Philosophers’ Imprint Seeks To Fill Editorial Positions


The journal Philosophers’ Imprint will be undergoing some editorial changes and is seeking to fill some positions, writes its founding co-editors Stephen Darwall (Yale) and David Velleman (NYU), and soon-to-be editor Brian Weatherson (Michigan):

Philosophers’ Imprint, an open-access, general-interest journal of philosophy, is seeking nominations—including self-nominations—for editorial positions. As the Imprint enters its 18th year of continuous publication, the founding Co-editors, Stephen Darwall (Yale) and David Velleman (NYU), will gradually transfer their duties to Professor Brian Weatherson, at the University of Michigan, where the journal began and is still published. We are seeking Co-editors and Associate Editors to assist him.

In recent years the journal has received roughly 500 submissions per year and published roughly 30. To date, Associate Editors have served as second readers in the selection of submissions to be sent to referees; the remainder of the editorial tasks have been handled by the Co-editors. New editorial staff will participate in determining the division of labor for the future.

The journal is run on a proprietary journal-management software platform, with a graduate-student research assistant and freelance copyeditor-typesetter funded by a minimal submission fee. Michigan Publishing, the scholarly publishing arm of the University of Michigan Library, hosts the contents online (for a portion of the submission fee) and guarantees its accessibility to future scholars.

We are seeking nominations from all faculty ranks and all areas of philosophy. Please contact [email protected]edu[email protected], or [email protected].

guest
43 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bence Nanay
3 years ago

This might be a good time to ask whether Phil Imprint will still ask for 20 USD submission fee after the transition. That’s something that obviously hurts the most vulnerable members of our profession: grad students and junior academics going from one temp job to another (who don’t have any grants to cover this and who nonetheless pay it from their own pocket because they need that publication the most). I myself would find it somewhat morally dubious to be part of an editorial team that does this…Report

Ken
Ken
Reply to  Bence Nanay
3 years ago

Given that one of the founding editors has argued (on his own behalf; not that of the journal) that journals should refuse to publish pieces by graduate students it’s not clear to me that Velleman has the same conception of which members of the profession are most vulnerable as you and I might have.Report

some person or other
some person or other
3 years ago

I agree with Bence in principle; I think they need the $ in order to operate though. But a sliding scale and/or pay what you can model would be much better. (I am on the tenure track and would contribute more than $20, and I’m sure many others would too.) Report

Ben
Ben
Reply to  some person or other
3 years ago

I believe that, a couple of years ago, Phil Imprint did indeed move to a model where you can donate whatever amount you wish — though $20 is recommended. Looking at the bottom of the Phil Imprint submission page just now seems to confirm this.

https://www.nyu.edu/classes/velleman/imprint_submission_fee.htmlReport

Ben
Ben
Reply to  Ben
3 years ago

I spoke too soon: I just tried to change the number in the “Amount” field, and the page does not let me do so. (I still think I remember a discussion at Leiter Reports a few years ago that allegedly led to a change to a “pay what you wish” model.) Report

Sam Duncan
Sam Duncan
3 years ago

On the claim that they need the money: If Ergo can do it for free, then why does the Imprint need $20 a submission? I can honestly see requiring a submission fee to discourage people submitting bad or halfbaked work in the hopes of getting lucky or at least getting free comments, and I honestly think there’s a lot to be said for such measures (though as Bence Nanay notes this particular one seems unfair). But given the fact that Ergo and the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy for that matter manage to be online only with no paywalls or the like and neither sees the need to charge a submission fee makes me extremely dubious of the “they need the money claim.”Report

Ken
Ken
3 years ago

Does anyone know what happens if one does NOT pay the $20 fee? Is there any guarantee that this does not effect your paper’s reviewing process, i.e. that who donates is completely blinded from the editors?Report

Postdoc
Postdoc
3 years ago

Ken, it’s a required donation. haha! A mandatory donation. I love that concept.

And for your mandatory donation (a.k.a. fee), you hardly ever get any comments. In fact, I’ve never had them provide any comments on any of my submissions, including a paper now R&Red at an even more prestigious journal (so it’s not like my submissions were all trash).

Their review process is also questionable, as there is no portal (unlike the very good portal that Ergo has). You just get rejections from the void. Were they reviewed? Who knows!

Ergo might be less prestigious but it’s better in every other way.Report

Aj
Aj
3 years ago

A journal that is going to charge $20 should have a better rate of giving back comments. Or if you get this rejected you should get your money back.Report

Aj
Aj
3 years ago

If you get desk rejectedReport

David Velleman
David Velleman
3 years ago

I do not know how Ergo or the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy finance their operations. Perhaps they have funding from their institutions. Philosophers’ Imprint does not have institutional funding.
For 17 years the Imprint has increased the number of journal pages in philosophy at no cost to readers or academic libraries. That increase in publication opportunities has benefitted the discipline generally; in particular, it has benefitted those authors whose work would have been displaced from other journals by the 246 papers we have published to date. When the publishing capacity of the discipline increases, everyone stands to benefit.
The Imprint has already received over 500 submissions in this calendar year. Each submission has been reviewed by two members of the 7-person editorial staff, all of whom serve (unlike editors of many other journals) without any reduction in duties from their own departments. Only about 20% of submissions are sent to referees for extended review. We regret that the remaining 80% must be rejected without comment. I would estimate that 20% – 30% of those submissions fall clearly outside our stated editorial guidelines, because they are primarily commentaries on or interventions in ongoing debates among other philosophers in other venues.
Of course other journals may publish papers that we reject. The discipline benefits from diversity of editorial policies and tastes. The fact that another journal accepts a submission is poor evidence for the claim that we should have accepted it.
As I have said before in these columns, our discipline is in the midst of a crisis in which too many papers are chasing too little journal space. The crisis has led to great frustration and bitterness, as is evident from the comments above and on my previous post. As I have suggested before, the ideal solution would include a de-escalation of the publication arms-race, in which the production of written work is driven primarily by the professional imperative to publish *something*, anything. I was roundly condemned for that suggestion — as if I didn’t understand the predicament of those whose life-prospects have fallen victim to the crisis. But I do understand. Philosophers’ Imprint is an attempt at contributing to a solution — an endeavor that hardly deserves to be called “morally dubious”.
(Because of the end-of-semester crush and the impending holidays, I cannot commit myself to responding to further comments.)Report

Ken
Ken
Reply to  David Velleman
3 years ago

I’m not sure how you think that Philosophers’ Imprint could be an attempt at contributing to a solution if it institutionally penalizes those who suffer most from the problem, and when it’s run, at least for the moment, by someone who wants to exacerbate that problem significantly. Report

Skef
Skef
3 years ago

“The Imprint has already received over 500 submissions in this calendar year. Each submission has been reviewed by two members of the 7-person editorial staff, all of whom serve (unlike editors of many other journals) without any reduction in duties from their own departments. Only about 20% of submissions are sent to referees for extended review. We regret that the remaining 80% must be rejected without comment. I would estimate that 20% – 30% of those submissions fall clearly outside our stated editorial guidelines, because they are primarily commentaries on or interventions in ongoing debates among other philosophers in other venues.”

So 70% of 500 is 350, and with a staff of 7 and 2 reviews per paper that means each person reading about 100 papers per year that are not clearly outside the guidelines, and rejecting well over the majority without comment. How carefully can those have been read by otherwise busy academics?

“The fact that another journal accepts a submission is poor evidence for the claim that we should have accepted it.”

Count me as someone who considers it relatively good evidence for the claim that Imprint, or most other journals, should not have desk-rejected it. It may seem natural to journal editors that the best or only solution to the increase in submission rates is to have so much more of the review process depend on their “taste”. But some of the frustration and bitterness comes from the fact that people now mostly care about journals to the extent they guide readers to the best philosophy submitted to them, while journals seem to care less about doing what it takes to fulfill that expectation. Report

Lowlygrad
Lowlygrad
Reply to  Skef
3 years ago

Is your expectation that every paper submitted to a journal is to be checked in depth prior to rejection? It seems like that would be a waste of both the editors’ and authors’ time. If journals are to play a filtering or curatorial role, in order to publish the “best” philosophy it’s probably appropriate to prioritizing the avoidance of false positives (publishing bad papers) over the avoidance of false negatives (rejecting good papers). So the reviewers resources are best spent on a minority of papers rather than being stretched to a majority or all submitted papers.Report

Skef
Skef
Reply to  Lowlygrad
3 years ago

I do think that, roughly speaking, those papers that fall within a journals’ editorial guidelines should read rather than just skimmed, and that there should be a strong preference that the person doing so is qualified to judge the particular positions in the paper. This is, in my understanding, more or less the process referred to by the name “peer review”. Report

David Velleman
David Velleman
3 years ago

“So 70% of 500 is 350, and with a staff of 7 and 2 reviews per paper that means each person reading about 100 papers per year that are not clearly outside the guidelines, and rejecting well over the majority without comment. How carefully can those have been read by otherwise busy academics?”
Indeed. But you suggest that problem is not overwork on the part of editors but rather culpable indifference (“journals seem to care less…”). On what grounds?
Report

Skef
Skef
Reply to  David Velleman
3 years ago

I don’t attribute any culpable indifference to the editors with respect to the process of skimming the individual papers. I just don’t think that, once most papers are being rejected on the basis of a skim, the journal is doing the same thing as it did before, or doing what people are taking it to be doing.

Perhaps things are now different enough that the overall system is broken in a way that can’t easily be fixed. In that case, I don’t see how pretending or stipulating that it is not broken in order to keep all the other plates spinning for a while longer is the appropriate response.Report

Postdoc
Postdoc
3 years ago

“The Imprint has already received over 500 submissions in this calendar year. Each submission has been reviewed by two members of the 7-person editorial staff, all of whom serve (unlike editors of many other journals) without any reduction in duties from their own departments. Only about 20% of submissions are sent to referees for extended review. We regret that the remaining 80% must be rejected without comment.”

So, it’s pretty clear that the taste of these 7 editorial staff play a large role in what is accepted at the Imprint. There is no way these 7 can fairly judge that many submissions in so many different areas based on rigor, originality, and importance.

Do I have a problem with the Imprint being run this way? Are other journals run this way? I think it’s pretty clear that personal taste is going to play some role with all journals. However, many journals referee almost everything and more or less just base their decision on whether or not to publish on the referee reports alone. This introduces a lot of chance into the system. We all know that referees can be all over the place. However, in a sense, it also treats all submissions the same.

With the Imprint though, and this is exasperated by the fact you have to pay a fee, it seems much more important to know what the journal publishes and what they don’t. You can’t count so much on the luck of the draw with referees for getting published. You need to know what that 7 person team likes, and to do this it’s best to look through what’s been published recently.

Do I have a problem with the Imprint being run the way it is? No, not really. However, they should make clear that they don’t seek to be fair and impartial with submissions. They seek to publish what they like. This way authors wont take it so personally when they have very good submissions desk rejected. Authors will also know what exactly they’re paying for. And they can then decide on whether to examine what the Imprint publishes before submitting if that’s worth it to them. 20 dollars is a lot to some.

See, and this isn’t an original point, the biggest problem with how the Imprint is run is that most have this idea that journals seek to publish based on quality, not on personal taste. So, when someone pays 20 dollars and then has a very good submission desk rejected, they’re going to feel that the Imprint took their money and didn’t perform their duty. Bitterness is going to result. I think to solve this the Imprint just needs to be honest about how they’re run. People can then make their own decisions.

I for one have decided not to submit to the Imprint anymore. I don’t see why I should pay 20 dollars to see if some seven person team likes my paper when I can send it to other journals for free that will impartially and fairly review my submission, journals that also have nice online portals to check your status, some of which are also open access, i.e. Ergo. However, if you’re someone whose tastes align with the Imprint team, then it makes sense to pay the fee and send your work there I guess. Report

David Velleman
David Velleman
Reply to  Postdoc
3 years ago

As in previous comments, the understandable frustration and bitterness caused by this crisis leads to groundless accusations of malfeasance — in this case, the claim that the editors of Philosophers’ Imprint “don’t seek to be fair and impartial with submissions”.
I will be interested to hear from the editors of journals that “referee almost everything”. Advice on how to recruit 1,000 referees per year will be greatly appreciated.

Report

Postdoc
Postdoc
Reply to  David Velleman
3 years ago

David, I’m not accusing anyone of malfeasance. I’m saying that the editorial practices of the Imprint cannot possibly judge submissions on quality. So you shouldn’t pretend that they can. I’m sure you and the team have good intentions. But good intentions cannot save you from a system that cannot do what you intend.

For example, your skim of my post did not allow you to fairly judge its contents. It’s just not possible to do without a thorough read and serious effort to consider it. Report

Joe
Joe
Reply to  Postdoc
3 years ago

I do not know of any journals who do not do desk rejections by editors. As far as I have been told (I know of about 7 journals), the desk rejection rate is quite high (I do not know how high, but significantly high – I heard some editors have to take a day a week to reject a bunch of clearly not publishable papers, often, but not exclusively, by grad students). I do not think “Postdoc” has a good grasp on editorial process and on what makes articles pass through a basic standard for publishing to be sent to reviewers for detailed form and content assessment. In general, I would be very surprised if, at any journal, more than 50% would make it past the editors to reviewers. Also, Postdoc here uses a rather clever rhetoric. It’s OK for PhilImprint to do what they do (who could tell them not to), they just should make it clear. Of course, what they do is terrible the way postdoc presents it, but that is the way they should make clear to people what it is they do. So Postdoc is not accusing them of malfeasance, he is just inviting them to freely confess to what amounts to without naming it so. I do not believe such sophistry is useful in discussing what is clearly an important issue in the field (whether it is the flood of ill-conceived submissions to the journals, editors struggling to find reviewers, or quality of published work, and so on) . Report

Postdoc
Postdoc
Reply to  Joe
3 years ago

“I do not think “Postdoc” has a good grasp on editorial process and on what makes articles pass through a basic standard for publishing to be sent to reviewers for detailed form and content assessment.”

As someone who has been publishing in philosophy journals for many years, I think I have a pretty good idea of what makes it through the typical editorial processes.

“In general, I would be very surprised if, at any journal, more than 50% would make it past the editors to reviewers.”

The Australasian Journal of Philosophy (AJP) desk-rejects very few of the submissions to it. My estimate is that 95% or more of the submissions are sent to at least one referee. And most of the desk rejections are due to an author’s having failed a formal AJP submission requirement: for example, the paper is too short or it is just a critical response to a non-AJP paper or some single book. http://dailynous.com/2015/01/20/closer-look-philosophy-journal-practices/

“Of course, what they do is terrible the way postdoc presents it, but that is the way they should make clear to people what it is they do. So Postdoc is not accusing them of malfeasance, he is just inviting them to freely confess to what amounts to without naming it so.”

Actually, I don’t think what they do is terrible. Publishers outside academia at least make no attempt to pretend they publish only based on quality. They have preferences. They don’t hide this. It makes a lot of sense to consider the preferences of publishers before submitting.

I think Phil Imprint should be honest that their system heavily relies on a select panel who have to skim through articles to decide whether to further consider them. They clearly have stronger standards on this front than at least some other journals. They aren’t skimming merely to see if the submission meets a minimum standard, but are skimming to see if they meet some higher standard. Thus, the personal tastes of this panel are going to necessarily play a big role in what’s sent to review. It’s not possible for a panel of 7 to judge submissions based solely on rigor, novelty, and importance in every area of analytic philosophy.

So, the Imprint should be honest that they are not capable of referring submissions based solely or even largely on quality, and advise authors to carefully look through the recent articles published there to get a feel for the kind of work they are are liable to accept.

I wouldn’t have a problem with this. Imprint can be idiosyncratic in what it publishes. They just need to be honest about it. Otherwise it leads to a lot of bitterness.

However, if the Imprint wants to minimize their own idiosyncrasies, they should look to AJP or some other journals for different editorial practices clearly designed to do this. Report

Matt McAdam
Matt McAdam
Reply to  Postdoc
3 years ago

“So, when someone pays 20 dollars and then has a very good submission desk rejected…”

This is priceless. Postdoc, you should just append to your submissions “This is a very good submission,” so you, at least, won’t have worry about all this review nonsense. Report

David Velleman
David Velleman
3 years ago

You said that the editors “don’t seek to be fair and impartial”. How is that consistent with “good intentions”? Please tell me which journals referee almost all of their submissions so that I can speak with the editors.
Report

Ben
Ben
Reply to  David Velleman
3 years ago

David, you ask “which journals referee almost all of their submissions.” For one, the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

“The Australasian Journal of Philosophy (AJP) desk-rejects very few of the submissions to it. My estimate is that 95% or more of the submissions are sent to at least one referee. And most of the desk rejections are due to an author’s having failed a formal AJP submission requirement: for example, the paper is too short or it is just a critical response to a non-AJP paper or some single book.”

http://dailynous.com/2015/01/20/closer-look-philosophy-journal-practices/Report

David Velleman
David Velleman
Reply to  Ben
3 years ago

I will consult the editors of AJP as to how they manage to referee 95% of over 600 submission per year. Thank you for the pointer.Report

Postdoc
Postdoc
Reply to  David Velleman
3 years ago

I don’t really care that much about intentions, honestly. My comments all have to do with how the system really works. However you intend it to work isn’t that relevant to me or anyone else besides you and god, if there is one. You have to differentiate between how you intend it to work and how it really works. I’m saying that you should be honest about how it works and just admit that this is how it works, instead of pretending it works some other way.

Now onto your second question. As far as I know, there is no philosophy journal that desk rejects as many submissions as Phil Imprint. However, I can’t say this for sure. Maybe some of the top 5 desk reject 80%. I don’t know. However, I do know for a fact that many journals desk reject far less than Imprint. Ben gave AJP as an example. I’m almost positive Synthese and Erkenntnis desk reject few submissions. Ergo desk rejects a lot of submissions but less than 80%. Every paper I’ve sent to Synthese, Erkenntnis, or AJP has been refereed with at least 1 report (always two for the former two journals). Synthese is a huge journal and so is perhaps not a fair comparison, but they sometimes even get three referees.
Report

DS
DS
3 years ago

““So 70% of 500 is 350, and with a staff of 7 and 2 reviews per paper that means each person reading about 100 papers per year”. More than 100 papers per year per editor is impressive. I think we should be grateful for all the hours the editors put in.

Just out of curiosity: why not work increase the number of editors? Personally, I’m not inclined to apply for an associate editorship if this involves reading more than 100 papers per year. I’d consider applying however if the workload were 1 paper per week or something. I assume many philosophers will have the same attitude. Or does the editorial reorganization mentioned above include such an increase of staff?Report

David Velleman
David Velleman
Reply to  DS
3 years ago

Whether the editorial staff of Philosophers’ Imprint grows will be up to the new Editor.

But the problem is not primarily with how journals are managed. It is a collective-action problem in the discipline. We are seeing a quantum leap in the number of people who believe, understandably, that they need to publish in order to have a future in philosophy. Most of the leading PhD programs have recently begun to run workshops and even entire seminars for the “professional development” of their students — including, of course, advice and coaching on how to publish. The journals haven’t yet seen the full effect of this trend.

I see nothing to prevent the trend from extending to the undergraduate level. Undergraduates are already submitting their work to undergraduate journals and conferences. It is only a matter of time before the absurd level of competition for admission to graduate programs leads them to try their luck in the big leagues. And many of the writing samples submitted with graduate-school applications are already so professionalized as to compete with the general run of journal submissions.

One question is whether the trend is good for philosophy and the philosophical literature. The fact that graduate students and undergraduates can place their work in professional journals does not necessary show that they are better philosophers than the students of the past. What it mainly shows, in my view, is that they have short-changed their education in order specialize prematurely, and that they have learned how to produce unadventurous, formulaic, merely incremental contributions to an increasingly bland literature.

In any case, the discipline has only a limited pool of qualified referees. No re-organization of editorial boards will expand that pool. The quality of editing and refereeing is bound to suffer — and with it, the quality of the philosophical work that is published.

This will be my last comment on this thread. Thanks to the other contributors.
Report

Postdoc
Postdoc
Reply to  David Velleman
3 years ago

I agree there is a collective action problem. There is a serious problem with the Philosophy job market. The CVs of graduating PhDs these days are insane compared to even 5 years ago. Something needs to be done. People’s lives are also being dismantled by the ultra competitiveness of the market: moving every year, struggling with unemployment and underemployment, and there being no obvious backups for those with non STEM backgrounds. The results are that for many every article submitted, especially to a top journal like Imprint, is to them possibly a make or break moment. Something must be done. Probably the profession needs to have a moratorium on admitting new PhD students for 5 years. That’s what I think should be done. That would allow all the people currently invested heavily into academic philosophy to find a job. However, I have little hope that any collective action will be undertaken, at least not until someone gets seriously psychologically ill due to the insane job market and it makes the mainstream news. It’s just a matter of time. Report

Daniel Kaufman
Reply to  Postdoc
3 years ago

And the funny thing is that the work being done isn’t any better than the work of the past, when the CV’s weren’t so fat. Indeed, I’d argue it’s much worse, in pretty much every respect.

As for the moratorium, of course that’s what needs to happen. But as our gatekeeper of philosophical quality indicated in an earlier conversation, that’s never going to happen, because PhD students are an essential source of cheap labor. Necessary so that our best and brightest can produce hundreds of articles in their careers, while teaching as few undergraduates as possible.
Report

Daniel Kaufman
Reply to  David Velleman
3 years ago

What it mainly shows, in my view, is that … they have learned how to produce unadventurous, formulaic, merely incremental contributions to an increasingly bland literature.

= = =

I was going to stay out of this, until I read this howler.

That it never occurs to the author that this nicely describes a good amount of the work being done by the so-called “professionals” (including, perhaps, some of his own) is just priceless.Report

David Velleman
David Velleman
Reply to  Daniel Kaufman
3 years ago

I couldn’t agree more. Did I imply otherwise? If so, I apologize. Much of the philosophical literature has become unadventurous and formulaic, largely (in my view) because the chances of acceptance have fallen so far. When editors and referees are faced with such a flood of submissions, they find themselves looking for standardized markers of “quality”. Writing on known problems or variants thereof and proposing variants of existing theories is therefore a surer path to publication for everyone, full professors as well as graduate students. Report

Daniel Kaufman
Reply to  David Velleman
3 years ago

But it’s the professors — and especially the people at the top of the profession, who control the editorial boards of the top journals — who have created and perpetuated this problem. Surely, you can understand, then, why people are rather put off, when one of the people who belongs to that class so loudly laments it and wants to remedy the situation by cutting off at the knees the people at the lowest levels of the profession; i.e. the graduate students.Report

David Velleman
David Velleman
Reply to  Daniel Kaufman
3 years ago

I’m not trying to cut anyone off at the knees. I’ve tried to point out that whatever advantage some graduate students once gained by publishing is going to disappear — first, because it will become much harder for anyone to publish; and, second, because publication will no longer be a competitive advantage when the graduate programs that previously discouraged publication begin to encourage it. I’m actually trying to think of ways to protect graduate students from an arms race in which everyone ends up worse off. The solution I proposed was admittedly ham-handed, but it was intended to provoke others into thinking of alternative solutions to the collective-action problem. What I’ve learned is that even philosophers — who should know about collective-action problems — cannot resist looking for individual culprits instead.Report

Assistant Prof E
Assistant Prof E
3 years ago

I’m going to try this again. Apparently, my last post didn’t meet the community standards, which is sort of interesting, given that the following comment denigrating work from members of our profession from Velleman did:

“What it mainly shows, in my view, is that … they have learned how to produce unadventurous, formulaic, merely incremental contributions to an increasingly bland literature.”

I read Phil Imprint, regularly. I know what the journal publishes. It publishes mostly papers that “intervene” and contribute to epicycles, despite the journal’s mission statement. Why Velleman is so confident that Phil Imprint is different is beyond me. There are papers published in Phil Imprint that say, almost verbatim, “my solution is like this, with a little _epicycle_.” (my emphasis) I would cite one such paper, but I believe that’s the reason my previous comment was filtered out.

Am I pilling on, at this point? Well, yes. Velleman’s comments are so clearly off, tonally, here and elsewhere on this site, that it’s hard to resist. Because he should know, along with the new future editors, and this is why my comment is apt in this thread, how the journal comes across to other members of the profession. Many of us think like Postdoc. It _seems_ like phil imprint uses its mission statement as cover for its high desk rejection rates.

Report

David Velleman
David Velleman
Reply to  Assistant Prof E
3 years ago

Another accusation of ill will. Why would we have a high desk-rejection rate to “cover” if we weren’t actually trying to implement our mission statement? No doubt we do not succeed every time. And no doubt I am “tonally off”. But what is your solution to the problem, other than to blame those who are actually trying to solve it? Report

Bence Nanay
3 years ago

Oh my god, what have I started… I definitely did not want to question or criticize the current editorial practices of Phil Imprint – who am I to tell them what to do and what not to do. I merely asked whether something will be done with the 20 bucks submission fee after the transition. Brian in the mean time answered me on Facebook and apparently that’s still up in the air. Report

David Velleman
David Velleman
Reply to  Bence Nanay
3 years ago

It’s all good, Bence. I welcomed the opportunity to sound off about the publishing crisis again. Contrary to what it may seem, I sympathize with the frustration and anger that these discussions elicit. I’m just trying to nudge it in (what I take to be) more constructive directions.

Of course we’d like to get rid of the fee; the question is only how to replace it. Previously, the expenses were covered from the Editors’ personal research funds, and we don’t want to go back there. We’re working on it.Report

Wondering
Wondering
3 years ago

David, I think you’re right that we are in a publishing crisis of the sort you cite, and that loads and loads of people are writing and publishing papers they shouldn’t be wasting their time on. Part of the problem, however, is that there are very real pressures from outside philosophy to do this. For example, at my university, someone who publishes one paper a year in a ‘top 5’ journal is looked at as very unproductive by people, outside philosophy, who decide on promotions and similar. Some of my colleagues regularly publish 10 to 25 articles per year, in any venue they can find.

I wonder if changes in co-authoring standards would help. E.g. if I have extensive discussions with a colleague about a paper of theirs, I get mentioned in a footnote. In many disciplines I would be a co-author (a contributing author). This would be one way to drive up author-count without driving up paper count (and would not, I think, be unprincipled).Report

David Velleman
David Velleman
Reply to  Wondering
3 years ago

Wondering: Yes! Wouldn’t it be cool if all philosophy papers were published with a list of 10 authors, like papers in the sciences? We could refuse to tell the deans who was the primary author, everyone would have a mile-long CV, and they’d have to base tenure and promotion on teaching. Count me in!

Seriously, though, I admit that I’m addressing only one small symptom of a deep-seated sickness in higher education. The causes are many — defunding of public higher ed by the states, US News (and other) rankings, administrators hoping to “make their mark” … . The result is a maze of perverse incentives, with faculty and graduate students reduced to rats in the maze. I wouldn’t (and don’t) advise anyone to go into this profession today. Report

Postdoc
Postdoc
3 years ago

”I wouldn’t (and don’t) advise anyone to go into this profession today.”

Wow, thanks for this comment David. As a young academic who has been struggling on the job market despite a very strong CV, I appreciate this honesty. I do wish there had been people to advise me better a decade ago. I don’t regret doing the PhD. I do regret spending years on the academic job market. I should have left immediately after the PhD and gone back to school for computer engineering or something. Oh well! Maybe not too late…Report

Muhammad
Muhammad
3 years ago

Every time someone brings up the publishing crisis in philosophy, that so many publications are needed to get hired, that most of these are not of great quality, I’m always reminded of Jennifer Whiting’s brilliant solution: That we should require only the 4 articles/chapters from books for tenure. This would not punish those who are prolific, but I think it would disincentivize so much publication, save journals from getting 500-600 submissions per year and upgrade the quality of work all in one move. THIS is the way philosophy SHOULD be.

http://dailynous.com/2015/12/31/a-modest-proposal-slow-philosophy-jennifer-whiting/Report