographs/special issues
  6. Increasing internationalism (and a cautionary note)
  7. Referees
  8. Virtual special issues (VSIs)
  9. Review articles
  10. What can I do?
  11. Feedback
  12. References

The proportion of articles submitted and published, written by non-UK authors has shown a marked rising trend in recent years. We already know that the internationalism of Sociology of Health and Illness published authors is higher than any other leading UK- or USA-based sociology journal (Seale 2008). Now it seems this is increasing.

From July 2008 to July 2009, 77 articles were submitted by UK authors to the journal, of which 24 (31%) were accepted. This is roughly comparable with the situation four years previously (2004–5) when 74 were submitted by UK authors, of which 20 (27%) were accepted. At the same time submissions increased from other countries:

USA authorsfrom 25 to 47 (5 and 19 being accepted)
Canadian authorsfrom 16 to 24 (3 and 11 being accepted)
Australian/NZ authorsfrom 12 to 26 (4 and 9 being accepted)
Rest of world authorsfrom 43 to 65 (3 and 11 being accepted)

For the first time the number of acceptances of papers from North America now exceeds that of UK authors. We think this is a tribute to the efforts by editors and our publishers over the years to promote the journal in North America.

But a cautionary note is in order, and perhaps also a call to action. While our statistics show small numbers of papers being published in most years from authors in certain Scandinavian and European countries and from Israel, publications from other parts of the world are rare. In this respect, Sociology of Health and Illness lags behind journals that publish other types of social research relevant to health, such as public health, health policy, anthropology, or social epidemiology journals. We would like to receive more good submissions from authors in such regions of the world as Africa, South America and South East Asia, as well as Eastern European countries.

Of course, some articles that we have published concern health and illness in these regions (see for example, Béhague et al. 2008) and the journal was pleased to publish an article by two Taiwanese authors, Lew-Ting and Chen 2008). But we would like more good submissions that may further widen our international appeal and representativeness.

A word of warning though: any authors who submit to the journal would do well to study its existing content, and work on their own submission so that it conforms to the kind of article that we specialise in. For example, it is wise to use the words ‘sociology’ or ‘sociological’ somewhere! We receive too many submissions that appear to be written for other kinds of journals, and we are then unable to send these for review.

Referees

  1. Top of page
  2. Sociology of Health and Illness: new developments
  3. Enhanced journal homepage
  4. Submission and acceptance rates
  5. Monographs/special issues
  6. Increasing internationalism (and a cautionary note)
  7. Referees
  8. Virtual special issues (VSIs)
  9. Review articles
  10. What can I do?
  11. Feedback
  12. References

We continue to rely heavily on the hard work and excellent support to ourselves and to authors from our referees. We are always impressed and grateful for the level of commitment shown by so many of our referees, whose reports are consistently rated by us and by authors as being of high quality. One example of a type of author response to an ‘accept’ decision which we often see is as follows:

Thanks for the great news!…the anonymous Referees have helped make my paper much stronger at every stage of the reviewing process and I’m delighted that it will appear in a forthcoming issue of SHI.

But on occasion, too, we have received similar messages from authors of papers which we have rejected, thanking us and our referees for the feedback which the refereeing process has provided. When you referee a paper for us, then, you are doing more than just helping us make a decision: you are making a valuable contribution to the academic standards in our field.

Virtual special issues (VSIs)

  1. Top of page
  2. Sociology of Health and Illness: new developments
  3. Enhanced journal homepage
  4. Submission and acceptance rates
  5. Monographs/special issues
  6. Increasing internationalism (and a cautionary note)
  7. Referees
  8. Virtual special issues (VSIs)
  9. Review articles
  10. What can I do?
  11. Feedback
  12. References

Virtual special issues (VSIs) are assembled by members of the editorial team, editorial board and others to provide a guide to readers to the content that has appeared over the years in the journal on a selected theme. They are helpful in identifying articles in the archive whose significance may need highlighting, or if you are planning to teach or do research in a new subject and need a quick guide to key articles. Below are listed the VSIs now posted on our web site.

  • Virtual special issue 1 Death, dying and bereavement Editorial by Clive Seale

  • Virtual special issue 2 Feminism and the sociology of gender, health and illness Editorial by Hannah Bradby

  • Virtual special issue 3 Illness, biography and narrative Editorial by Julia Lawton

  • Virtual special issue 4 Genetics, Genomics and ‘Post-Genomics’ Editorial by Richard Tutton and Nina Hallowell

  • Virtual special issue 5 Sociological perspectives on the internet, health and illness Editorial by Clive Seale

A sixth VSI, on the sociology of pain from Jane Richardson, will be posted soon, and further VSIs are being prepared. We note from web searches that guest editors of VSIs are starting to list these amongst their publications, and the following announcement is proudly posted on an institutional web site:

Three of the 18 papers selected for a new virtual special issue of Sociology of Health and Illness were written by [XX] and [YY] of the [Institution name].

The aim of this special issue is to highlight key papers published in the journal over the last 25 years on [topic of the relevant VSI]

These are signs that the VSI is regarded as a valuable form of publication, both by editors and by authors whose work is included.

We welcome offers to guest edit new VSIs, for which our support is available. If you have an idea for one, please contact Clive Seale (c.seale@qmul.ac.uk).

Review articles

  1. Top of page
  2. Sociology of Health and Illness: new developments
  3. Enhanced journal homepage
  4. Submission and acceptance rates
  5. Monographs/special issues
  6. Increasing internationalism (and a cautionary note)
  7. Referees
  8. Virtual special issues (VSIs)
  9. Review articles
  10. What can I do?
  11. Feedback
  12. References

This initiative has resulted in six accepted articles so far (Jutel 2009, Scambler 2009, Raz 2009, Exley 2009 (in this issue), Greil [expected to be Jan 2010], Walsh [expected to be March 2010] and more are planned. Now that a collection of these has been established, we plan to have a clickable link to a list of these on the journal web site, and will highlight their contribution in future publicity communications. Like VSIs, review articles can be particularly useful when planning research in an area, or when preparing teaching on the topic concerned. Contact Steve Wainwright (steven.wainwright@kcl.ac.uk) if you want to write a review article for the journal.

What can I do?

  1. Top of page
  2. Sociology of Health and Illness: new developments
  3. Enhanced journal homepage
  4. Submission and acceptance rates
  5. Monographs/special issues
  6. Increasing internationalism (and a cautionary note)
  7. Referees
  8. Virtual special issues (VSIs)
  9. Review articles
  10. What can I do?
  11. Feedback
  12. References

SHI is one of the best journals in its field and there are several ways in which you can support it. For example:

  • • 
    Sign up for e-alerts to keep up with the most recent articles, and encourage your colleagues to do this too.
  • • 
    Where your colleagues share your research and teaching interests, tell them about good articles you see in the journal.
  • • 
    We would like to publish more sociologically-relevant pieces using quantitative methods, and authors from countries that are currently under-represented in the journal. If your work fits this bill, please consider submitting to the journal.
  • • 
    If you have published in the journal, include links to the articles that you have written on your CV/homepage - we will be able to tell you how many people downloaded your article, and what institution they were from.
  • • 
    Check that your institution has a subscription to the journal and, if not, encourage your library to subscribe.
  • • 
    Let us know if you have any proposals for monographs, virtual special issues, or review articles.

Feedback

  1. Top of page
  2. Sociology of Health and Illness: new developments
  3. Enhanced journal homepage
  4. Submission and acceptance rates
  5. Monographs/special issues
  6. Increasing internationalism (and a cautionary note)
  7. Referees
  8. Virtual special issues (VSIs)
  9. Review articles
  10. What can I do?
  11. Feedback
  12. References

Your feedback is very important to us, if you have ideas for how to develop the journal further or for material to be included in the journal, newsletter or website, we’d love to hear your views. Please contact Liz Ackroyd (shi@qmul.ac.uk) with your comments. Or check the journal’s home page to see if you can add a comment through our correspondence site (about to be ‘launched’ at the time of writing). Thank you!

Clive Seale, Jonathan Gabe, Steven Wainwright, Clare Williams.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Sociology of Health and Illness: new developments
  3. Enhanced journal homepage
  4. Submission and acceptance rates
  5. Monographs/special issues
  6. Increasing internationalism (and a cautionary note)
  7. Referees
  8. Virtual special issues (VSIs)
  9. Review articles
  10. What can I do?
  11. Feedback
  12. References