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The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies: Happy Twentieth Anniversary

On 28 August 1999, I had sent out to various lists and forums, an announcement of the imminent publication of the very first issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. The journal was co-founded by Bill Bradford, Stephen Cox, and yours truly. I provided the lead essay, "The Rand Transcript," which appeared in the very first issue of the journal, dated "Fall 1999" (long before we adopted real-time month dates of publication). That first issue also included essays by Stephen Cox ("Outsides and Insides: Reimagining American Capitalism"), Roger E. Bissell ("Music and Perceptual Cognition"), the late Larry J. Sechrest ("Rand, Anarchy, and Taxes"), Robert L. Campbell ("Ayn Rand and the Cognitive Revolution in Psychology") and Gregory R. Johnson ("Liberty and Nature: The Missing Link").

On this date, twenty years ago, the first hard copies of the new journal began arriving in the mailboxes of contributors and brand new subscribers. The September 10, 1999 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education announced:

It probably won't come close to the continuing sales of The Fountainhead (several hundred thousand a year), but Chris Matthew Sciabarra hopes that The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies will be another coup in his campaign for the conquest of academe in the popular author's name. Mr. Sciabarra, a visiting scholar at New York University and the author of multiple works on Rand, has predicted an unstoppable wave of Randianism in academe (The Chronicle, April 9). With this month's publication of his new semi-annual journal, he hopes to push the crest higher still. He'd like to sweep the naysayers along with him. Mr. Sciabarra says the journal will be open not only to Objectivists---orthodox believers in Rand’s philosophy of selfishness and capitalism---but to those of every perspective and in every discipline. "We're actively seeking Marxists, leftists, socialists," he says. "I hope we'll have literary critics, feminists, whatever!" The first issue will include an essay by Mr. Sciabarra on Rand's college education; an essay by the co-editor, Stephen Cox, a professor of literature at the University of California at San Diego, on Rand's celebration of capitalism; and two essays challenging Rand's views.

From the Fall of 1999 through December 2012, we were an independently published periodical. Since our July 2013 issue, however, the journal has been published by Pennsylvania State University Press. It remains the only interdisciplinary, multi-perspectival, double-blind peer-reviewed, biannual academic journal, published by a university press, dealing with Ayn Rand and her times. We are now indexed by twenty prestigious abstracting services, including Project Muse and JSTOR, which make the journal and all of its back issues available electronically to institutional, public, private, business, not-for-profit, and educational libraries the world over. We have gone from a mere 2000 downloads only a few years ago to over 13,000 downloads this past year alone, while our subscriber base has increased substantially. And we will forever be preserved by the dark archives of Stanford's CLOCKSS for all future generations.

We are the only scholarly journal where one will find critical perspectives on Rand's philosophy and impact from folks left, right, and center, engaged in civilized discourse. And we've been doing it for two decades.

When our December 2019 issue comes out (the 38th issue in our history), we will have published 353 articles by 171 authors from all over the world. Back in 1999, I don't think I could have counted more than two or three dozen bona fide academic scholars qualified to write on Rand's work and legacy. Clearly, there has been an enormous increase in Rand scholarship---and we are happy that we have both reflected that growth and perpetuated it.

Our December 2019 issue will feature a special symposium on the 60+ year anniversary of the publication of Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged. But 2020 will officially mark our twentieth anniversary volume. We have decided to devote substantial space in the two issues that constitute Volume 20 to a review of the literature on Rand that has been published over the past two decades, but that was never discussed formally in our pages. It will give more than two dozen contributors an opportunity to provide a wide array of viewpoints on the growing literature in Rand studies. What better way to celebrate a twentieth anniversary devoted to that very subject!?

I want to thank not only my fellow editors and the journal's advisory board, but also Pennsylvania State University Press and all of the people associated with it, who have made our adventurous journey so enriching. Most importantly, I want to express my profound gratitude to the readers of this journal, who have made its existence possible and its future inexorable.

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The First Issue (Fall 1999) of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies


Happy birthday to us!