Thursday, April 30, 2009

Analysis Papers

I was talking with a friend recently about Analysis, which is one of my favorite journals. The reasons should be obvious: short, pithy papers that make a clear, interesting point and then don't hang around. With a 4-4 teaching load, I have less time than I would like to sit around reading monstrously long philosophy papers that arbitrarily ramble from point to point, and so Analysis is ideal for a guy like me. (Of course I'm kidding, but only a little. Since I teach a lot, it takes me like a week to read a 30- or 40-page paper with any degree of care, so a paper like that represents a big investment, and so I have to be conservative about what I'm willing to read. Interestingness isn't usually enough.)

Another thing I like about Analysis is the way they'll accept a discussion piece and invite a reply from the original author--you can often find nice philosophical discussions proceeding in this manner. And another nice thing about Analysis-style papers is that it doesn't take a million years to write one. (Not that you don't have to be careful, but at 3,000 words, you've got a lot less to be careful about.) The problem is that Analysis doesn't accept that many papers, and so it doesn't really pay to write them. If Analysis doesn't take it, you're SOL.

Now, Australasian Journal of Philosophy will accept short discussion pieces, and the online Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy will, too, so Analysis isn't your only option. But it's kind of too bad more journals don't do this. Am I missing any?

--Mr. Zero

15 comments:

cross the breeze said...

I'm a big fan of Analysis too (even though they aren't big fans of the couple of papers I've submitted to them). I've long thought that there is room for another journal like Analysis, sort of a poor man's Analysis, but still good.

Anonymous said...

There was a discussion of precisely this point on Leiter a couple of years ago. The thread is here.

Mr. Zero said...

Thanks for the link. I forgot about that.

Jonathan Ichikawa said...

Crispin Wright agrees with you. He is currently in discussion with OUP about a potential new Analysis-style journal.

Ben said...

The Journal of Medical Ethics and Politics both run short pieces, although obviously only in medical ethics and pol sci/theory/phil respectively. Neither has anything like the reputation of Analysis, but I take it that's not so important.

On another note, most journals have *maximum* word limits, but few (afaik) have minimums. If a short paper makes a good point, you can always try sending it elsewhere...

Platowe said...

Completely agree with you Mr. Zero--I have had a career 4/4 for over a 1/4 century and read at least one piece from every issue of Analysis. Published in it twice too--among my proudest pubs. My fav journal.

chrono said...

Analysis is great. And I think it takes even more care to write papers for it; with only 3k words, one cannot afford to waste any of them.

Another interesting point is that most conferences have a 3k word limit for colloquium papers . So the papers that get the best feedback are Analysis-length ones.

Anonymous said...

What about The Reasoner?

Anonymous said...

American Journal of Bioethics takes short commentaries on its Target Articles.

Anonymous said...

Philosophia will accepts responses to articles not published in Philosophia. It's not Analysis, obviously, but it's at least a Springer journal which probably counts for something at least (i.e. it's not *too* obscure a place to publish). My experience with the journal has been very positive.

Anonymous said...

Human Rights Review will take shorter pieces on topics relevant to the scope of the journal (i.e., human rights broadly constructed).

Anonymous said...

I wish more people would contribute to The Reasoner. Good people have published in it and publishing in it won't prevent you from publishing something you like in another place. All it will take to make The Reasoner good is a decision for all of us to start flooding The Reasoner with submissions. I've often seen in threads like this people saying we need another journal like Analysis. We _have_ something that could be similar to Analysis. It's imperfect, getting a pub there isn't something to brag about yet, but this is easily changed.

Anonymous said...

The idea behind Analysis is great, and it's certainly a historically top-class journal, but am I alone in thinking the standard has *severely* dropped in recent years? All journals publish dodgy stuff now and again, but with Analysis it really seems about 50/50 whether any given paper will be any good - I don't mean great, I mean any good: for a top-tier journal, the number of just ridiculous papers they publish seems to be unacceptably high.

Anonymous said...

I have it on good authority that Analysis basically functions like a club. So if you are an author the editor has never heard of, he will suibject you to the rigours of blind review. But if the editor knows you and thinks highly of your philosophical work, he will just publish your work as it is. This may explain exactly why many of the contributions don't seem to be that good.

Anonymous said...

It does appear that Analysis functions as a aort of club. There are some other top journals where it seems very likely that if you worked with the journal's editor you will have a lot of your work published there. Why can't we have a policy of rotating out editors or a policy of having more than one editor so that your work doesn't go through the hands of (just) someone who is actively invested in your career, a drinking buddy, etc...?