August 2004 // Volume 42 // Number 4

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Editor's Page

"August 2004 JOE" focuses on the Tools of the Trade articles in an excellent issue. "Why I Reject Articles" explains that it isn't enough that article submissions have implications for Extension. They must discuss or allude to them.

As is usual in JOE, there are many worthwhile articles in this month's issue. Topics range from outreach to Latino audiences, to profiling economic capacity, to factors contributing to the success of small farmers, to working with the beef cattle industry. There's something for just about all of us.

But it's the Tools of the Trade articles I want to highlight here. It's a rich and interesting bunch.

The first article, "Good Intentions, Muddled Methods: Focus on Focus Groups," explains what focus groups are good for--and what they aren't--and gives the URLs for the first two of a series of briefs to clarify some focus group issues. The second, "Tips for Designing Publications for Underrepresented Audiences," offers just what its title suggests.

The other four are the kinds of articles that couldn't have been written 10 years ago, when JOE became an electronic journal. There's an article on an interactive distance education course that relies heavily on the Internet, on how to use the Internet to find "lost" individuals, on a Web site about farm transfer that includes video and interactive quizzes, and about PDAs in Extension programming. PDAs? Who'd have thought it?

Why I Reject Articles

In my April 2001 "Editor's Page," I explained that, as JOE editor, I review all submissions to determine whether or not they are suitable for publication (in the case of Commentary and Tools of the Trade) or suitable for blind peer review (Feature, Research in Brief, and Ideas at Work). I send many articles back to their authors for revision before accepting them for publication or review. I returned 42% (107) for revision in 2003.

I also reject articles. In 2003, I rejected 12% (31) of the articles submitted to JOE.

If an article is exclusively about Extension or outreach in other countries, I reject it as unsuitable for JOE and suggest that authors consider submitting their articles to the Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education instead.

If an article makes no reference to Extension or outreach or non-formal education, I also reject it. Why?

As the JOE Submission Guidelines explain, the primary audience for the Journal of Extension is U.S. Extension professionals. Articles must not only have implications for U.S. Extension, they must discuss or at least allude to them, depending on article category.

In 2003, JOE received an all-time high of 256 submissions. This year, we are on track to exceed that number. JOE simply receives too many submissions and JOE reviewers are too taxed to permit me to accept articles for publication or review because they may have implications for U.S. Extension that JOE readers can infer. I have both the luxury and the responsibility to be selective.

Laura Hoelscher, Editor