Academic Journals During the Pandemic

A reader inquires about how the pandemic and the various institutional responses to it, such as university closures, have affected the operation of academic journals.

I asked a few editors about this, and a common answer has been that while policies and practices haven’t changed, they imagine that the extra responsibilities academics are facing might slow things down.

Ernest Sosa (Rutgers), editor-in-chief of Noûs and Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, says:

The pandemic has had no effect on the policies or expectations nor (as far as I can tell) on the operation of either Nous or PPR, except only that some of our decisions may be delayed slightly because of the unanticipated demands faced by our editors and reviewers.

Andrea Woody (Washington), editor-in-chief of Philosophy of Science, says:

Currently, journal practices have not changed for Philosophy of Science. We are, however, seeing a trend of potential reviewers declining invitations because of changes in their obligations due to the coronavirus pandemic (for example, child care in the wake of closed schools). We anticipate that this will slow the process of article review, although at this time it is hard to judge how significant that effect will be or estimate the delay that will be a consequence. We will work to minimize delays while ensuring that papers are read by appropriate reviewers. The Editorial Team will be in conversation as we move forward and make any changes that seem required, but our priority will be to keep things running as best we can. We understand that authors will still be eager for timely review and publication of their papers.


Brian Weatherson (Michigan), an editor at Philosophers’ Imprint, says:

We are all online so in the first instance it hasn’t changed much. But a lot of the editors have extra responsibilities now – e.g., redesigning classes for online teaching, or looking after children whose schools or preschool have closed. And I imagine the same is true for most of our referees. So I expect things will move a bit slower than they normally do. But it will be the same system, just a bit slower. 

S. Matthew Liao (NYU), editor of the Journal of Moral Philosophy, also reported that “JMP’s policies and expectations remain the same.” He did express curiosity about whether there are reasons to change any policies or procedures at the journals, so, readers, if you have thoughts on this, feel free to voice them in the comments.

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