Announcing the New Editorial Team: Our Vision for the Journal of Deliberative Democracy

Announcing the New Editorial Team: Our Vision for the Journal of Deliberative Democracy

Posted by Hans Asenbaum, Sonia Bussu, Hannah Werner and Lucy Parry on 2023-06-19

In May 2023 a new team was appointed to edit the journal - Hans Asenbaum (University of Canberra, Australia) has a focus on theory; Sonia Bussu (INLOGOV, University of Birmingham, UK) has a particular interest in qualitative research; Hannah Werner (University of Zurich, Switzerland) will focus on quantitative research; and Lucy Parry (University of Canberra, Australia) will have responsibility for editing the Deliberative Democracy Digest Blog.  Here, they outline their vision for the future of the journal.  

We are thrilled to take over the editorship of the Journal for Deliberative Democracy (JDD). JDD is situated at the intersection between academia and practice. It bridges empirical research, political theory, and democracy in action. It fosters conversations between activists, practitioners, and researchers. We see ourselves as facilitators and enablers of these conversations.

The past editorial team has done a tremendous job in taking the journal to new heights, enhancing its academic standing, without losing sight of its origins, rooted in the practice of participatory and deliberative democracy. This stellar editorial team, to whom we are deeply grateful, left us a journal that today brings together the best of theory and practice, providing innovative theoretical thinking and illuminating empirical analyses of the challenges encountered in applying normative deliberative democratic ideals in the real world. In running the journal, we take these same ideals as our normative orientation, while recognising the challenge of applying them to academic realities grounded in competition and hierarchies. In our new roles as knowledge gatekeepers, we aim to apply the deliberative values of inclusion, transparency, and impact.

Inclusion is one of the defining values of deliberative democracy, whose core function is to flatten societal hierarchies. As JDD editors, we aim to facilitate inclusive and diverse dialogues that challenge established power structures. We aim to diversify both reviewers and authors, reaching beyond Western-based academia and supporting Early Career Researchers (ECRs). Two of us, Parry and Bussu et al., proposed ideas  that can help encourage greater transparency and inclusion in academic publishing in the Deliberative Democracy Digest. Suggestions such as a yearly ‘New Voices’ issue or supporting thematic issues that include a balanced mix of authors at different career stages and from different regions of the world can help us strengthen the journal’s ambitions to be inclusive. This attention to diversifying and decolonizing academia will underpin our editorial line.

Transparency enables deliberative knowledge sharing and accountability of those in power positions. Academic journals such as JDD can be powerful enablers of transparency. The fact that this journal is open access without any publication costs for authors is a crucial contribution to open knowledge sharing. We aim to push the journal even further to the forefront of ethical research and publication practices, including open science initiatives such as the option for pre-registered reports and the active invitation of replication studies and null-findings. We will welcome methodology papers, such as study protocols, explaining and discussing innovative ways of applying a methodology to the study and/ or practice of deliberative processes. We expect these changes to make the journal more attractive to a wide range of scholars who are committed to advancing transparency, replicability and research ethics. 

Impact is the core aim of deliberative democracy. Deliberation is not an end in itself but aims to change the world for the better. To further strengthen the journal's deliberative impact, we will open space for dialogues and exchanges between academia, practitioners, and policymakers. The Deliberative Democracy Digest plays a crucial role in amplifying JDD’s deliberative impact. We will invite submissions by practitioners and community groups, as well as academics, giving visibility to recent practices across the globe. We will encourage articles in dialogue form between academics, practitioners, and civil society groups. We are also keen to invite contributions from the Majority World, whose often innovative experiences of participation and deliberation have limited visibility. 

As participatory deliberative processes and practices become increasingly popular across different regions, democratic and non-democratic regimes, and at different tiers of government, we believe the JDD must play a crucial role in sharing knowledge about these developments, as a forum for critical evaluation and amplification of deliberative impacts.

We are excited to embark on this journey.