Readership increased over the next few years, allowing the publication to progress to a printed booklet, and eventually to become a refereed research journal. Founding editor Jonathan Spence shepherded Ch’ing-shih wen-t’i through its early years before turning the journal over to Ramon Myers in 1974. In 1979, James Cole, Susan Naquin, and Mary Rankin took office as editors until 1984 when Charlotte Furth and James Lee assumed the editorial reins and changed the journal’s name.
William T. Rowe replaced Charlotte Furth as co-editor with James Lee in 1993 and at that time Johns Hopkins University Press began publishing the journal. Rowe became sole editor when Lee retired in 1999 from the journal. From 2007 until 2014, Tobie Meyer-Fong and Janet Theiss jointly edited the journal as co-editors. In 2014, Tobie Meyer-Fong became editor-in-chief while creating a full editorial board with 8-10 associate editors. Upon her retirement from the journal after the December 2018 issue, Steven B. Miles became editor-in-chief, continuing to work with an outstanding team of associate editors.