Using, misusing, and abusing education research journals

In recent decades, the broad field of education research has shown robust growth in the number of journals and articles published, coupled with the use of metrics associated with journals to assess the “impact” of scholars. And yet, despite the growth and crucial functions of journals in the field, it is rare to find satisfied editors, authors, reviewers, and readers. Most journals are under great stress to effectively work with authors and reviewers and struggle with multiple demands, such as finding reliable metrics of impact, increasing the diversity of authors, editorial boards, and readership, maintaining viable funding, and adapting to the evolving uses of AI and the growing cases of scientific misconduct. Recognizing the intricate interplay between conceptual orientations, accountability systems, funding models, and reputation in academic publishing, I will focus on reward and assessment structures in the political economy of education journals. In this scenario, the reward structures used in the field often and perversely discourage journals from considering interdisciplinary collaborations or acknowledging different epistemological standpoints and wastefully ignoring scholarship from multiple regions. I advocate for a transformative shift towards frameworks that de-emphasize using journals as proxies for assessing scholars. Instead, I encourage collaborative interdisciplinary approaches, multilingual teamwork, open data sharing, non-commercialized funding, and stakeholder engagement. By fostering these strategies, the whole field of education research could improve scholarly rigor, trustworthiness, usability, and relevance.