Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I wish to register a complaint...

I was thinking about a follow-up to the last thread, on your pet peeves re: journals, journal editing practices, etc. But there's this: SciRev has a database collecting data/reviews of journals. The info on philosophy journals is pretty sparse, but you can populate it with info on turnaround times, number of reviews, etc.

Providing this info can, of course, be useful to your fellow philosophers. So do it. Inconveniently, you have to register to review journals, but you can see the ratings without registering, if you're okay with being a free rider.

You can also complain anonymously here. Or heap praise upon the virtuous, as the case may be.



Anonymous said...

I saw somebody else post about this SciRev thing as well. Sounds good, but I always thought Andy Cullison's surveys were already helpful. Is SciRev better in some way?

timeonhands said...

Mr. Praline: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.
Owner: We're closin' for lunch.
Mr. Praline: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this journal to which I submitted a manuscript not half a year ago.
Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Philosophical Review...What's, uh...What's wrong with it?
Mr. Praline: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it!
Owner: No, no, it's uh,...it's resting.
Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead journal when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
Owner: No no it's not dead, it's, it's restin'! Remarkable journal, the Philosophical Review, idn'it, ay? Beautiful website!
Mr. Praline: The website don't enter into it. It's stone dead.
Owner: Nononono, no, no! It's resting!
Mr. Praline: All right then, if it's restin', I'll wake it up! (writing an e-mail) 'Ello, Mister Editor! I've got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you reply...
(automatic reply arrives in inbox)
Owner: There, it replied!
Mr. Praline: No, it didn't, that was an automatic reply!
Owner: It never!!
Mr. Praline: Yes, it was!
(yelling and e-mailing repeatedly) 'ELLO EDITOR!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!
(Takes laptop off of the desk and thumps it on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)
Mr. Praline: Now that's what I call a dead journal.
Owner: No, no.....No, it's stunned!
Mr. Praline: STUNNED?!?
Owner: Yeah! You stunned it, just as it was wakin' up! Philosophical Reviews stun easily, major.
Mr. Praline: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That journal is definitely deceased, and when I submitted a manuscript not 'alf a year ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged festschrift.
Owner: Well, it's...it's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.
Mr. Praline: PININ' for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, Look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment I sent in the manuscript?
Owner: The Philosophical Review prefers keepin' on it's back! Remarkable journal, id'nit, squire? Lovely website!
Mr. Praline: It's bleedin' demised!
Owner: No no! It's pining!
Mr. Praline: It's not pinin'! It's passed on! This journal is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! Its editorial processes are now 'istory! It's off the web! It's kicked the bucket, it's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-JOURNAL!!
Owner: Well, I'd better replace it, then. (he takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop, and uh, we're right out of journals.
Mr. Praline: I see. I see, I get the picture.
Owner: (pause) I got a vanity press.
Mr. Praline: Pray, does it get read?
Owner: Nnnnot really.
Owner: N-no, I guess not. (gets ashamed, looks at his feet)
Mr. Praline: Well.

Anonymous said...

What 11:01 says.

Anonymous said...

Thirding what 11:01 says.

Here is a link to Cullison's awesome surveys:

Anonymous said...

11:37 - its "kipping'", not "keeping'". Jeez, don't they teach English slang in schools anymore?

Anonymous said...

Just keep contributing to Cullison's. Those are better

Anonymous said...

Dido 11:01 and 12:59. Also, isn't it best if everyone submits their wait times to one place (rather than some to Cullison, others to SciRev, others to (I think there was a wiki at one time?)? We want lots of data in one place, right?

Anonymous said...

The only thing that SciRev seems to have that Cullison's survey doesn't is anecdotal information. Nevertheless, I think people should definitely update the latter with each decision they get.

Molly Mahony said...

This site will also give links to databases and blogs that have information on journal publications and response times. Some are subscription databases, so you must check to see if your institution subscribes: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/philosophy/tannerlibrary/journals

zombie said...

Well, the more the merrier, I say. Cullison's info is good but... he's missing a lot of journals in my specialty. (I know, you can ask to have them added. I've asked. I don't doubt he's probably BUSY.)

Hey, it would be useful if PhilPapers had this data too. That's what I really want. One stop shopping. And journal-shaming.

Anonymous said...

I think it's unfortunate that you have to register - with full name, detailed person info, etc - to post data to Sci Rev. What junior faculty member wants to tell anyone (non-anonymously) that such-and-such journal rejected their paper in 8 weeks?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps an interesting thread idea, off topic: how often are we asked to review? I wonder sometimes about my referees - whether junior or senior, how often they get asked to review, etc.

For my part: I am about a year removed from Ph.D., at a post-doc. I've reviewed 17-18 papers so far (can't remember exactly) over this year and the last year or so of my Ph.D. I've never said accept, though I have two R&R verdicts out there I hope to get back, and I've seen two papers I said reject to appear (one in a different journal, one in the same journal).

Interestingly, I used to get only total crap papers, but lately (as editors started to know a bit about me?) I've begun to get much better papers.

zombie said...

5:41 -- that's a lot of papers! I review for several journals, but I doubt I've reviewed 17 papers in the last 5 years.
Like you, I am finding that the papers I get lately are much better quality than the ones I used to get. Although I've seen some pretty terrible papers.

Anonymous said...

I'll play along, 5.41.

19 papers reviewed this year. I am relatively senior.

Anonymous said...

ABD here. Two papers reviewed this year (technically, two versions of one paper).

Anonymous said...

As an Associate Prof I've reviewed three papers this year (one of these for a second time). I've also reviewed two largish post-doc applications.

Anonymous said...

Incoming Assistant here (three years out). I reviewed five papers this academic year. One was initially R&R and then later accepted. The others were rejections of varying quality. I can't imagine reviewing 17 papers a year. That seems like a really imprudent use of one's time.

Anonymous said...

How does getting invited to review papers work? Do only journals in which you've published ask you to review? Or once you've published in a field do journals come and seek you out?

Jamie Dreier said...

In general, you’re asked to referee once you’ve done something to get the attention of an editor. If you’ve published one article in the area and people are talking about it, that usually gets you on referee lists. Another way is for someone who gets a lot of refereeing requests to suggest you as an alternative.

To the person who refereed 17 papers in the last year and a half, on behalf of journal editors (and the profession at large): thank you! That’s a lot. And to the person who has already refereed 19 this year… wow. I always knew some people must be doing extra to take up the slack left by the philosophers who always decline my requests to referee, but that is a whole lot of slack for one person to be taking up.

zombie said...

@11:57 -- I am mostly asked to review by journals in which I have been published. But not all of the journals in which I am published have asked me to review papers.

I have also been asked to review by editors who know me personally.

I am currently guest editing a special issue of a journal, and I look for reviewers who have expertise in the subject area of the paper. (And I'm happy to say that we have not had trouble finding good reviewers, and they've all been quite prompt.)

If you need to fill out the "professional service" section of your CV and have a lot of spare time and want to waste it reviewing, I get invitations all the time to sit on the editorial boards of predatory open access journals, and once you're on the board, they'll ask you to review papers. But I would not recommend that route, since anyone can check Beall's List and see that it's a crummy journal.

You can also sometimes volunteer to review submissions for conferences.

Anonymous said...

It is unclear how the editor decided to invite me to review. My guess is that he asked someone else, who declined, but recommended me.


Anonymous said...

Just today I was asked to review a paper by a journal I recently submitted to, but which rejected my paper.

Anonymous said...

I'm the guy who said he's reviewed 19 papers this year. Its now 21. 11.01 pm says that's an imprudent use of time and zombie says its a waste of time. Here's the thing: I am willing to bet a lot of money that I'm a lot more productive than you are. I publish a lot, and while I can't claim that its all great stuff (alright, I can't claim that any of it is *great* stuff), I am hitting the top journals in my field on occasions (including several papers in Healy-4 journals). So, sorry people: you don't know what you're talking about. I'm keeping up with my field by reviewing a lot and its forcing me to think about issues in new ways. Come back and tell me I'm wasting my time when your strategy pays off as well as mine.

Disclaimed: I'm not saying my strategy is right for everyone. I am saying that you telling me I'm wasting my time is so much crap.

Anonymous said...


If you're reviewing that much, I bet you turn your reviews back in a timely manner.

If that's the case, please stop. We can't have you raising the bar for others.

zombie said...

5:41/7:05: Just to be clear, I never said it was a waste of your time. I only said that was a lot of reviewing, which was in no way intended to be a judgment of how you use your time.
If you can review that many papers and still get your own work done, more power to you. It's never a waste of time to serve as a referee -- it is an essential job that we should all be doing.

I was surprised that you were *asked* to review that many papers, actually. And, I guess, surprised that you would agree to review that many. But thanks for holding up your end!

Anonymous said...

Zombie's last:

"I never said it was a waste of your time"

Zombie @ 7:53

"If you need to fill out the "professional service" section of your CV and have a lot of spare time and want to waste it reviewing..."

zombie said...

7:39: I see where you got that. There I was replying to 11:57's query about how one gets invited to be a reviewer, and I was referring specifically to reviewing for predatory open access journals (as I said), which I DO think is a waste of time (having done it once). I was not suggesting that YOU were reviewing for such journals, and I assume you are not (although if you are, I would indeed say you're wasting your time doing so).

GradQuestion said...

Hey smokers--

Question for y'all. Do you think it is okay, after having a paper accepted by a good, top-20 journal, to e-mail it along to some of the "big names" in the field? Try to get my name out there, show them the new research, etc., etc. Or is that not the sort of thing that is done in the profession? Thanks!

Anonymous said...


Are you under the impression that "big names" don't read top-20 journals?

Anonymous said...


I don't think that would be a very wise decision. First of all, if I was a "big name" in philosophy I would get pissed if everytime some junior persion (or even some other big name) published in a top-20 journal they jammed up my email inbox with requests to read their paper. Secondly, if your paper is on a salient issue in your field, and it is a good paper, then I think you can fairly reasonable expect that the big name people in your field will read it. so why risk alienating them by pushing it on them on speculatively. Thirdly, this is anecdotal, by I have never heard of anyone doing this, nor has it ever been suggested to me that I should. Finally, there is a process for getting your work out there/socializing, go to conferences, make connections, write good papers and let time sort out the rest.

Anonymous said...

"Finally, there is a process for getting your work out there/socializing, go to conferences, make connections, write good papers and let time sort out the rest."

You forgot the most relevant one for this situation: "having a paper accepted by a good, top-20 journal."

Are we really at the point where publishing in a to-20 journal doesn't count as getting one's work out there?


zombie said...

2:40. I can't think of a single reason in favor of doing that, and several reasons not to.

Anonymous said...

Zombie, what are the "several reasons" not to do that, if you wouldn't mind saying?

zombie said...

All of the reasons cited by 7:23.
If you're looking for a job, then by all means send your great paper along with your job dossier. Otherwise, sending your paper to people seems like the equivalent of a telemarketer cold-calling. You can safely assume that if your paper interests the "big names," they'll read it. I think you can also safely assume that, if they're not interested in reading it, some of those "big names" will be mildly annoyed that you're stuffing your paper in their e-mailbox.

Anonymous said...


I disagree with the general sentiment here, though I wouldn't suggest that you do exactly what you're thinking about.

There's nothing wrong with sending an unsolicited paper to someone you have strong reason to think would be interested -- such as that it is on their work, or a topic they're worked on, or if you were inspired by something they'd written. That's hardly unheard of: I've done it (when I was junior) and had it done to me not infrequently (now that I'm senior). Once upon a time, a very big-shot philosopher read a paper I sent to him, and wrote back a tremendously flattering note, and I ended up getting a letter of recommendation out of it.

From my current perspective, I can always manage to write a "thanks a lot for your paper, I look forward to reading it" reply, when it's obvious that someone has read my work and isn't just sending it to me because I've got a fancy position.

Sometimes I even read it.

Btw and slightly off-topic: folks around here also seems to believe that philosophers read others' work way more than I think they do.