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SLGR’s Young Scholars Research Program

As word continues to spread about State and Local Government Review’s Young Scholars Research Program, we constantly are receiving encouragement and positive feedback as well as praise for recognizing the need for this program and launching it two years ago.  To date, we have received a steady stream of inquiries about how the program works and whether one’s research would be of interest to State and Local.  Even if a manuscript is not something that we think would be of interest to State and Local’s audience, Editor Mike Scicchitano provides feedback to authors about such critical matters as presenting a clear research question early on in the manuscript, providing a sound and complete literature review from which to generate hypotheses, carefully selecting appropriate data to test hypotheses, crafting valid and reliable measures of independent and dependent variables, choosing appropriate an methodology and statistics, providing a clear presentation of one’s findings, delineating the implications of one’s findings for existing theories or practitioner consumption, and offering ideas for future research.  

Since the inception of the Program, we have refined the review process to facilitate the flow of and feedback for manuscripts.  Initially, Mike Scicchitano would review manuscripts or abstracts submitted to him on an informal basis and then determine if they were potentially suitable for SLGR based on the subject matter and the quality of the research.  If a manuscript was deemed appropriate for the journal, he would provide some feedback as to how it could be improved before the author(s) submitted her/his/their manuscript for an official review.  Presently, manuscripts that are judged to be potentially suitable for State and Local by the Editor are examined in an initial review process. The manuscripts are sent to 2-3 recognized scholars in the subject area for an initial blind review to determine if the paper has enough merit to warrant encouraging the author(s) to continue developing the manuscript.  The referees are informed that the manuscript is being considered for an initial review under the Young Scholars program. To help us tractk manuscripts submitted under the Program, Sage has created a new category in the submission process called “Young Scholars.” Comments and suggestions of the reviewers from this initial screening are forwarded to the author(s) to use in improving their research.  Authors of those manuscripts that receive positive initial reviews are invited to submit the paper for a formal review.  Once submitted, the manuscript goes through the same review process that all manuscripts are subject to. 
Those “young scholars” inquiring about the Program seem to be genuinely excited that such a Program has been created and many are anxious to take advantage of it.  Equally excited and supportive are established, well-published scholars that we have asked to review the manuscripts in the initial screening stage; no one has turned us down to review a manuscript.  Moreover, the Program has been lauded by senior public administration and political science faculty who see it as something that was long overdue and fills a tremendous void in the faculty development process. The Young Scholars program has generated substantial good will and visibility for State and Local
A clear testament to the recognition of the value and importance of the Young Scholars Research Program is the following Letter to the Editor that was recently published in PA Times and written by Kathleen Marchetti.  Professor Marchetti has an article in the September 2015 issue of SLGR that was submitted to us under the Program.  Her letter reads as follows:
Subject:  Why young scholars should consider State and Local Government Review?

I recently published an article with State and Local Government Review (SLGR),the journal produced by ASPA’s Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management.  I had been familiar with SLGR as a source for research on state and local politics and during the review process I was pleased to learn more about the journal’s Young Scholars Research Program.  As described in an October 2014 PA Times post, SLGR’s Young Scholars Research Program “… is designed to assist young scholars with publishing in academia…” through “…consultation and guidance in support of their efforts to get published in State and Local Government Review(SLGR)—or in other journals.”  This valuable and unique program provides junior faculty and graduate students the opportunity to work directly with SLGR’s editorial staff to refine their work for publication. It is important to note that this program is not a guarantee of acceptance; articles go through the full peer review process and typically require revisions prior to publication.  What makes this program different is the editor’s (Mike Scicchitano) willingness to work closely with authors on revising and improving their manuscript.  Many of us are used to brief, sporadic communication with journal editors (after all, they are typically very busy individuals) so the opportunity to work with an editor one-on-one is very rare indeed.  The Young Scholars Research Program is a great resource for graduate students and junior faculty and one that I’ll certainly recommend to colleagues who are doing relevant work.  

– Kathleen Marchetti, Dickinson College
Kathleen Marchetti
Assistant Professor
Dickinson College
Department of Political Science
PO Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013-2896

Please assist us in advertising the Program to young scholars in your department, school, or program or other young scholars (e.g., your former graduate students who have now entered the real world of academic) that you know who would be interested in it and could possibly benefit from the invaluable experience it offers.