From the editor
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- James, H.S. Agric Hum Values (2016) 33: 751. doi:10.1007/s10460-016-9732-1
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I have been editing Agriculture and Human Values for 10 years. I get more than 400 submissions a year, and I publish between 40 and 50 articles each year. If you do the math, that means I reject far more papers than I accept (my acceptance rate is about 12 %).
I know it is not easy receiving a rejection letter. As an academic with a responsibility to publish, I get rejection letters, too. I know the feeling a rejection creates. Your heart rate increases and blood pressure rises. Your chest tightens. You want to lash out at the naive editor who made the bad call or the idiot reviewers who are clearly ignorant of what ground-breaking research looks like. If a reason is given for the rejection, then you see only the flaws in its logic; you miss points of genuine concern. If no reason is given, then you get even madder because the rejection now seems arbitrary and without merit.
Occasionally I get a “lashing out” email from authors of papers I rejected. The writers are clearly writing out of emotion. Many of these express unkind things about the editor, the editorial process and the reviewers providing reviews. Fortunately, there is a delete button that safely handles these emails.
But on even rarer occasions I get an email from an author of a rejected paper thanking me for the opportunity to consider their work and expressing appreciation to the reviewers for their helpful comments and insights. Wow. How amazing it is to find someone who is civil and gracious in rejection!
I received such a message recently after my sending the dreaded rejection letter. The writer said this: “Thank you for the thoughtful response regarding this manuscript submission. While I am disappointed at the final decision, I very much appreciate the care with which the reviewers considered the manuscript as well as your commentary regarding your decision.” The writer continued with a request that I let the reviewers know that the author was grateful for the comments and suggestions they provided.
It is encouraging to know that there are scholars of integrity out there, especially those who are able to see rejection for what it is–an opportunity to improve one’s research and to demonstrate that they are a person of character.
This issue of Agriculture and Human Values contains the following articles. Specht et al. identify factors relating to the acceptance by stakeholders of farms in and on urban buildings in Germany. Cederlöf revisits the agroecology versus industrial agriculture debate through a study of low-carbon urban farming in Cuba. Warner studies the ability and willingness of smallholder farmers to adapt to climate change and trade policy changes in Costa Rica. Wairimu et al. use a case study from northern Uganda to examine the interplay between humanitarian services and development policies. Jaffee and Howard analyze similarities and differences among four US fair trade certification programs. Schupp uses national, regional and census tract data to evaluate the location of farmers markets in the US. McIntyre et al. expand Poppendieck’s Sweet Charity critique of contemporary food banks through a careful review of the literature. Carson et al. conduct a study of vendors and patrons of farmers’ markets in order to determine how information exchanges affect consumer purchasing behavior. Robinson et al. examine the ability of mobile food markets to address food security needs in a case study from Syracuse, New York. Tobin et al. critically evaluate the ability of pro-poor value chains to enhance the food security of participants in their study of farmers in Peru. Gillespie et al. examine the reasons U.S. farmers choose to raise goats for meat production. Berry et al. assess the agrarian attitudes of Australians through an innovative quantifiable index. Mueller, et al. provide a critique of a previously published paper examining the empirical relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and organic farming. McGee, the author of the previously published paper on greenhouse gas emissions, writes a response to the critique. Additionally, this issue contains the presidential address by Howard delivered at the 2016 meetings of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society. There is also a special symposium on labor dynamics of agrarian change, organized by Lincoln Addison and Matthew Schnurr. Book reviews and list of books received complete this issue of the journal.