Editors’ Note

Starting 1 July  2017, the journal’s office will be at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Government Department at Georgetown University. This marks a transition in the editorial team. Over the past five years Jon Pevehouse at the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin has worked tirelessly with Michael Barnett, Lars-Erik Cederman, and Andrew Kydd to publish the best research in the field of international relations while maintaining an impressively short turnaround time. Managing editor Elana Matthews also played a major part in keeping the journal running smoothly. We all owe this editorial team enormous gratitude for their hard work and excellence.

The Wisconsin team handled the content of this issue and the better part of the next three issues. Starting 1 July all new submissions and those already under review will come under the purview of the new editorial team. I am grateful to have three outstanding associate editors: Professors Martha Finnemore of George Washington University, and Kenneth Scheve and Kenneth Schultz (both at Stanford). They are exceptional scholars who have published numerous influential articles in IO and have served the journal for many years as part of its editorial board. Thankfully, Elana Matthews has agreed to stay on as managing editor. The editorial team is committed to continue the previous team’s dedication to expeditious, fair, and high-quality review of manuscripts.

 What IO Is About

Over the past seventy years, IO has developed from a specialized journal focused on the activities of specific international organizations into the premier academic journal in international relations. Its substantive reach is broad. IO was once seen primarily as an international political economy journal but it now publishes regularly on international and transnational security issues. We welcome all high-quality manuscripts that analyze transnational and international politics, including those that do not neatly fit into either a security or economics box//–//issues like the environment, human rights, cyberspace, and health. We are also interested in diverse theoretical approaches. Our aim is to publish the best and most innovative theoretical scholarship: the kind of work that will eventually find its place on the syllabi of graduate courses in international relations theory.

The journal is devoted to the principle that rigor and relevance need not contradict each other. International relations scholars have always adjusted their research interests to what is happening in the world. We fully expect this to continue. IO’s pages will surely reflect debates about the future of the liberal international order, democracy, the financial crisis, climate change, rising powers, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, cybersecurity, and other relevant issues.

IO will make such contributions conscious of its status as an academic journal rather than a blog or a foreign policy journal. Long peer-reviewed articles are not suitable venues for commenting on the issues of the day or for offering actionable short-term policy recommendations. The relevance of academic articles shines through in different ways. They may provide historical context, offer conceptual foundations, analyze systemic causes, reveal evidence for mechanisms, and/or critically examine the very assumptions underlying policies or analyses. We cannot and should not write about international relations in isolation from what happens around us, but IO articles should have a shelf life beyond any particular event, election, or crisis.

Rigor does not mean that every article should have a formal model, a clever causal identification strategy, and a huge data set. It does mean that theoretical arguments are made in a precise way, that concepts are clearly defined, that the logic of the argument is laid out well, that there is a transparent research design, that sources are cited accurately, and that evidentiary statements reflect the article’s analyses. What rigor looks like will differ across research communities. But IO will continue to hold manuscripts to the highest possible standards, given the question and approach.

Submissions and the Review Process

IO publishes high-impact theoretical and empirical research describing and explaining international politics. Articles take three main forms: Longer research articles (14,000 words, maximum) present new theoretical arguments and/or empirical evidence that constitute a substantial advance of knowledge. Research notes (maximum 8,000 words) must be of similar importance and potential impact but likely with a somewhat narrower objective. Research notes are not necessarily quantitative empirical research and may include theoretical or other types of research. Review essays survey new developments in a particular area of study, synthesize important ideas, and raise key issues for future scholarship. Review essays might be based on books but could also draw on scholarship that has been published in articles. Authors can submit proposals for or full manuscripts of review articles. Our website has more details about the submission guidelines. See Editorial Manager at <http://io.edmgr.com>.

IO also welcomes proposals for special issues and symposia. These are reviewed by the editorial board’s special issue committee.

The standard review process is double blind. Either the editor or one of the associate editors selects the reviewers. As before, (associate) editors are excluded from the review process if there is a conflict of interest, for instance, because an author is a (former) student, co-author, or close friend. The editor will communicate the final decision and the reviews to both the authors and the reviewers.

The editorial board plays a key role in the review process. Editorial board members are elected to three-year terms that are renewable once. They rotate off the board after a second term. Board members carry a heavy review burden. Most manuscripts are reviewed by at least one board member.

Like our predecessors and most other selective journals, we will not send all manuscripts out for external review. This is largely a consequence of the sharp rise in submissions over the past decade. If the editorial team believes that a manuscript does not have a moderate chance at acceptance we will return the manuscript to the author in an expeditious manner. While this outcome may disappoint some authors, the process minimizes the burden on the reviewer pool and allows authors to submit their manuscripts elsewhere without a lengthy delay.

After acceptance, authors must submit their data sets and replication code for all original quantitative analyses discussed in the manuscript. We will replicate all findings in-house and archive the replication materials. We will also check all proofs for formal models in-house. We recognize that the discipline is grappling with the issue of how to best ensure transparency and replicability of qualitative research. We strongly encourage our authors to follow best practices for the documentation and replication of qualitative research but we do not require any specific implementation. We will support authors who wish to make their qualitative data available through the Qualitative Data Repository or other ways.

We look forward to receiving your very best research as submissions to International Organization.

Erik Voeten, on behalf of the IO Editorial Team.