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36 J. Res. Crime & Delinquency 3 (1999)

handle is hein.journals/jrcd36 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                        DEPARTING EDITOR'S NOTE

                                 JAMES 0. FINCKENAUER



   When  I decided more than three years ago to become the editor of the
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency (JRCD), I did so for several
reasons. Among  them was the chance to be a player in shaping the research
and publication process while working to preserve the rigor, the integrity, and
the credibility of that process. Yet, another was a more personal and selfish
reason, namely, to learn as much as I could about that process and about the
current research agenda in this field. In those respects, these past three years
have been an enormously rewarding learning experience for me.
   As the editor of a prestigious journal such as JRCD-a journal that attracts
a large number of manuscripts on a wide range of crime and criminal justice
issues-one  is forced to stretch and extend one's intellectual reach. Weighing
an author's work and judging  it against the criticisms of knowledgeable
reviewers is sometimes a gut-wrenching, soul-searching struggle. Would this
work be a contribution to the literature? Are the reviewers' comments valid,
or are they biased? Can the author really respond to the criticisms put forth?
What  to do when equally well-qualified reviewers come to completely oppo-
site conclusions about a manuscript? It is the editor, along with the associate
editors, who must decide the fate of a manuscript that is, for example, called
by one reviewer outstanding or a seminal piece and simultaneously by
another reviewer poor and deserving of rejection. There is no clear way
to proceed in this instance. Although manuscripts undeniably should be cho-
sen for publication on merit, just what is meritorious or more meritorious is
not always obvious.
   As I have said in previous editorial comments, the quality ofjournals such
as JRCD   is dependent on the hard work of independent and anonymous
reviewers. I have tried during my tenure as editor to match reviewers care-
fully to the research subject of the manuscripts to be reviewed, to expand the
pool of reviewers beyond the usual suspects, not to go to the same reviewer
too often, and, most important, not to routinely substitute my judgment for
theirs. The latter point deserves a little more explanation.
   If an editor blindly follows the recommendations of reviewers, there is no
need for an editor or at least for a real editor. On the other hand, if an editor


JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN CRIME AND DELINQUENCY, Vol. 36 No. 1, February 1999 3-4
@ 1999 Sage Publications, Inc.
                                                                     3


from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

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