Journal History

In 1981, the Center for Russian and East European Studies of the University of Pittsburgh decided to upgrade its existing working papers series to a fully refereed, scholarly papers series. The aim was to provide a venue for scholarly manuscripts that were longer than a typical article but shorter than a book. The hope was that this venue would attract contributions from people working across the whole range of disciplines covering Russia, the Soviet Union and Central and East Europe. Twenty-five years later, our aims have been more than realized with contributions by both established and aspiring  scholars from across the humanities and social sciences. The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies is a unique stand-alone, anonymously refereed papers series that has served the field with more than xxxx Papers published and xxxxx distributed worldwide.

After thirty years of “paper” Carl Beck Papers, we now face the same challenges and opportunities as other established academic journals and serial publications. The costs of maintaining a paper-only format continue to rise while new digital journals offer numerous advantages in terms of distribution and content. Recognizing the many benefits of digital publishing and open access distribution, the editors of the Carl Beck Papers have decided to open a new chapter in the series history by moving to a fully electronic, partially open access format.

This is fitting, of course, because the person for whom the Papers are named, Carl Beck, was a pioneer in the electronic reproduction and distribution of knowledge.  The founding Director of the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, Carl Beck created a team that produced a then-unique resource for scholars called the United States Political Science Documents—well before the term “data base” became common.  As a scholar himself of politics in East Europe, he believed in pushing the methodological and technological envelope to study seemingly opaque phenomena.  He did the first quantitative studies of leadership rotation in East Europe —at time when culling even the most basic information from that region was a challenge. His conclusions confronted with data the conventional wisdoms about the nature of communist politics and policies with data and to this day, his work can be read with profit (and not a little marvel)

But more than anything, Carl Beck was an energetic, supportive person whose greatest pleasure was helping young colleagues do their work and bring their results to light.  Each of the three Founding Editors The Carl Beck Papers was ere personal beneficiaries of this attitude.  He left us much too soon,  and those of us who benefited from his creative drive, his infectious energy, and his generous spirit felt at the time that we could best honor his him and his memory by naming the papers series after him.  We did that in 1981; yet people are still asking, “Who was Carl Beck?”  We are happy to tell them. We can think of no better scholarly legacy.

As of December 31, 2015, The Carl Beck Papers will no longer accept submissions for publication. We thank everyone who has supported the journal over its 34 year history.