1. Could you tell us about your involvement with CUFA, NCSS, and TRSE?
I have been an NCSS member since my days as a preservice teacher at James Madison University! I became a member of CUFA in 2008 while I was working on my Ph.D. in social studies education, and since then, I have been a regular attendee of both the CUFA and NCSS annual conferences, and I have served in leadership positions in both organizations. In 2014, I was tapped to serve as an associate editor of TRSE, and in 2016, I was selected to be the editor. I was recently reappointed by the CUFA Executive Board to serve a second three-year term, so I will serve as editor until 2022.
2. We recently learned TRSE has been accepted for inclusion in the Social Science Citation Index, which means we will now receive an official impact factor. What is an impact factor, and why is this significant?
An impact factor is basically a number derived from a relatively simple formula that compares the number of citations a journal has over a three year period in relation to the number of articles that the journal has published in that time. The higher the number, the more "impact" the journal is having on the field. The catch is that the only way a journal can have an official impact factor is to be included within the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), which is run exclusively by a company called Clarivate Analytics. Inclusion in the SSCI is difficult, is determined solely by Clarivate Analytics, and is based on several factors, some of which are not always transparent.
So, why is inclusion in the SSCI significant? A few reasons: 1) Until now, social studies was the only core academic discipline (social studies, language arts, science, and math) without a research journal in the SSCI. Therefore, TRSE's inclusion in the SSCI makes a statement about the importance of social studies within educational research. 2) Having an impact factor will further the international visibility of TRSE, and we can probably expect a higher number of quality submissions from both here in the United States and throughout the rest of the world. 3) For social studies researchers working at universities, who constitute the majority of TRSE authors, having an impact factor is important because, increasingly, university promotion and tenure decisions are being based on faculty members' ability to publish in high-impact journals.
3. Please tell us about the type of content found in TRSE that helped SSCI to make its decision
TRSE is a top-tier research journal that publishes methodologically sound studies that push the field forward in new directions. We primarily publish manuscripts focusing on K-12 social studies education and social studies teacher education that explore disciplinary ways of thinking, address issues of equity within social studies education, and critically examine aspects of social studies curriculum and instruction.
4. Why do you think we have this designation now when it eluded us in past years?
First and foremost, our inclusion in the SSCI is a result of the high-quality research that we are able to publish. We are fortunate to have so many talented scholars within our field who regularly send their best work to TRSE. This work is increasingly getting noticed and cited by scholars within and outside of social studies education. Also, in recent years, we have made a concerted effort to publicize this great work in a variety of ways, such as on social media (if you haven't already, follow us on Twitter @TRSE_Editor and like our Facebook page!) and having TRSE authors record an episode of the Visions of Education podcast (they are also on Facebook and Twitter @VisionsofEd)
5. If someone wants to submit content to TRSE, how could they do that? What would you be looking for that content to include?
Anyone is welcome to submit manuscripts to TRSE; however, as already noted, the vast majority of our authors are university faculty members who have been trained in research and are well versed in theory. TRSE articles tend to be fairly dense, and simple write-ups of a cool classroom strategy probably would not fare well in our editorial review process. However, I would encourage K-12 teachers who are interested in research to partner with a university faculty member; we are always looking for research sites, and if you are doing something cool in your classroom, a university researcher could help you design a study and/or help you write it up in a way that would fit the expectations of TRSE readers.