About Secrecy and Society

Secrecy and Society is an interdisciplinary, peer reviewed open access journal that welcomes works written by scholars across fields and disciplines on the subject of secrecy as the intentional/nonintentional concealment of information.

Secrecy and Society explores secrecy at the intersections of theory, definition, language, praxis, and culture. In order to take on richer explorations of secrecy, we are interested in various conditions of information related to secrecy such as censorship, propaganda, privacy, surveillance, informed consent, and conspiracy theory.

Secrecy and Society publishes work in the humanities, business, law, public policy, and the social sciences. We are also interested in scientific research oriented to secrecy in the natural world.

This journal provides a forum for scholars, decision makers, and the public to examine secrecy in all its manifestations.Above all, Secrecy and Society focuses on the enduring ‘‘charm of secrecy’’ (Simmel 1906, 465).

Mission and Scope

Secrecy and Society is an interdisciplinary journal that encourages scholarship on the problem of secrecy as either the intentional or nonintentional concealment of information. We acknowledge that ‘‘secrecy is a property of information’’ (Scheppele 1988, 12) as well as recognize the critical importance of the ‘‘professional secret, confessional secret, military secret/political secret, the secret police, the secret in novels, etc., all the semantics of the secret’’ (Derrida & Ferraris 2001, 75).

Secrecy and Society also peers into the ‘‘secrecy process,’’ described by Tefft (1980, 37) as the ‘‘tensions and/or conflicts between the secret holder (holders) and outsiders that necessitate concealment.’’ As secrecy conceals “potentially embarrassing disclosures, forbidden acts, illegality, inefficiency, evasion of responsibility, and corruption” (Simmel 1950), the secrecy process is of “potential value in examining practices and rituals of secret societies (Tefft 1992, 181), and those groups and organizations that rely on the secrecy worker.

The objectives of Secrecy and Society include:

  • Establishing a distinct field of knowledge characterized as Secrecy Studies. Secrecy Studies serves unifying point for investigating theory, narratives, categories, policies, practices, procedures as they relate to secrecy;
  • Offering a forum for researchers, including graduate students, to investigate secrecy as the intentional/nonintentional concealment of information and to develop theories, concepts, models, and methods as they relate to secrecy;
  • Building a scholarly community around theory and research across disciplines on the subject of secrecy.

The Secrecy Studies list serves as a discussion platform to exchange views and news on secrecy.

Types of Submissions Accepted

Secrecy and Society accepts a variety of submission types. We seek submissions that have not been previously published, forthcoming in a journal or as a chapter in a book (print or electronic), or currently under review at another peer reviewed journal either in electronic or print format. We ask that authors not submit their material to another journal until the completion of the editorial decision process.

Categories of submission accepted include:

  • Scholarly Articles: Research articles that feature theory and original research related to secrecy.
  • Concept Papers: These type of papers include discussion of new models, theory, and/or frameworks that concern aspects of secrecy as intentional/nonintentional concealment of information. Concept papers include discussion of implications and directions for further research.
  • Position Papers: Essays that provides original and novel points of view, explanations, and critical analysis of secrecy-related policies, procedures, and practices.
  • Case Studies: We accept case studies as a kind of “research that concentrates on one thing, looking at it in detail, not seeking to generalise from it. When you do a case study, you are interested in that thing in itself, as a whole” (Thomas 2011, 3).
  • Reviews: We accept reviews between 1500-4500 words in length, not including references, that describe, evaluate, summarize, and critique materials such as fiction, nonfiction, and scholarly publications, films, databases, software, and Web sites relevant to secrecy and society.
  • Non-traditional work: This submission category includes research that does not fit into established categories outlined above. Examples might include narratives, graphic presentations, and interviews.

Review Process

Articles submitted to Secrecy and Society may undergo two types of review: one is double blind where the reviewer does not know who the author is, and vice versa. Only editors will know who the author is before publication. Each manuscript, if initially accepted, will be reviewed by up to three reviewers. Each reviewer will complete a review form along with the review.

The second type of review is more direct and transparent. Referee reports are generated where reviewers waive their anonymity and volunteer to correspond directly with the author on their submission.

Secrecy and Society adheres to the Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE) Principles of Transparency.


We use the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY license. This license allows others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. Authors retain copyright without restrictions.

Open Access

Secrecy and Society is an open access journal committed to the principles of open access (OA). Articles that appear in Secrecy and Society are available long-term to the global research community through SJSU Scholarworks Digital Repository.

Article Processing Charges and Fees

Secrecy and Society charges no article processing charges (APCs) or publication fees for the article submission and review process.


We are currently submitting information on Secrecy and Society to several database publishers for inclusion in their databases (EBSCO, Proquest). We plan to include Secrecy and Society in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Manuscript Preparation Guidelines

Guidelines are here.


Derrida, Jacques & Ferraris, Maurizio. A Taste for the Secret. Translated by Giacomo Donis, edited by Giacomo Donis and David Webb. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001.

Gibbs, David N. 2012. "Researching Parapolitics: Replication, Qualitative Research, and Social Science Methodology." In The Dual State Parapolitics, Carl Schmitt and the National Security Complex, edited by Eric Wilson, 101-116. Abingdon, Oxon, GBR: Ashgate.

Scheppele, Kim Lane. Legal Secrets: Equality and Efficiency in the Common Law. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Simmel, Georg. The Sociology of Georg Simmel. Edited and trans. by Kurt H. Wolff. New York: Free Press, 1950.

Simmel, Georg. 1906. “The Secret and the Secret Society.” American Journal of Sociology 11(4): 441–498.

Tefft, Stanley K.The Dialectics of Secret Society Power in States. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1992.

Thomas, Gary. How to Do Your Case Study: A Guide for Students and Researchers. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2011.

Tefft, Stanley K. 1980. “Secrecy, Disclosure, and Social Theory.” In Secrecy, a Crosscultural Perspective, edited by Stanley K. Tefft, 35–74. New York: Human Sciences Press.


For inquiries, contact: Secrecy and Society