Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's the Best Journal for Junior Philosophers?

I've been thinking about which is the best journal that makes sense for ABDs, visiting faculty, and the untenured to submit to. It seems to me that many of the very best journals, such as Mind, Phil Review, and Phil Quarterly, are nevertheless terrible for who are just starting out, because they can take years to get back to you with a decision. (Although if you've got a really great paper, and a couple of years to go before you apply for tenure, it might make sense to submit to one of these journals. Only if.)

There are probably other journals that it makes no sense for junior people to submit to, and there are probably other reasons. (I guess I don't consider the low probability of acceptance by itself to be a reason not to submit.) But I am inclined to suspect that the best journal it makes sense for junior people to submit to is Noûs. Then maybe PPR and some others. I take it that the winner is going to be a "general" journal, because even the best specialist journals, like, say, Ethics, don't rise to the level the best general ones.

What say you, Smokers?

--Mr. Zero


Anonymous said...

Phil Studies and the AJP seem to both have a decent turnaround and to be well thought of.

Andrew M. Bailey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I don't really understand the claim that a specialist journal like Ethics doesn't rise to the level of one of the general journals. It seems to me that if you work in Moral Theory, any hiring committee would be as impressed with a publication in Ethics as one in Nous. But at that point it's probably just splitting hairs anyway.

Anonymous said...

I don't think its fair to lump Phil Quartlery in with Mind and Phil Review here. I'm a grad student and I've twice submitted to PQ. The first they rejected after 3 months (with helpful comments that made me realise I should drop the paper). The second they came back to me with an R&R which, after being R'ed&R'ed, they accepted in under a month.

Anonymous said...

For those who work in political philosophy: The Journal of Political Philosophy is quick (although also very tough). And it is among the very top in the field.

Mr. Zero said...

I always thought of PQ as in the same league as Mind and Phil Review both in terms of quality and turnaround time. Maybe I'm wrong. The Cullison Journal Survey makes it seem like I'm wrong.

I'm not saying I totally agree with this, but my sense is that although a publication in Ethics is way, super awesome, it's not on the level of Mind or Phil Review.

Same with Phil Studies and Australasian. These are definitely A-level journals, but Mind, Nous, etc are A+. Right?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:47 here. Should have said, the R&R verdict from PQ likewise came around the 3 month mark.

Anonymous said...

I would place Phil.Studies below AJP simply because I perceive it to be the obvious place for juniors to cut their publishing teeth. Also, they publish a ridiculous amount of paper. Harsh, I know.

Anonymous said...

My best experience has by far been with AJP. Quick turn around, and importantly, responsible and careful reports.

Phil Studies is quick, but reports are not always the most responsible.

Nous: quick, but no useful comments.

PQ: quick, and responsible comments, though not as fast as the others.

PPQ: Took forever (almost a year and half). Got an R&R, and was rejected by an entirely new reviewer in the end. The adequacy of my revisions in response to the first report were not even addressed.

While a quick turnaround is important, I think it is equally important to get good comments.

Anonymous said...

After bad early experiences, I will no longer submit to Phil Review, Mind, or JPhil.

Phil Studies and AJP give quick decisions and have always given me decent to good comments. When things have gone wrong, the editor of Phil Studies has been helpful; the same can't be said about AJP's. But both journals are efficient and (generally) fair.

Analysis, PQ, PPR, and Nous are about the same: quick decisions, but few comments. This shouldn't be so, but getting into Analysis is apparently a matter (at least in part) of who you know.

Like anon above, I've had a bad experience with PPQ (over a year for a rejection with terrible comments) and will never submit there again.

Anonymous said...

"Same with Phil Studies and Australasian. These are definitely A-level journals, but Mind, Nous, etc are A+. Right?"

This is, of course, correct. Phil Studies and AJP are fantastic places for junior philosophers to publish in, but are not in the same league as Mind or Phil Review (Nous and PPR are probably somewhere in between).

Anonymous said...

What's up with Nous and PPR? They say that they are not currently accepting submissions, but that they will begin accepting them on October 15, 2010. I get that they didn't manage to take care of their backlog in the time they thought they would, but they should at least update their website. And by the way, isn't the solution to a backlog to raise the journal's standards, either by urging the referees to be more selective, or by not accepting some papers that the referees recommend accepting?

Anonymous said...

My experience (for what it is worth) is that Zero's point about Ethics vis-a-vis Mind is flat wrong (and I mean to say that the general point is wrong, not the judgement about those specific journals).

I think one can state some general guidelines for picking journals without naming specific journals (so that, for instance, people working in all areas can be included). I give this advice on the basis of my recent experience as a junior (now tenured) philosopher. The best journals are those that have a quick turnaround time and tend to give detailed reviewer reports. I would have no fear in aiming high, just so long as those criteria are met--but I think both of those criteria need to be met (one is not good enough). If time is really sensitive, though, one should probably aim at what one takes to be A-/B+ level journals in one's area. In those cases some level of quality or prestige will still be met while the chances for publication are increased.

Anonymous said...

For people who work in Ethics/Political, it seems that Ethics and Philosophy and Public Affairs are the clear first-choice journals. Both are fast (PPA is incredibly fast--rejections often coming within a month, and final decisions almost all being made within 3 months), and both are as good as it gets publication-wise for people in those fields (as good as any of the general journals, I'd say, for those who work in Ethics/Political/Legal). It really is another way in which those in Ethics/Political have it easier (although getting into those two is not so easy)...

Anonymous said...

Should I send papers to these journals? Opinions (from an untenured philosopher):

AJP, yes, expect comments of uneven quality
Phil Studies, yes, expect decent comments
PQ, yes, but don't expect comments
PPR, yes, but don't expect comments
Nous, yes, but don't expect comments
Phil Review, no
JP, no
Mind, definitely no

Bobcat said...

Here's a not-at-all-thought-through comment:

Could it happen that many, many philosophers get together and, as a matter of principle, simply refuse to submit any articles to Mind, Phil Review, and JPhil?

If philosophers actually did this, would "scabs" take the opportunity to submit and, owing to the decreased competition, be more likely to be successful?

Is it simply impossible (or, more accurately: vanishingly unlikely, as unlikely as getting, say, 80% of the American electorate to vote for a Democratic candidate for president) to get philosophers good enough to get accepted to those journals to agree to the boycott?

Is this a stupid idea? Has it been proposed like a million times before to no effect?

Anonymous said...

Regarding Ethics and Philosophy and Public Affairs:
I agree both are at the top in the field. They are not equally fast. Ethics normally takes longer to respond. But Ethics is more likely to respond with referee reports.
The Journal of Political Philosophy is of comparable quality (it is a newer journal, but is quickly becoming more and more central in the field), and has the two virtues of responding fast and including referee reports.

Anonymous said...

"What's up with Nous and PPR? ... isn't the solution to a backlog to raise the journal's standards, either by urging the referees to be more selective, or by not accepting some papers that the referees recommend accepting?"
I think that their standards are very high. They have a backlog because they are more responsible than the other top generalist journals (like Phil.Rev and Mind) in terms of securing fast refereeing and decisions. I think the problem is not with PPR and Nous, but with the other journals...

Andrew M. Bailey said...

"What's up with Nous and PPR? They say that they are not currently accepting submissions, but that they will begin accepting them on October 15, 2010."

Both Nous and PPR are, so far as I know, accepting submissions again. See:

Anonymous said...

" sense is that although a publication in Ethics is way, super awesome, it's not on the level of Mind or Phil Review."

This strikes me as clearly false.
Speaking as someone who works in ethics, Ethics is at least as highly regarded by ethicists as is Mind, Nous, and JPhil. Also, reputation-wise Phil Review seems to stand alone as the best journal. So if we're giving letter grades, Phil Review is the only A+, while Mind, Ethics, Nous, etc. are solid As.

Anonymous said...

_The Good_
American Phil Quarterly: Quick w/good comments and a sensible editor who will step in when things are amiss.

Dialectica: Not quite as quick, but good comments and an editor willing to step in when things are amiss.

AJP: Very quick, always received extensive comments.

Phil Quarterly: Never taken more than 3 months, always receive pretty good comments, seem to have a hair-trigger for rejection, but still on the must send list.

The Meh:
PPR & Nous: Quick, always receive comments, but the comments can be completely insane. The journal is backlogged.

Canadian, Pac Phil Quarterly, Synthese, Erkenntnis: Not terribly quick, but you tend to get not horribly insane comments when you do submit.

The Bad:
Phil Studies. Slow. I've received absurd comments on papers accepted elsewhere without revisions (often better places, too). Can end up with editor as your referee. While they say papers are double blind reviewed, not always true. If you don't work in his area, you might be alright. If you do, it's a pain in the ass. I've heard from others that there's a two track system, great for some and horrid for others.

Mind. Christ almighty. Year to receive R&R with three referee reports. Another year to get second verdict from three new referees.

Anonymous said...

This is all relative.

For starters, AJP, PQ and PS are all A+ journals as they are GENERAL journals (ie publish mot areas of phil) and in the top 7.

Submit to any of the top ones. Submit to the ones with faster turn around if that's the worry. AJP, PS, PPR are all faster and will tend to get you more comments. J Phil, Mind and Phil Rev are all slower, but will also be a huge step to tenure at any R1. If all your dept wants is pubs, submit elsewhere. If they want quality, do what you can, and keep in mind that you have 4-7 years, so 18 months at Mind ain't so bad after all.

The quicker of the A+ journals give you the best of all worlds however: quality, quick times, comments.

cogitated said...

I've had very fast turnaround decisions from Synthese and PPR.

word verification: cutor (i.e., the smaller, cuter younger brother of Skeletor).

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how this discussion applies to something like the history of philosophy. While some of these general journals do publish in that field, it would seem that making a name for yourself in history would go a completely different route--i.e. British Journal of Philosophy, European Journal of Philosophy, etc.

Anonymous said...

The very long decision processes of Mind etc. promote a pernicious form of self-selection: only those who can afford to wait (i.e., the tenured) actually submit there, those who can't (the rest of us) are dissuaded from doing so.

Anonymous said...

Two things.

(1) There is no way that the perceived quality of (a) Ethics and PPA and (b) Journal of Political Philosophy is the same. They are not seen to be of 'comparable quality'--the first two are clearly still seen as a step above. Maybe in 20 years...

(2) It seems odd to care much about getting detailed referee reports for a rejected paper. And it seems absurd to let this be much of a consideration (except perhaps as a kind of weak tiebreaker) in deciding where to send your work. Turnaround time, your estimation of your chances at getting the paper accepted, and perceived reputation should drive almost the entirety of your decision, I would think. Get comments from your advisors, peers (grad students or other junior-ish folks), people you meet at conferences, people working in your area, people about whom you are writing. Journals should not be a primary source of feedback, and it is misguided to think that one set of reviewer comments will help you much in revising the paper so that some other journal will accept it. Reviewers' concerns are just too random and idiosyncratic for that (assuming there aren't glaring errors, of the sort that your advisors, peers, etc. should have already helped you identify).

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:26 writes: "It seems odd to care much about getting detailed referee reports for a rejected paper."

Here's a reason to care: detailed and careful referee reports (for rejects) are correlated with rejecting for *good* reasons rather than *bad* or capricious ones.

I'm not certain that there is such a correlation; but if there is, detailed ref reports are a good reason to prefer a journal.

zombie said...

In Bioethics:

Journal of Medical Ethics is good: Quick turnaround, good comments, and a R&R process that is very quick (one week).

Kennedy Institute of Ethics is very SLOW.

Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics is fast, but hard to satisfy.

Anonymous said...

Great thread. I've always had the same question, only for history of philosophy. It has struck me that many of the top journals in my field, Ancient, are both incredibly competitive and take a pretty long time. E.g. what is probably the best journal held one of my papers for 7 or 8 months, and then rejected it with no reviewers' comments or any other reason besides a general form letter saying they couldn't give reasons. Also, I have had editors give me very suspicious sounding reasons for rejection, such as "the reviewer wrote some handwritten comments, which were really negative, but we can't copy them and send them to you since they were handwritten."

Two questions:

(1) Have other junior people in Ancient or other historical areas had similar experiences, or is it just me?


(2) What history journals have you had good experiences with?

Ben said...

I'd like to add another dissent to the claim that general journals trump specialist ones.

While I can think of a few good pieces I've read from J. Phil and Phil Review the truth is that I don't follow those journals and would likely miss a piece there unless someone pointed it out to me.

I'd much rather publish in Ethics or P&PA because I'd regard those as just as high standard and much more likely to be read by the people I want to read my work (which includes many in Politics/Law, rather than Philosophy departments).

It's perhaps worth noting that strategic considerations may enter one's decision making process too. A political philosopher seeking a job in Philosophy departments may be better off with a publication in Nous, while one seeking a job in a Politics department might be better off with American Political Science Review. From that point of view, P&PA might be a good way to hedge bets: recognized as a good place to publish political philosophy by both search committees (assuming at least some competence/familiarity), albeit perhaps not the ideal of either.

As for the general point, I agree that it's a very difficult balancing act. You have to balance the need to publish something with making sure that what you publish is the best you can. I guess A-/B+ journals sounds about right, if we can agree what those are...

CTS said...

I must concur with those who have noted that publishing in one of the so-called A+/A general journals may not make the most sense for people in ethics, soc/pol, history of phil, etc. (and, I think especially not for legal philosophers).

Think of several factors:

1) Who will read your work? I certainly go, first and foremost, to the specialized journals in my fields.

2) Which journals and editors are most likely to have any interest in your work? Maybe a general journal wants to publish the occasional piece in ethics, but they won't publish many - and I believe they are less likely to be interested in the more specialized work in the subfields.

3) Who will be assessing your publications? If it is a SC, it will have people who are in your field, and they are likely to think more highly of your getting published in the field journals than in a general one. If it is your Chair, s/he should have the sense to recognize that being judged worthy by people in one's area is worth more than being so judged by people in other areas.

This business of trying to reduce philosophy to the best journals and best programs without attending to differences in area concentration is rather silly (IMHO).

Anonymous said...

We definitely need a couple of good publishing guides out there for our profession. I know that there is a small group of us that suspects that publishing in philosophy seems like such a scam.

(1) Articles sent pre-PhD get rejected without comments. Post-PhD...same articles, same journals, get rejected with various comments. Same articles, same journals, with co-authorship of "known" publishing philosophers suddenly became publishable. As with all things, its more about networking and politics than what you are really writing.

(2) Is it a money scam? Why is it accepted in academic circles that a group of people would be able to make money by getting other people to provide free labor and product that the first group can turn around a sell at obscene prices? Then link this free labor into hiring standards and/or promotion requirements?

(3) Finally, what is this nonsense of policies that you can only submit an article to one journal at a time? Seriously, we have to wait 3 months (6 months, 12 months!) for some ass-hat to evaluate our work? It may be an easy life for the tenured crowd, but those of us who are unemployed and trying to publish and find work could use a little speed.

Sorry for the off topic soap box.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Zero mentioned this, but I think it's worth providing a link for those who aren't familiar with it:

Andrew Cullison (SUNY Fredonia) is providing philosophers with a wonderful service by collecting data on response times from journals. You can see the results of his journal surveys on his blog, Wide Scope.

You can use look at each journal to see the average response time, R&R rate, (eventual) acceptance rate, etc. Of course, it's a woefully incomplete data set because it relies on voluntary submissions, but it's by far the best source we have.

I think it would be helpful if, in addition to sharing their experiences here, people got in the habit of posting the results of their submissions to Andrew's blog.

Popkin said...

I don't think anyone has mentioned Philosopher's Imprint yet. Very highly-regarded and quite fast.

I've had a paper rejected without comments, but another that received three sets of comments (two of which were very good).

Anonymous said...

Let's all acknowledge the truth: Philosophical Frontiers is the best generalist journal out there!

Anonymous said...

CTS said:

"Maybe a general journal wants to publish the occasional piece in ethics, but they won't publish many..."

"Who will be assessing your publications? If it is a SC, it will have people who are in your field, and they are likely to think more highly of your getting published in the field journals than in a general one. If it is your Chair, s/he should have the sense to recognize that being judged worthy by people in one's area is worth more than being so judged by people in other areas."

Seriously, wtf are you talking about? Non-specialty journals publish in ethics all the time. Indeed, there is no reason why they wouldn't want to publish in one of philosophy's main fields.

And why would people think more highly of a pub in a "field journal"? What matters is the prestige of the journal, not whether it's a "field journal".

Finally, getting published in a non-specialty journal requires acceptance by people from your field--that's how refereeing works. Any pub means you've been "judged worthy" by people in your area.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:40 PM Re: Ancient journals... One particular journal, the boundless one beginning with "A", held an article of mine for 13 months only to respond with a form letter about how they were so inundated they could not send more than the form letter. After 13 months: O rly?

So to answer your questions based on my experience: (1) Have other junior people in Ancient or other historical areas had similar experiences, or is it just me?

Not just you.


(2) What history journals have you had good experiences with?

British Journal of the History of Philosophy--unbelievably fast, with comments. History of Philosophy Quarterly, also fast (rejection but with humane editor discussing placement matters and caring about the work).

Mileage will vary, but you know that.

Euthyphronics said...


I'm not sure I'm buying the complaints. Re (2): it might be that publishing houses are making money hand over fist from the unrecompensed sweat of our brows, but I'd like to see some hard evidence that they have margins to pay us for our work before I start complaining too loudly. (I'm not sure we can deduce a priori that selling specialist journals to university libraries is a lucrative business.)

Re (1): This might be true for some journals. I know for my own part that I submitted papers to several journals (at least four I can recall) as a student -- sometimes as a grad student, but one paper even as an undergrad. Some papers (not the undergrad one!) were accepted, and the others rejected with detailed comments. (I also had a bad experience with Mind, but evidence suggests that this had nothing to do with my graduate-student-ness.) Again, I'd prefer a systematic study rather than anecdotal evidence before insisting the system is biased against students qua students.

Finally, on (3): if we send papers to multiple journals at a time, won't that increase the demand for referees for the same number of manuscripts? As I understand it, the biggest factor in slow turnaround times (excepting the handful of really bad journals with bizarre editorial practices) is simply finding a referee. Most referees are asked to report within two weeks to a month, and while I don't have hard evidence, I'd bet the majority get it done within six weeks, sometimes much sooner. It's getting people to commit in the first place that's hard; busy people learn to say "no". If we drastically increase the number of referee, requests we can reasonably expect referees to increase their frequency of declination, and/or to decrease the quality of their refereeing.

I'm not saying the system's perfect, or that there isn't a way to speed things up. But multiple submissions doesn't seem like the way to go to me.

Frank O' Phile said...

(2) It seems odd to care much about getting detailed referee reports for a rejected paper.

Why's this odd? Even if it's not true that careful referee's reports correlate with GOOD reasons for rejection, (which i hope they do), they also provide useful feedback if they correlate with ACTUAL reasons for rejection.

It actually helps to know whether your paper has been rejected for a half-assed reason or a good one.

(For example, I once had a paper rejected for a reason which made it clear that the referee hadn't actually read the paper. By which I don't mean - for example - that the ref's report overlooked some subtle distinction which I'd been at pains to make and which i'd failed to get across; or that he or she took me to be arguing for a claim that I was objecting to. I mean that the referee's response was 'This paper is unpublishable because a publishable paper on the topic would have to take into account the work of X' - overlooking the fact that the paper actually contained a 3 page discussion of Xs work and why it didn't help to answer the question I was addressing.)

And it was useful to know this because I can now sing this journal's praises to all my competitors in the field while concentrating my own submissions on journals where referees are expected to read the things they are supposed to be refereeing.

Anonymous said...

On Nous. I think things have changed. Used to be great. Now when you get an R&R, your paper will be reviewed the second time by people who didn't review it the first time. This presents problems. Personal example. First referee told me to remove a certain section, because I was arguing against a position that wasn't worth arguing against. Removed it. Couple of R&Rs later, a referee said to reject it, because I didn't deal with a certain objection. But I had dealt with it -- that was the part the first referee told me to remove. It was rejected at that point after being under review for about 2 years.

Also, Nous is just insanely difficult to get into right now. This has to do with their trying to get rid of their backlog. If you submit to Nous, you better think your paper's freakin awesome.

On another note, I've had bad experience with Phil Studies. Long wait, no comments. Know others who've had the same experience, though others seem to have had good experiences. The "two tier" hypothesis put forward by an earlier commenter would explain this.

Anonymous said...

4:28 said: "(1) Articles sent pre-PhD get rejected without comments. Post-PhD...same articles, same journals, get rejected with various comments. Same articles, same journals, with co-authorship of "known" publishing philosophers suddenly became publishable. As with all things, its more about networking and politics than what you are really writing."

What's your evidence for this? It hasn't been my experience.

zombie said...

Other useful links on journals:

This wiki has useful info on decision times, acceptance rates, etc:

The "impact" of the journal (i.e. number of cites) here:

zombie said...

It can be useful to get comments on a paper, whether it is rejected or accepted.

It's good to know the grounds for a rejection -- is it the paper, fit with the journal, quirky/bad/irrational reviewer? What does the reviewer have to say that's positive?

You can get useful feedback that will make the paper better.

It bears mentioning here that, as reviewers (and future reviewers), we should endeavor to be speedy and provide useful comments.

Journals should make their R&R procedures better. At JME, for instance, they make the author really jump through hoops to demonstrate that s/he has answered reviewer concerns -- you have to provide a separate document with a detailed list of where in the paper you respond to each reviewer comment, you have to provide a copy of the document with revisions visible, and a final copy, etc. It's a PITA to do it, but, in my experience, they then accepted the revised paper in a week. That was despite the fact that I thought some of the comments were invalid, said so, and explained why. This strikes me as a reasonable procedure for getting around the problem of having different reviewers the second time around, if the second reviewers are constrained by the comments of the first.

Finally, not everyone works in a department where their colleagues are able to provide meaningful commentary -- if you're in a small dept, and the only person in your AOS, for example. Likewise, if you're applying for a job in a small dept where there is no one in your AOS, the SC will not necessarily be familiar with the journals in your AOS, etc. The best and most influential journals in my AOS are not the generalist journals. Number of publications, and general productivity also matter, and not just journal pedigree.

Anonymous said...

Philosophy and Social Criticism rejected my paper based on the title. Too many papers submitted on that topic, the editor lamented. C'mon what if my paper was better than all those previously submitted? I don't read or recommend PCC any more. We have to 'out' these bad journals and hopefully they will close shop in good time.

Anonymous said...

If you don't yet have a tenure-track position, it seems to me that an A-/B+ journal with a quick turnaround time would be better than a slow A+/A journal. The American Philosophical Quarterly is extremely well run, in my experience: helpful editor, helpful reports. And the European Journal of Philosophy has the same R&R procedure that, according to 6:05, JME has. Both APQ and EJP are pretty fast: a response in about 2 months.

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice was a bit slower, but still decent: 5 months, and the editors were very helpful about speeding up the process. Also, I receieved one very helpful report.

I think I've been on both tracks of the Phil Studies process: one paper accepted with a good turnaround time, another refereed by the editor in about 9 months (a rejection, though with much helpful feedback).

Anonymous said...

If you work in anything vaguely sciency, BJPS wins hands down for efficiency (and is one of the most respected journals in the field). Almost always gets back to you in 8 weeks, and I think is a big enough name to count very positively on a CV.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science is a very well run ship. Always quick, always with good comments, in my experience. Also, as the previous post said, "vaguely sciency" but high quality papers in metaphysics and epistemology regularly get in.

Xenophon said...

Very interesting and useful comments. Thanks, all. Now, some general observations without reference to particular journals.

Analogous to how you don't shit where you eat, I think it's fair to say to that you publish where you read. What journals publish good stuff that you enjoy and cite? Publish there, if you can. That should be the #1 rule.

If I'm working in a field where there are good specialist journals, my inclination is to go there over general journals, even if they're better. General journals are typically good in core areas of philosophy, and for things that are hard to find good specialist journals, but why send, e.g., a paper in philosophy of science or history of ancient or comparative philosophy, to AJP when there are more obvious places? Sure the top journals probably have enough referees in all the core areas, but the good specialty journals will probably have a deeper and better set of referees in your particular subfield.

Detailed assessment of journal rank really should only matter to people in R1 or top-tier SLACs. I'd rather have my paper published now and read by a lot of people than published in a "good" place where it will die a slow death.

If you're going to have people from outside your field weighing in on your tenure and promotion, isn't there value in publishing in journals that are obviously relevant? So Ancient Philosophy over Apeiron? This is the idiot-proof approach, and clearly not relevant to everyone, but it never hurts to have idiot insurance, right?

Anonymous said...

I just want to second the idea that there may be a "two-tier" system at Phil Studies. I've published at many of the A+/A journals but can never get a paper in at Phil Studies. Because I work in epistemology the editor always referees my submissions himself, very slowly and rejects them without comments. I think young people working in epistemology should be wary about sending their work there, since clearly for them the journal does not practise blind-refereeing. It's astonishing that, given that this is the case, the journal still enjoys the pedigree it does.

I also highly recommend young scholars against submitting to the Canadian Journal of Philosophy. Myself and many of my colleagues have had very bad experiences with them - long review time and poor comments (if any). If you are happy with long review times and no comments, you might aswell submit to J.Phil or Phil. Review!!

I believe Mind has cleaned up its act in recent years. Its average review time, at least, seems to have significantly decreased and is below that of J.Phil and Phil. Review...might be a good place, given its prestige, for young philosophers to try.

Anonymous said...

Analysis is quick - very quick in some cases. It didn't use to practice anonymous review, but now does. (I note a comment above that it's a matter of 'who you know'. I don't think this is any longer the case.)

Anonymous said...

What do those working in aesthetics think about publishing in the BJA or JAAC? They seem to be highly-regarded amongst philosophers of art, but my sense is that they don't have the same more general reputation as specialist journals like Ethics.

Are young aestheticians advised to publish in general journals rather than the specialist ones?

Anonymous said...

Mr Zero,

I have been reading your blog. You sound like a nasty, obnoxious pain in the ass. I pity the Department that has to put up with you.

Anonymous said...

I would think that the philosophy of art is a paradigm case for choosing a specialty journal over general journal. First of all both JAAC and BJA are pretty good and second how often do you ever see philosophy of art stuff seriously pursued in general journals.

Anonymous said...

In answer to Anon 8:03. The trouble is that aesthetics, as a sub-discipline, doesn't have the same respect that ethics, as a sub-discipline does.

IMO, if you're a grad-student or relative nobody and you want to ensure the aesthetics community takes notice of your work then you have to publish in BJA or JAAC. I prefer BJA, JAAC publishes a lot of weird shit. But if you want something that looks good on your CV then go generalist rather than BJA or JAAC. The trouble, however, will be finding a journal that is a good fit for your paper's topic. There's relatively few topics in aesthetics that are actively debated outside of BJA and JAAC, so that makes them the obvious choice rather than a general journal. I don't know, I guess there are aesthetics papers in all generalist journals, so maybe I'm wrong on papers having a better chance at BJA/JAAC...

Anonymous said...

Mind is still a nightmare. I'd recommend Phil Review over it - you're less likely to get comments, but you can have a verdict in not much more time than it'll take Mind to acknowledge that they've received your submission.

I'm intrigued by 7.35's suggestion that Analysis is now blind-reviewed. Is there any evidence of that? Certainly the review process described on their website shows no change of policy; it's still the editor who calls most of the shots, and the editor knows all. But if that information is out of date, that would be very significant.

Anonymous said...

Given that generalist journals are so highly regarded (as compared to specialized journals): what generalist journals are known to publish philosophy of religion, and philosophy of cognitive science?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Journal of Political Philosophy, it is certainly fast, and it usually publishes good work, but it is certainly run in a questionable way. Much of its speed is due to the fact that the editor very often rejects clearly professional papers out of hand, often without even reading them in full. So you have to get past his whims in order to get the paper sent out for review. Also, many people have pointed out to me how papers by people who are somehow connected to the editor appear frequently and quickly.

All in all the Journal of Political philosophy is not the cleanest journal. But neither are Ethics or Philosophy and Public Affairs, as is well known. The field of political philosophy is rather cliqueish, and that is reflected in the way its major journals are run.

Anonymous said...

Ok, now I am curious: what are the good generalist journals that are favorable to topics in the philosophy of art? I really can't think of any.

Anonymous said...

7:50 AM,
All journals reject some papers at the editorial level. That's not "questionable" in any way. And since an awful lot of very good political philosophers are "connected" to Goodin "in some way", it's not exactly surprising or "questionable" that their papers get published frequently.

I thought the policy here was that comments shouldn't smear specific individuals. I have no particular connection with the Journal of Political Philosophy (I'm not a political philosopher), but I hate the slimy innuendo. (7:50's slimy innuendo about Ethics and PPA is vague enough to be merely slimy and not offensive, to me anyway.)

Anonymous said...


(Fwiw, I'm not 7.50AM) What seems to be the really important issue is whether this stage in the process is itself blind. If we're dealing with a double-blind process, and so the editor is rejecting stuff without knowing names, affiliations, etc., that does seem unobjectionable. But the worry expressed was that this was going on when the editor has the kind of information denied to referees. And thankfully, it's not true that all journals allow this. Some have editorial assistants (like Phil Quarterly), while many use systems like Editorial Manager which can be used to try to ensure a double-blind process (at least unless something goes awry).

So what I'd agree is not 'questionable' is allowing editors to reject without burdening the pool of referees *when the editor is blind*. We need to distinguish that practice from the practice of letting editors make decisions in full possession of the kind of information we think such decisions should be shielded from (and uninformed by the verdicts of referees who have been denied such information). You haven't distinguished these. And the latter practice does seem pretty objectionable - it's the main complaint people have with how Analysis is run.

Anonymous said...

I like Mr. Zero. I wish I worked with him.

I'm not November 13, 2010 6:32 AM, but I've had the same experience with epistemology papers. Editor referees them without blind referee. The only difference is that the editor sends comments, but they seem incredibly picky and they seem to indicate that if I don't see eye to eye with him on some issue, there's just no way that the paper will get in. I've sent these papers to other A journals and have no problem publishing them there and I've never bothered to address the editor's comments in revising for other journals. In one case, I added some long footnotes addressing the comments and was told to cut them because the concerns raised were frivolous. What's strange is that there are a lot of epistemology papers that get in and a fair number of them have pretty significant problems that stand out prominently. Can't tell if these are papers that the editor doesn't referee or this is just a case where what I think is a glaring problem looks good to an editor with different views from mine. Either way, it's a strange situation and I don't think it's good for the profession for such a prestigious journal to have such strange editorial practices. They promise double blind review and they should either deliver on that promise or come clean.

CTS said...

@November 11, 2010 8:34 PM:

Leaving aside the gratuitous "WTF," and Xenophon's very good points that respond to your post, I'll offer this:

It is undoubtedly easier to get an ethics paper published in a general journal than to get a phil law, aesthetics, or historical (e.g. ancient) piece published in a general journal. But, you are still competing for the few slots such a journal can give to ethics.

As far as quality goes, if you submit to a specialty journal, you are competing mostly against others who specialize in your area. That's more impressive, IMO, than competing against fewer people in your area for a general journal.

So, in one respect, your chances are reduced but, in the other respect, success means you stood out in your own field.

WV: frinog. Some new holiday drink?

Anonymous said...

11:38, this is 9:24.

Fair point. I was taking it for granted that the editorial rejections were also blind (and the whole process double blind). I see from the Author Guidelines that in fact that's (very probably) not true.

Anonymous said...

8:34 here.

"Wtf" was not gratuitous. It expressed the pertinent fact that you don't seem to know wtf you're talking about.

It's obvious that having a publication in specialty journals in ethics (and I'm not talking about Ethics or PPA here) is not as impressive as having a pub in a "first-tier" (i.e., excellent) general journal like Nous, Mind, JPhil, or PPR, or even a "second tier" (i.e., very good) general journal like Phil Studies, Phil Quarterly, or AJP. The ethics specialty journals I'm referring to are JoE, ETMP, JMP, and JESP (have I missed any better ones?). Again, what matters is the prestige and quality of the journal, not its status as specialty or general. These are all respected journals, but they’re “third tier” (i.e., good).

Also, there is no good reason to think that you’re “competing with fewer people in your area” by submitting to a general journal. First- and second-tier general journals receive more submissions than do specialty journals in ethics (again, not referring to Ethics and PPA), so it’s quite plausible that they get a similar *number* of submissions in ethics (or even a greater number), and for fewer spots.

In any case, for the central question at issue in the thread, it doesn’t really matter what people *should* be impressed by -- a pub in any of the third-tier specialty journals I mentioned is obviously less impressive *to the vast majority of those in the profession (including those who work in ethics)* than a pub in any of the general journals I mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Bear in mind that the few places hiring in aesthetics most likely will not have an aesthetician in the department let alone on the search committee.

Anonymous said...

To 2:11pm.
To the list of what you call third-tier "good" specialty journals I would add Social Theory and Practice. The Journal of Political Philosophy is close to the top specialty (first-tier you seem to think if I get your post right) journals Ethics and PPA.

Anonymous said...

Brian Weatherson's journal survey ( is a good place to see how journals are viewed by philosophers. According to the survey, the Journal of Political Philosophy is not close to the same level as Ethics and PPA, and even lags behind "second tier" journals like Phil Studies, Phil Quarterly, AJP, etc.

Ben said...

"It's obvious that having a publication in specialty journals in ethics (and I'm not talking about Ethics or PPA here) is not as impressive as having a pub in a "first-tier" (i.e., excellent) general journal like Nous, Mind, JPhil, or PPR, or even a "second tier" (i.e., very good) general journal like Phil Studies, Phil Quarterly, or AJP. The ethics specialty journals I'm referring to are JoE, ETMP, JMP, and JESP (have I missed any better ones?)... These are all respected journals, but they’re “third tier” (i.e., good)."

I'm not sure what sense it makes to compare first tier general journals to second or third tier specialist ones. Obviously, Mind beats ETMP, just as Ethics beats Polish Journal of Philosophy.

Speaking as more of a political philosopher than a moral philosopher, I'd put the likes of JPP and PPE and maybe Utilitas in between. I'd rather publish there than in Phil Studies, though maybe they could likewise be considered 'A but not A+'.

In any case, if the specialist journals listed really are the second tier in ethics, then I don't see why they should be assumed equivalent to third - rather than second - tier general journals. That would suggest a big vacuum when it comes to second tier ethics journals.

Of course, all the talk of tiers is rather artificial. The likelihood is a continuum and, of course, when we're evaluating the average quality of a journal we should recognize variations between individual papers.

FWIW, a poll on Leiter for best journals for moral and political philosophy says:

1. Ethics (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Philosophy & Public Affairs loses to Ethics by 150–52
3. Philosophical Review loses to Ethics by 174–25, loses to Philosophy & Public Affairs by 141–54
4. Journal of Philosophy loses to Ethics by 196–16, loses to Philosophical Review by 78–67
5. Journal of Political Philosophy loses to Ethics by 184–12, loses to Journal of Philosophy by 92–69
6. Nous loses to Ethics by 186–18, loses to Journal of Political Philosophy by 84–69
7. Philosophy & Phenomenological Research loses to Ethics by 191–10, loses to Nous by 86–55
8. Utilitas loses to Ethics by 198–15, loses to Philosophy & Phenomenological Research by 76–68
9. Mind loses to Ethics by 189–19, loses to Utilitas by 80–68
10. Philosophical Studies loses to Ethics by 190–16, loses to Mind by 85–58
11. Tied:
Philosophical Quarterly loses to Ethics by 197–10, loses to Philosophical Studies by 71–56
Social Philosophy & Policy loses to Ethics by 194–6, loses to Philosophical Studies by 79–65
13. Philosophers' Imprint loses to Ethics by 185–12, loses to Philosophical Quarterly by 68–63
14. Journal of Moral Philosophy loses to Ethics by 190–4, loses to Philosophical Quarterly by 72–67
15. Economics & Philosophy loses to Ethics by 185–7, loses to Journal of Moral Philosophy by 71–62
16. Ethical Theory & Moral Practice loses to Ethics by 193–10, loses to Economics & Philosophy by 75–57
17. Political Theory loses to Ethics by 185–13, loses to Ethical Theory & Moral Practice by 70–67
18. Australasian Journal of Philosophy loses to Ethics by 191–11, loses to Political Theory by 66–64

That doesn't directly answer the question of the current thread - where to send stuff depends also on matters like speed of turnaround time, openness to papers from junior philosophers (or proper blind review), helpfulness of comments, etc. It does, however, suggest that publishing in JPP or Utilitas is on a similar level to Mind or PPR.

Anonymous said...

Well at least there is some consensus coming out of this thread as regards one issue, perhaps not highlighted before.

Philosophical Studies = bad for epistemologists to submit to.

With any luck the editor reads this thread and might reconsider his current editorial policy.

Anonymous said...

what about the owl of minerva?

Anonymous said...

"Ok, now I am curious: what are the good generalist journals that are favorable to topics in the philosophy of art? I really can't think of any."

Shiiit, don't troll the aestheticians, man. Check out these badasses: judgement and aesthetic properties

CTS said...

Anon 8:34 [originally]:

It's obvious that having a publication in specialty journals in ethics (and I'm not talking about Ethics or PPA here) is not as impressive as having a pub in a "first-tier" (i.e., excellent) general journal like Nous, Mind, JPhil, or PPR, or even a "second tier" (i.e., very good) general journal like Phil Studies, Phil Quarterly, or AJP.

Yes, it is obvious that having an article in a first tier journal is more impressive than having one in a second or third tier journal. I would never debate that rather self-evident fact. My point was that placing in an X tier speciality journal in your specialty might be better than placing in an X tier general journal.

I still think the 'WTF' was gratuitous, although you have surpassed yourself in this respect by now asserting that I do not know WTF I'm talking about.

As a rather old philosopher, I am of the view that such responses are, well, non-responsive. In fact, I think it is obvious that there can be honest and informed differences in beliefs about many matters - especially about the value of publishing in one kind of journal or another.

Perhaps it makes you feel good to insult and deride anyone who dares to take a view different from your own. I wonder what you say to students who adopt such an approach.

Anonymous said...


I apologize if you were insulted by my use of ‘wtf’. My reiteration of ‘wtf’ was supposed to be a joke (i.e., it’s not gratuitous because it expressed the very thing it expresses). But my point in *strenuously* disagreeing with you is that your view is demonstrably false, and potentially pernicious to those who might take it to be a valid position. That was my intention in using ‘wtf’ -- it was not to insult. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with using strong language to get this kind of point across.

On the substantive issue: Here is what you said originally: “…publishing in one of the so-called A+/A general journals may not make the most sense for people in ethics…” You then went on to argue that it’s more impressive to specialists to have pubs in non-A specialty journals since “…they are likely to think more highly of your getting published in the field journals than in a general one.” This is the point I was arguing is clearly false and potentially pernicious, at least when it comes to ethics. The best non-A specialty journals in ethics are the “third tier” journals I mentioned (JoE, ETMP, JMP, JESP) and perhaps one or two other third-tier journals; a pub in any of these is clearly less impressive than a pub in anything remotely plausibly classified as an “A” journal. Your post quite clearly implies that a pub in, e.g., ETMP might be just as impressive (e.g., to a search committee comprised of specialists in ethics) as a pub in, e.g., Phil Quarterly -- and having this impression would be harmful to a grad student who works in ethics.

In your latest post you backed away from this position, saying “My point was that placing in an X tier specialty journal in your specialty might be better than placing in an X tier general journal.” That may have been your point, but it’s not what you said in your original post. In fact your latest claim is probably true. But again, it is a very different claim than your original one.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear about the Journal of Political Philosophy: the editor rejects obviously professional papers--sometimes in less than one hour--whilst knowing the identity of the authors. Ask around and you'll find quite a few people who have been subjected to this treatment. You'll also find that those people tend to be from non-stellar departments.

Some may think that this kind of editorial vetting is desirable because it makes the journal fast. But I'm not sure that's important enough to justice the practice. We have to ask ourselves what a publication in JPP means. Other journals look at a paper, see that it's of a professional nature, then send it for review to the most qualified experts they can find. And then they publish the papers that received the best reviews. A journal like JPP, on the other hand, only uses expert opinion if the paper seems promising or interesting to a single (albeit obviously very qualified) person. That may or may not be questionable, but there is certainly ample room to debate whether it is the best way of running a journal, even a specialist one.

It's worth adding that many anomalies can be spotted in JPP in terms of whose papers are accepted and when papers appear once accepted. Again, ask around to see if I'm lying. If you work in political philosophy you know that these things are true. Political philosophers who don't know this (or pretend not to) are probably in the in-crowd and blind to their own privilege [tongue-in-cheek].

Anonymous said...

In the past two years, my experiences with Mind have been better than my experiences with Phil. Studies. They were epistemology papers.

Anonymous said...

I would also like to hear this news about Analysis. I heard that Michael Clark just nonanonymously looks at the papers and rejects many of them right away. (The rejecting many of them right away will come both with Analysis' being a top, selective journal and also with the benefit of a quick turnaround time. However, I am suspicious about the nonanonymity.)

Anonymous said...

Ad me to the list of people who's had bad experiences with Phil Studies with my epistemology papers. Don't submit your epistemology paper there if you want it blind reviewed.

Anonymous said...

"Don't submit your epistemology paper there if you want it blind reviewed."

But, do if you don't want it blind reviewed. I've seriously thought about changing my views and submitting work. Maybe write up something attacking the work of someone the editor doesn't like.

Anonymous said...

This is Nov 12, 9:11am. I mentioned that I've been on both of the Phil Studies tracks: (1) the quick turnaround, blind review track, and (2) the slow, reviewed by editor track. I should add that the paper on the first track was in metaethics, and the paper on the second was in epistemology. I'm sure this will surprise no one here, but I thought I'd add confirmation to others' claims that it's epistemology papers, and only epistemology papers, that get the bad treatment.

Anonymous said...

I've always found the Southern Journal of Philosophy to be a terrific journal: well run, generalist, and receptive to junior philosophers' work.

CTS said...

Anon 1:26 (this time)

I probably was being hyper-sensitive - spending too much time on blogs at which some of the commenting gets quite unpleasant.

Looking back at my first post, I don't see that I said anything about the 'tier' of the specialty jounrals. But, I think you are correct that that could be interpreted to mean that a non-A level specialty journal is preferable to an A-level general journal.

I agree, this is unlikely a good idea (unless you are trying to please the editor of the former for some reason).

(I cannot quite see the point in fussing about plus/minus in most cases. Certainly, turn-around and usefulness of comments would be more relevant than finer-grained assessemnts of 'level.')

It's possible that I have been around too long and do not fully appreciate the concerns of folks just starting out.

CTS said...

Regarding editors' doing primary reviews (in/out reviews):

I once had a paper rejected very quickly and received a letter from an assistant who said 'the editor is not interested in this topic at this time.' I think that was perfectly within the editor's purview, and it taught me (this was early on) that editors' principles for first cuts will not always match up with what we authors expect.

The paper was quickly picked up at an equally good journal, presumably because the editor was either interested in the topic or had no specific preferences either way.

Of course, this is different from an editor's deciding to send something out for reviews based on personal feelings or questionable judgments about the quality of the submitter's institution. But, I do not see what can be done about the latter cases outside of becoming an editor and not engaging in those practices.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about PPR and Nous. Does anyone have a sense about whether a rejection from the one is also a de facto rejection from the other? I, for one, would feel weird about submitting a paper to PPR that was just rejected from Nous. But if so, doesn't that mean that they are basically run as two branches of a single journal, such that a submission to one is de facto also a submission to the other?

Anonymous said...

If there are concerns about editorial practices at journals, it might be a good idea to report them to the APA's Committee for Defense of the Professional Rights of Philosophers. Info:

Committee Chair
C-William Stephens (2011)

Associate Chair
C-Larry May (2011)

APA Ombudsperson for Nondiscrimination
P-Laurie Shrage (2011)

Committee Members
E-Timothy C. Shiell (2012)
C-Andrew Wible (2012)
C-Christopher R. Green (2013)
C-Paul Saka (2013)
P-Heather Battaly (ex officio) (2011)
C-Julia Driver (ex officio) (2012)
E-Catherine Elgin (ex officio) (2013)

If there are journals, for example, that are not adhering to their own policies concerning blind review, this seems like a good group to contact. While anonymous remarks in blog threads do not constitute evidence, those making the remarks might have evidence that support their claims that they can share with someone who might apply pressure to get things changed. (If the stories are true, it does look like Phil Studies is not adhering to the policy of double blind review for submitted papers:

Anonymous said...

Thanks 3.34.

I have also experienced the two tier system at Phil Studies. Excellent treatment for a Metaphysics paper, poor treatment for an epistemology paper.

I guess the editor feels (justifiably, it must be said) that he was the requisite expertise to referee the epistemology papers himself. However, it does seem like he is not immune to his own professional prejudices and so this completely compromises the blind-review ethos. The journal should clearly state that epistemology papers are reviewed by the editor himself.

This of the utmost importance for young philosophers; hiring/tenure committees must know what having an epistemology paper at phil studies entails.

I, for one, will write to APA about this. But there will only be change on this matter if several others who have had a similar experience write too.

I really urge people not to be lazy about this. As I mentioned, it really does make a difference to how hiring commitees etc. regard one's publication record. The facts about this need to be available!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't want to reveal my identity here, but I'll also write a letter concerning editorial practices at Phil Studies. I hope they can persuade the current editor to change his behavior and wish I could help motivate that without having my name attached to any letters, but I don't want the previous anon to have to do this alone. If you've had similar experiences, I encourage you to send an email to the APA about it.

Anonymous said...

I would worry about the blow back from writing to the APA about a journal's behavior. I don't see how they could do anything without revealing the identities of those who contact them and it could do terrible damage to your career to piss off someone as well connected as the editor of a major journal. I for one will likely never get a paper into Phil Studies and don't like how its run, but I don't think it's prudent to go on record about it. Fwiw.

Anonymous said...

I also think it would be unwise to write to the APA. The behaviour of people like the editors of Phil Studies and J. of Political Philosophy can only be stopped by people who are at least as powerful as them. But often those people don't have any incentives to take action, and they may even have incentives to maintain the status quo.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a better way of getting people's attention on the Phil Studies issue (or indeed any other relevant issue) is to get the problem on at Leiter Reports. Anyone know a good way of doing that?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure on this, but I believed Analysis had an editorial assistant, so the submissions reach the editor having been anonymised. I think this has only changed recently. Anyone else know otherwise?

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I submitted an epistemology paper to phil studies about 5 years ago as a grad student. It was blind reviewed; I know this because the referee later outed himself to me. Also, there was a little spat between the referee and me. I thought his comments were crap and I wrote a letter to the editor explaining why. The editor dealt with the issue graciously and fairly.

Mr. Zero said...

Perhaps a better way of getting people's attention on the Phil Studies issue ... is to get the problem on at Leiter Reports. Anyone know a good way of doing that?

I assume the best way to get something onto Leiter Reports is to email Brian Leiter. However, I would be more than moderately surprised if Leiter were to publish a post publicly admonishing the editor of Phil Studies over his editorial policies.

Probably a better thing would be to contact various members of the editorial board. Probably those people have real influence over how the journal is run and possibly would be willing to use it. If you could convince a critical mass of those people that there was a genuine problem that needed to be corrected, you might be able to make some progress. The APA & Brian Leiter strategies don't strike me as winners.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of publishing work in aesthetics: the "isolation" of analytic aesthetics and philosophy of art (see Alex Neill's "The Isolation of Aesthetics") suggests that attracting an audience of the relevant specialists really requires publishing in the JAAC or the BJA. (Hume scholars and Kant scholars love their specialty journals and their specialty meetings, of course, but they seem to me less isolated than philosophers of art have made themselves.)

That said, submitting work to excellent journals that claim to be "general" journals is one way to fight back against the negative effects of isolation.

Anonymous said...

I think people who want to pursue the Phil Studies thing should get clear, maybe amongst themselves, what exactly the accusation is. I've read through the discussion here pretty carefully and it's not clear to *me* what the wrongful behavior is alleged to be.

Disclosure: I'm not an epistemologist; I have sent stuff to Phil Studs; I was treated just fine.

Anonymous said...

"I think people who want to pursue the Phil Studies thing should get clear, maybe amongst themselves, what exactly the accusation is. I've read through the discussion here pretty carefully and it's not clear to *me* what the wrongful behavior is alleged to be."

Here's an argument that something untoward has happened:
1. The journal claims to follow a double-blind reviewing procedure.
2. It does not.
C. The journal makes a false claim about its own editorial procedures.

I'm not a Kantian, but I think you should have good reasons for breaking your own editorial policies without letting everyone know that this has happened. I would say that making false claims about the editorial practice is itself a wrong, but there are additional wrongs others might have in mind.

Anyway, this seems like a good argument. There might be doubts about (2), but I for one have the emails that show that (2) is true. I suspect that others do as well. We can argue about whether there are additional wrongs that arise because of (2), but isn't this argument sufficient? One accusation is simply that they misrepresent their own editorial practices. There are various reasons for worrying about this, but this is an accusation that many think holds up.

I worry about making this public as the last thing I need is the editor of Phil Studies as an enemy. I think it would be unwise for others to contact the APA and put yourself at any risk of retaliation.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1.56's assesment about what the issue is re. Phil Studies.

It's a sad state of affairs, however, that people don't have a way of complaining about it without endangering their own position.

Perhaps it's possible to convince Leiter to open up a general thread about the role of editors in the peer-review process?

Anonymous said...

(This is 1:18 again.)

Okay, it just wasn't clear to me what the evidence for (2) was supposed to be.

I think it's a little silly to worry about Stewart Cohen being vindictive and trying to ruin your career, but far be it from me to advise someone on a matter like this. (That is to say: what do I know?)

Anonymous said...

"Okay, it just wasn't clear to me what the evidence for (2) was supposed to be."

Fair enough. I couldn't tell whether you thought it didn't matter whether (2) was true or whether you didn't know why people thought (2) was true. I can't speak for what evidence others have, but mine came in email form. Not that that's much evidence for you, of course, but it's enough for me.

Anonymous said...

This is Nov 12, 9:11 and Nov 16, 6:30. I also have an email from Stewart Cohen (Phil Studies editor) explaining to me that he is refereeing my paper himself. It's not as if he's terribly shy about it or is trying to keep it a secret. But I do wish it were clear on the website that the editor might referee the paper. (I also don't know whether he reviews them blind. If so, this is one more reason why it should be clear up front that the editor might review a paper: some authors email editors to check the status of their papers, and doing so might unblind an otherwise blinded editor/referee.)

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:56 here.

"I also don't know whether he reviews them blind"

I received an email from his email address at my email address (not through manuscript central) telling me that he was going to referee a paper and asking questions about other matters that indicated the review wouldn't be blind. Eventually received thorough comments. I don't think his intentions are all bad. It might be that he's trying to offer genuinely useful feedback and trying to deal with a shortage of reliable referees. Still, there should be disclosure upfront and everyone should be aware of the fact that most of us aren't aware of our own biases. Under the usual arrangement, these biases can wash out. Under this arrangement, not so much.

Anonymous said...

To counterbalance some of the PhilStudies lamenting; I recently pubished an epistemological paper in PhilStudies: it was blind reviewed by an external referee in a very decent amount of time (3 months). I also have a colleague who has recently published a paper in PhilStudies, also on epistemology. Perhaps we were lucky?
My experiences with Analysis, unfortunately, do conform to what some commentors are saying: very speedy rejections by the editor (often they were faster than the time the mail service predicted it would take the snail-mail copy to arrive at them).

Anonymous said...

"To counterbalance some of the PhilStudies lamenting; I recently pubished an epistemological paper in PhilStudies: it was blind reviewed by an external referee in a very decent amount of time (3 months). I also have a colleague who has recently published a paper in PhilStudies, also on epistemology. Perhaps we were lucky? "

Yes, it sounds like it. I had to wait 9+ months for the editor to ref the last two things I sent in. The reasons offered for rejection seemed picky (to put it mildly). I'm happy to say that both went out to other journals where I received R&Rs with helpful comments in under 4 months.

Thom Brooks said...

Let me speak up as a journal editor, co-chair of the Association of Philosophy Journal Editors, and a member of an APA subcommittee looking into journal practices.

First, there is clearly a need for more uniform or at least more transparant review procedures. We are working on this front now, as well as guidelines for referees. (Watch out for Leiter's blog next week on this.)

Secondly, I was surprised to find journals like the Journal of Moral Philosophy ( referred to as part of a "third tier" of journals. The JMP is ranked "B" in the ERIH rankings (A, B, C) and "A" in the more influential ARC's ERA rankings (A*, A, B, C). Journals ranked the same as us include the Journal of Political Philosophy.

I would highly recommend the JMP -- of course, I'd say this as I'm editor and founder. We are popular (more than 220 submissions this year thus far) and selective (with an acceptance rate of less than 8%). Our review process is one of the best with 85% of all submissions reviewed in 6-8 weeks or less. How's that for a pitch?

Anonymous said...


I'm one of the people who have bitched about Phil Studies and various other things at other times. I want to thank Thom Brooks for his work with the APA and a number of things he's done for the profession. His advice on getting published in philosophy was very helpful and my limited experience with JMP suggests that it is a very well run journal.

Thanks, Thom.

Some anonymous guy

Thom Brooks said...

You are most welcome!