Making Philosophy Journal Statistics Publicly Available

Philipp Blum, one of the co-editors of the journal, dialectica, has a request for other journal editors:

I think it would be very helpful if philosophy journals would make
publicly available much more information on acceptance rates and
submission statistics.

He notes that dialectica  has been doing this for 14 years; check out these charts and graphs, which could serve as a model for other journals. Here are some of the kinds of information he has in mind, using dialetica’s stats as an example:

– The acceptance rate over the last ten years is 8.36% (2320
submissions, of which 194 were accepted).
– In 2013, 28 articles were published (a total of 611 pages; 549
excluding commissioned book reviews). Of 298 articles submitted in 2013,
34 were accepted.
– Turn-around time is reasonably quick (median of 3 months) and
backlog is small (currently accepted papers are published in 4/2014).
– Currently, about 12% of our submissions are authored by women. This
has been constant over the last 14 years and is surprising, given that
about a third of PhDs and a quarter of jobs in philosophy are (held) by
women. The acceptance rate of female submissions (16%) is higher than
the one of male submissions (14%).
– Between 2007 and 2013, 28% of our submissions came from people working
in the US, 20% from the UK, 6% from both Germany and Canada, 5% from
Italy, 4% from Spain, and 3% from each of Australia, Spain and
Switzerland. 12% of the submissions come from Asia (mostly Israel,
China, Iran and Hong Kong) and only 1% from Africa.

He also has questions about the low submission rate for women:

I would also be particularly interested in knowing what explains the low percentage of submissions by female philosophers. According to Sally Haslanger, in 2013 31.4% of philosophy PhDs in the US were earned by women. According to Kathryn Norlock, 21% of employed philosophers in the US are women. The BPA-SwipUK report for 2008-2011 says that in the UK 29% of philosophy PhDs were completed by women and that they are 24% of permanent staff. All these numbers are well above the 12% of female authors submitting to dialectica.

Readers should note the existence of Andrew Cullison’s Journal Surveys site, which gets its information from those who have submitted articles to the journals. Additionally, there was a brief discussion regarding the release of such data at Letters from the Editor.

Is the public disclosure of such information something you would find useful? Editors, is this a reasonable request? Which other journals are good at disclosing this information? And are there any thoughts on Blum’s question regarding journal submissions from women?

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Thom Brooks
6 years ago

Perhaps the biggest open secret in philosophy is such data is readily available. I’m shocked so few appear to have heard of – or seen – the two volume directory of philosophy and philosophers published annually by the Philosophy Documentation Center. This was my first guidebook to the profession listing all philosophers, philosophical societies, publishers of philosophy – and philosophy journals, including information about submissions, acceptance rates, distribution, subject-matters, etc. A treasure trove of invaluable information.

Also of interest is a recent APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy from 2010 arising from an APA-Eastern panel I was on with information about submissions/acceptances by gender at the Journal of Moral Philosophy and elsewhere, plus a ton of fascinating information (as per the usual with that Newsletter).Report

Tait Szabo
Tait Szabo
6 years ago

Our APA is way behind a different APA:

Catherine Legg
Catherine Legg
6 years ago

I think it’s fairly clear that on the whole men submit more papers to journals than women. A policy of ‘submit early, submit often’ seems to be what our profession is currently rewarding, so the behavior grows up accordingly, *except* that it is also the case that in our profession putting underdeveloped and sloppy work out in public attracts greater reputational penalties for women than men. So women are more conflicted in their submitting, then told in job applications that they ‘don’t publish enough’ to be in the running against male applicants at the same career stage as them, or youngerReport

6 years ago

While this may explain the slightly higher acceptance rate of submissions by female philosophers, I do not think it explains the whole difference. My guess is that it might have to do with dialectica’s focus (on systematic and theoretical philosophy, not so much on the history of philosophy and ethics), which is why I think it would be interesting to compare the numbers with those of similar journals, like Noûs, Mind, Phil Quarterly, AJP etc.Report

James Maclaurin
James Maclaurin
6 years ago

Re the initial request for information on acceptance rates, I don’t want this to sound like an advertisement but… the HMP iPhone app provides exactly this sort of information as well as information about anonymity in peer review (e.g. single-blind, double-blind…) publication charges, open access policies etc. At the moment the app provides whitelists of journals in 13 subject areas, one of which is Philosophy (currently 557 journals). We have only just launched but already about a quarter of journals have supplied the requested stats so we’re hopeful of producing a sustainable tool for academics. More information on The HelpMePublish Project is at See especially the For Researchers page.

Conflict of interest warning: I am the philosopher who devised the project and is currently its general editor. I should also warn that the full version of the app isn’t free because software development isn’t free and we eventually want to cover all subject areas, be multi-platform etc. (suggestions welcome — [email protected])Report

6 years ago

I just discovered that there’s an older discussion of the low submission rate of female philosophers here: The numbers for Mind match those for dialectica more or less:
We receive 12% of our submissions from women, and their acceptance rate has been slightly higher than that of their male colleagues over the last 12 years.Report