Monday, February 8, 2010

The Troubled RSS Feeds of Philosophy Journals

I subscribe to a lot philosophy journals's RSS feeds. While I think it's wonderful that almost every philosophy journal has an RSS feed, I think it's too bad that so many of them are so shitty. There are a number of common problems:
  • Many of them don't say who the author of the paper is.

  • It is best when the author of the paper is listed as the author of the post. I guess it's okay if there's no author listed in the unread list, but you really should say who it is somewhere in there.

  • It is especially bad when the person listed as the author of the post is someone other than the author of the paper.

  • Many of them don't say what the paper is about. It is better if there is an abstract.

  • (This is to the authors: When you write up an abstract, you should try to give a sense for what the paper is about.)


  • Many of them don't carry any bibliographic information. It is better when it says right in the post which issue of which journal this is supposed to be.

  • It would be really nice to have a clickable link directly to the fulltext pdf file.
So, I guess what I'm saying is, Thanks for having RSS feeds, journals. Now, could you please optimize them?

--Mr. Zero


Anonymous said...

Ditto! I'm so glad someone else is expressing frustration with this.

I'd add that they also often annoyingly have the author way down below the abstract along with other less important info (e.g. ISSN). (Synthese is an example of this.) Why not have the author's name and affiliation shows first, then the abstract, then other junk?

YES, AND PLEASE STOP PUTTING THINGS IN ALL CAPS. IT'S ANNOYING!! (I'm looking at you, Phil Quarterly, Pac Phil Quarterly, Phil Perspectives, and others.)

Anonymous said...

Shameless cross-posting for attention:

RE: Philosophy Journals that do not review manuscripts completely blindly:

Obviously, there is no recognized standard definition for "blind" when it comes to journal manuscript review policies. Many of the best journals in the sciences are completely blind, so that the manuscript reviews are based on nothing but the content/merits of the paper *because the people involved in the review process know Nothing about the author * - all that they do know about is the Content of the manuscript.)

When the review process is not completely blind in this manner, a decision about whether to accept a manuscript for publication can, and very often is, based on factors other than the content/merits of the manuscript. And this is precisely how cronies and the members of cliques like it and make it.

It is often sad to read professional, first rate philosophers rationalize one bogus justification or another for not wantint/demanding (in so far as anyone can) that all philosophy journals are completely blind in the aforementioned ways.

An administrative assistant or manager who plays no role whatever in deciding whether the manuscript is accepted can easily carry out the logistical matters/details.

Anonymous said...

I agree—both with the original post about RSS feeds and the shameless threadjacker.

The best feed I know of in this respect is the RSS feed for Utilitas. I would be thrilled if other journals followed their example.

Several other journals come close—e.g., Philosopher's Imprint, Philosophy Compass, Philosopher's Digest, and Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. Kudos to them.

The most disappointing feeds, though, are those that publish one feed item per issue, saying nothing except that the issue has been published—no table of contents, no nothin'. JHP comes to mind.