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A Closer Look at Philosophy Journal Practices (two updates)

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❶What'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. Your email address will not be published.

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However, it is a widely albeit not universally held norm that graduate students should know about. Posted by Jon Cogburn on 08 June at Reblog 0 Digg This Save to del. Art, Politics, Philosophy, Science A group blog with people from all over the map.

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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. I think things have changed. Used to be great. First referee told me to remove a certain section, because I was arguing against a position that wasn't worth arguing against.

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. It hasn't been my experience. Other useful links on journals: This wiki has useful info on decision times, acceptance rates, etc: It can be useful to get comments on a paper, whether it is rejected or accepted.

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.

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. 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. The American Philosophical Quarterly is extremely well run, in my experience: Ethical Theory and Moral Practice was a bit slower, but still decent: Also, I receieved one very helpful report.

I think I've been on both tracks of the Phil Studies process: 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. 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. Very interesting and useful comments. 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.

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.

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? I just want to second the idea that there may be a "two-tier" system 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. 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.

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.

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

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.

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. 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.

Given that generalist journals are so highly regarded as compared to specialized journals: 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. Ok, now I am curious: I really can't think of any. 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.

If we're dealing with a double-blind process, and so the editor is rejecting stuff without knowing names, affiliations, etc. 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. 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. I wish I worked with him. I'm not November 13, 6: 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. November 11, 8: 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.

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.

Some new holiday drink? 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. 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.

Again, what matters is the prestige and quality of the journal, not its status as specialty or general. 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.

To the list of what you call third-tier "good" specialty journals I would add Social Theory and Practice. Brian Weatherson's journal survey http: 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: Journal of Philosophy loses to Ethics by —16, loses to Philosophical Review by 78—67 5.

Journal of Political Philosophy loses to Ethics by —12, loses to Journal of Philosophy by 92—69 6. Nous loses to Ethics by —18, loses to Journal of Political Philosophy by 84—69 7. Mind loses to Ethics by —19, loses to Utilitas by 80—68 Philosophical Studies loses to Ethics by —16, loses to Mind by 85—58 Philosophers' Imprint loses to Ethics by —12, loses to Philosophical Quarterly by 68—63 Australasian Journal of Philosophy loses to Ethics by —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.

Well at least there is some consensus coming out of this thread as regards one issue, perhaps not highlighted before. With any luck the editor reads this thread and might reconsider his current editorial policy.

Check out these badasses: 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. On the substantive issue: Here is what you said originally: Your post quite clearly implies that a pub in, e.

In fact your latest claim is probably true. But again, it is a very different claim than your original one. Just to be clear about the Journal of Political Philosophy: 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]. In the past two years, my experiences with Mind have been better than my experiences with Phil.

They were epistemology papers. 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. 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.

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.

This is Nov 12, 9: I mentioned that I've been on both of the Phil Studies tracks: 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.

I've always found the Southern Journal of Philosophy to be a terrific journal: 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. Certainly, turn-around and usefulness of comments would be more relevant than finer-grained assessemnts of 'level. 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.

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. 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? 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.

Committee Chair C-William Stephens stphns creighton. Green C-Paul Saka P-Heather Battaly ex officio C-Julia Driver ex officio E-Catherine Elgin ex officio 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: 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. 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. The facts about this need to be available!!! 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. 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.

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Journal Survey. The BPA and the APA have collaborated in surveying 43 Philosophy Journals. The survey was conducted at the end of , and gathered data about the journals’ submission rates, acceptance rates, the turn-around time for their review process over the previous 3 years (, and - some journals have also submitted data). A Closer Look at Philosophy Journal Practices (two updates) By Ernest Sosa, editor of Noûs and Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Executive Committee for final decision. Decisions include rejection, revise and resubmit, conditional acceptance, and acceptance. Our acceptance rate is around 5%. Categories Publishing.