(This was originally a post on the Perestroika mailing list. That list includes discussions of methodological pluralism and related issues for and by political scientists; the suggestions below are not unique to that list or political science.)
Well before the Perestroika list started, many people have expressed complaints about how the APSR and some other journals poorly represents the work of some; despite some changes, the complaints haven’t subsided a lot. Since the American Political Science Review (APSR) treats journal space as a scarce resource, it should not be a surprise to all of us political scientists that we still see lots of political discussions like these surrounding the allocation of those scarce resources. However, more recently, the world seems to have passed a threshold in publication where online is as good or better than print. If you don’t already find it more convenient to look for an article in jstor sitting at your desk than reaching ‘all the way’ behind you to grab the print version, you will soon. Plus its much easier to search electronic versions, and a vast amount of value-added information is being created with the digital but not print versions — comments, collaborative highlighting & note taking, social media posts right from the publications, etc., etc. Moreover, in many areas of scholarship, if you can’t find prior research through Google or Bing, it just doesn’t exist.
Whether this change is good or bad is a good question but not my point. Instead, I suggest we ask the APSR and APSA to recognize this change and respond to it, since when scarce resources become plentiful, many problems are automatically solved. And acting as if they are still scarce only perpetuates unnecessary division. So instead of pushing the APSR to publish more works like whatever we each do, why not push them to vastly increase the number of articles published? The marginal cost of publishing more articles is now nearly zero. My own view is that the threshold for publication should be something simple like whether the article represents a positive contribution to our knowledge or understanding of the world (or to something!); if yes, then publish. If its wrong, or misleading, or unclear, or dumb, or fraudulent, then reject. And if reviewers can “revise and resubmit” the author into doing a better job, then great. But we don’t need reviewers and editors deciding on assessments of “importance”, “area”, “quant vs qual balance”, or other irrelevant or essentially political matters.