Who's publishing what? Publication patterns from 1990-2010

Since the early 1990s, the public call for increased community engagement by institutions of higher education has been paralleled by faculty member demands for peer-reviewed journals that publish of high quality articles about community engaged scholarship and the scholarship of engagement. Several journals were established to meet that demand including Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning (1990), Metropolitan Universities (1990), Journal of Community Practice (1993), Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement (1996), Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship (2008); Gateways: International Journal of Community Engagement and Research (2008), and Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education (2009). This study explored the over-arching question: What are the publishing patterns in major community engaged scholarship journals?

More specifically, the study addressed these three research questions.

  1. What types of articles are published in the community engagement journals?
  2. Who is publishing in the community engagement journals?
    • Who are the first authors including position/rank and field of study?
    • With whom do they collaborate in their publishing?
    • What are the institutional characteristics of the first authors?
  3. How rigorous is the research published in the community engagement journals?

Researchers analyzed publishing patterns in seven community engaged scholarship journals from 1990-2010. Data about the authors and their institutions came from the articles, IPEDS, and Carnegie Classification database. A rigor score was determined by coding five elements (e.g., foundations, design, measurement, inference, and consequences) on a three point scale.

The study found that two thirds of the authors publishing in these journals were tenure track faculty and that most authors were from the fields of public administration, education, and the social sciences. Fully tenured faculty published the most. 58% of the articles were authored by one scholar. Of those that were authored by more than one person, the author teams crossed disciplines 59%, crossed institutions 53%, and included community partners as co-authors 32% of the time. First authors were most often from public, research institutions (very high and high designations) with enrollments over 10,000 and had received the Carnegie Engagement classification. Rigor varied across the journals.

Please contact Diane Doberneck at connordm@msu.edu with questions, comments, or requests related to this study.

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