Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's That Time of Year Again

Yes. It's that time of year. The time of year where I don't get any writing done for eight or ten weeks while I revise my application materials, enter a bunch of application data into a spreadsheet, customize my cover letters, send out applications, electronically submit a bunch of other applications, study for interviews, wait around to hear from search committees, plan for the possibility of a job talk, and drink.

Even if I had the same amount of teaching, and even if there was committee work and other non-teaching responsibilities on top of that, I still feel like a tenure-track job would leave me with a shit-ton of extra time, just because I wouldn't have to keep looking for a tenure-track job anymore.

So, if it's not too much trouble, I'd really appreciate it if someone would offer me one.

Thanks and best wishes,

--Mr. Zero

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reluctantly Crouched at the Starting Line (As Always)

I haven't ever been excited about the start of job market season. And I've been progressively less excited each year for the past few years. But I was still kind of surprised to discover how much I'm not looking forward to being on the job market again. I started getting my materials together and it just hit me. Like a black rock in my guts. Ugh.

When I finished my dissertation and started teaching on the VAP circuit, I sort of thought that if I was a hard worker and did what I was supposed to do--if I did a good job teaching my classes and published a lot--then I would eventually snag a TT position somewhere. I didn't think it was a guarantee, or anything. But based on what happened to people I went to grad school with, and to people whose degrees are from departments similar to mine, I thought I had a decent chance. I was trying to be realistic about it, but I was also at least a little optimistic, insofar as that's a possible combination. And so, although I wasn't in love with it or anything, I didn't have too much trouble getting myself motivated to go on the market in the fall.

But the past couple of years have been different. Although I believe in what I'm doing, and I'm proud of what I've accomplished, I'm not getting the results I want. It keeps happening, and the job market keeps not bouncing back. It gets harder to get myself moving on all the shit I need to do before the JFP drops. Blah.

Anyways, here's some Cake for your enjoyment. I hope everyone's prowess is potent this year. Especially mine.

--Mr. Zero

Friday, September 14, 2012

Is your PhD nearing its expiration date?

Over on Leiter's blog, he spotlights a couple of job ads (not in philosophy) where a requirement is a recent PhD (in one case, 2009 or later, in another, 2010 or later). Like this one
Applicants must have received the PhD or equivalent degree in the past three years (2009 or later), or show clear evidence of planned receipt of the degree by the beginning of employment.
So there you have it. Don't bother applying, you loser, if your degree is more than three years old. We'd rather hire an ABD. Also, how stupid of you to graduate during a recession. There's nothing in the ad that says something reasonable like "recent PhD and/or evidence of active scholarship." Nope. Fresh PhDs or ABDs only.

An argument for holding out on defending that diss, if you can, until you've got a job. And also, I guess, avoiding those pesky, time-consuming fellowships. This strikes me as nuts. I mean, I know we've all been told a PhD can get stale. But three years? Two years?! I've got food in my pantry that's older than that.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Philosopher's Imprint and Submission Fees

I've been following this discussion at Leiter about how Philosopher's Imprint is charging a $20 submission fee. I didn't have much to say about it, except the obvious--it seems like a really bad idea that would unfairly burden the unemployed, underemployed, non-tenure-track people, and graduate students. I strongly agree with "Third year on the job market," who writes:

I get the sense that people are making nuanced points here whereas it gets ignored (or understated) how TERRIBLE this move is for those of us who don't have a TT job and who are either grad students or doing temp jobs in a bid to secure a TT job (and, arguably, this is the group of philosophers that are the most desperate to have a publication in an excellent journal like PI).

Someone has to say this: Don't do that, Phil Imprint, just don't.

Part of the appeal of Phil Imprint was its democratic vision: everyone can read the papers published in this journal. But this new move cancels out this democratic vision as now not everyone can submit to this journal...*

I strongly disagree with David Wallace, who writes:

Actually, just picking up on Daniel Kaufman's point (which appeared while I was writing my last):

(A) I don't have a problem with the idea that the institution of a contributor to a magazine should pay the magazine to print that contribution.
(B) I don't have a problem with the idea that the institutions of junior faculty should have to pay their journals in order for junior faculty to submit to them.

If your institution isn't meeting your legitimately-incurred work-related expenses, that's a different matter, but it's not clear journals can do much about that.*

What Wallace doesn't seem to understand is that, for those of us not on the tenure track, this is not how it works at all. At all. My job comes with no research requirement or any official expectation that research will be done. If I want to do research, I am free to do so. But obviously I have to do research if I ever want a better job or if I want to stay in this profession long-term. Research is a practical necessity. But if I do research, I have to do it on my own time, and I am on my own. They're not going to pay any submission or contributor's fees for me. And so this idea leaves me and everyone like me completely stranded.

--Mr. Zero

* Emphases added. The ellipsis was in the original.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The PhilPapers Off-Campus Access Proxy Widget is Awesome

Maybe this is old news. I've been using PhilPapers for a few years, but had never bothered to heed its suggestion to configure PhilPapers for off-campus browsing until recently. What in the fuck was I waiting for? It's awesome.

The old way was, look stuff up on PhilPapers (or google scholar or whatever); find the bibliographic data; go to my school's library homepage; log into JSTOR; hope the journal is available on JSTOR; if not, look up the journal in the card catalog thing; log into the journal directly; and then have all the more recent stuff walled off for some reason, even though my school's library subscribes to the journal.

With this, I can just find the paper on PhilPapers and click the link. BOOM. Got it.

(The reason why I didn't bother with this before is, I pretty much used to do all my reading, writing, and research at the office. There were occasional exceptions, but as a general rule, I did not work from home. Since Junior came to stay with us, though, things are different. I have to work around his and Mrs. Zero's schedules, which often means I'm homebound for the day and must squeeze various professional tasks in during naps and junk like that. Having a kid has meant ratcheting up my efficiency level in a way that does not come at all naturally to me.)

Thanks PhilPapers people.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Update on New JFP

In comments, anon 9:19 points out that the APA has provided more information about the forthcoming relaunch of the JFP, here. There are some nice-looking screenshots. It looks like job listings will be color-coded according to type, and ads will include a google map of the location of the school. And I kind of like the "JFP" logo.

According to the update, the new JFP will also include the following features:

  • Post their resume/CV. Employers with active listings will have the ability to browse resumes and contact job seekers directly.
  • Search by keyword or filter by rank, AOS/AOC, location, and duration.
  • Save active job listings and return to them later.
  • Choose to receive an email notification when new jobs are posted.

I think it looks pretty good. One thing I wonder about is, will it be easier than before to export the data from the job ads into a spreadsheet, so I can do a mail-merge without having to enter it all by hand? That would be nice. Not that I'm complaining.

--Mr. Zero

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Springer Plus?

A fellow smoker writes in with a question or two:
I recently received a rejection from a Springer Journal and then a few days later got the below email...I'd love to hear if anyone else has done this and/or thoughts on whether it would be beneficial, or not.
The e-mail our friend received:
Recently you submitted your manuscript to a Springer journal. At that time the Editor-in-chief indicated that your manuscript unfortunately could not be published in his journal, but he/she considered it very well suitable for publication in the new Open Access journal SpringerPlus: 
SpringerPlus accepts manuscripts from all disciplines of Science and publishes all that are scientifically sound. SpringerPlus will not reject a manuscript because it is out of scope or for its perceived importance, novelty or ability to attract citations and it will either accept your manuscript for publication or not, you will not be asked for additional research. You can find more information about the journal at 
Benefits of transferring your submission of this manuscript to SpringerPlus may include: 
• easier publication and dissemination of your work, saving time finding and submitting to an alternative publisher • faster publication, we will transfer your manuscript record and reviewer comments to the suggested journal for you; • reaching the right audience for your work. 
Please note: SpringerPlus articles are free to read, an Open Access article processing fee (APC) is charged to cover all the costs associated with the publication of your article. Your institute or funding body may be a member of SpringerOpen or BioMedCentral, covering for the fee entirely or in part. A full list of members can be found on the SpringerOpen website: Ability to pay the this charge does not affect editorial decisions, waivers can be requested and we routinely waive charges for authors who are unable to pay.
I'm not sure what to think about this. As suggested by the website, SpringerPlus does not seem to function like SSRN or Arvix: not just anyone can upload papers and the papers that are published have made it through peer-review. It's also open access (yay!) and there are fee waivers for publishing (ugh on the fee, but yay for the waiver). And, depending on how tenure requirements are interpreted by your institution, a peer-reviewed publication here probably counts towards tenure. You also don't need to complete any more research, which, if you're happy with the paper, is a positive. So far, so good. 

However, I think the downside probably has to do with audience. 16 papers have been published so far, all in the sciences. They do get a decent amount of hits - the most being 2797 Accesses for "Chronic traumatic encephalopathy: the dangers of getting 'dinged'" (a paper whose numbers are probably inflated by people interested in the long-term damages of playing football). But, I'm not sure how many professional philosophers are aware of SpringerPlus (I wasn't); so you might not find much of an audience. The audience you do find, because the journal is so new, might not be inclined to take a paper in SpringerPlus seriously (Why there and not somewhere more established? Is it a vanity press? Why are they in a rush to publish?). Though I would worry about perceptions, I resent having such worries. After all, I  hope that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So, maybe if you do publish there and can find a way to spread the word about the paper, it will find an audience. But, I'm skeptical that our fellow philosophers will take the paper as seriously as they would were it published in a "proper" philosophy journal. I reserve the right to be proven wrong on that front.

My not especially considered judgment: if you don't need the paper out immediately, can devote a bit more time to revising it and then waiting for another review, do that. If not, go with SpringerPlus and think about ways to direct people to your paper.

 -- Jaded, Ph.D.