The Effects of the Pandemic on Journal Submissions


Journal editors: how has the pandemic been affecting submissions to your journals over the past eight months?

Has there been an increase or decrease overall? Have there been differential effects on submission rates for different demographics (gender, race, etc.) or type of institutional affiliation? Have there been other changes you’ve noticed?

Some research has shown that women’s journal submission rates across academia have decreased during the pandemic; it would be useful to hear about the extent to which this trend and others are apparent in philosophy.

[Update: In light of some of the initial comments on this post, we might also ask about whether journals are publishing less as a result of pandemic-related obstacles to processing, reviewing, editing, and publishing articles.]

While we await replies from journal editors, here’s a beguiling music video of graphs of the movement of a variety of objects:


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Ken Friedman
11 months ago

My journal is She Ji. The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation. We’re not a philosophy journal, but we do welcome articles in philosophy of design and areas of philosophy related to our focus.

https://www.journals.elsevier.com/she-ji-the-journal-of-design-economics-and-innovation/

We haven’t seen too much difference in submissions, but we have nevertheless been affected by the pandemic. The most significant problem has been finding reviewers. With the widespread global switch to online courses, people have been stretched thin at work. This leaves them less time for taking on reviews.Report

Wendy Lochner
Wendy Lochner
11 months ago

I can’t speak for journal editors, but as a book editor I can attest that submissions have increased exponentially, far more than I can even read, much less consider for publication.Report

Craig
Craig
11 months ago

I’m also curious how it has affected staffing—both the formal staff (eg editors and grad student assistants) and the informal staff (namely, referees). I would not be surprised if both submissions were up sharply (and, quite possibly, in an unequal distribution) and the capacity to deal with them were down. Both conjunction are suggested by my own anecdata.Report

Patrick Grim
Patrick Grim
11 months ago

The American Philosophical Quarterly has not seen a decline in submissions. The impact of the pandemic has been noticeable, however, in the availability of referees. A number of potential referees have had to decline requests because of increased pressures in preparation of online teaching, new departmental obligations, and child care.Report

Mark McCullagh
Mark McCullagh
11 months ago

At the Canadian Journal of Philosophy, I haven’t noticed a significant change either in submissions or in our processing of them. (We don’t track the sex or race or professional situation of authors, so I couldn’t answer the questions about those differentials.) I did survey our (18-member) Editorial Board on this general question, back in March, and got a few replies consistent with that impression, although that was early in the pandemic.Report

John Heil
11 months ago

Submissions to the Journal of the American Philosophical Association are about 10% ahead of last year’s numbers. I second the comments of other editors that the really significant effect of the pandemic has been on the reviewing process, which is precarious in the best of times.Report

Ben Bradley
Ben Bradley
11 months ago

At Ergo, in the first few months of the pandemic, submissions increased noticeably. In May we were receiving an average of almost four submissions per day. That is an increase of over 50% from the submission rate in 2019. This increase, combined with the pandemic-related burdens placed on our editors and referees, led us to stop accepting submissions for a bit more than three months over the summer.
As announced on this blog, we resumed accepting submissions a month ago, and we have received over 80 submissions in that time – below the May rate but still well higher than our rate in 2019.
There has been no meaningful difference in the rate of submission by gender as compared to 2019.Report

Franz Berto
11 months ago

I started as chair of the editorial board @ The Philosophical Quarterly only in August. In recent years, we’ve had about 850 submissions per year on average. We’re now just halfway through the current PQ year and we have received 562 papers so far. There were lots of submissions across the Summer (over 30 per week, at times), but the numbers have been decreasing as the teaching term started in lots of places.Report

Wayne Davis
Wayne Davis
11 months ago

Judging by the number of submissions received so far, the total received by Philosophical Studies for 2020 will increase by at least 100 (from 1400 to 1500). But the number has been increasing steadily over the years, so I cannot say whether this year’s increase is due to the pandemic. As for the breakdown by gender, I do not have the statistics. I have not noticed any decline in submissions by women.Report

Beth
Beth
11 months ago

With the usual provisos about sample sizes, April was a weird month: BJPS submissions increased by approx. 30%, but almost halved from women in the same time.

Looking at the period between March and now, however, the number of submissions is in line with expectations. Which is to say, there’s been an increase in submissions, but the rate of increase is in line with the kind of growth we’ve been seeing these last few years. Submissions from women have levelled out at their normal level across this longer period (approx. 15%).

Echoing others here, we’re experiencing difficulties in securing referees, and there’s also been a big increase in requests for extensions from authors and referees (which we’re happy to grant, of course!).Report

Neil
Neil
11 months ago

As an associate editor (AJP), I’m not in a position to assess effects on submissions. But like others, I’ve seen a noticeable effect on reviewers. I struggle to find anyone able to review at all. But those few people who can review seem to have more time than usual: I’ve seen a notable increase in reports being turned in within 24 hours of the request.Report

Stephen Hetherington
Stephen Hetherington
11 months ago

As the Editor of AJP, I can support Neil Levy’s comment about the increased difficulty in finding referees. Of course we understand why that is so, and we are sympathetic.

I can add that AJP submissions do seem to have increased this year, from what was already an extremely high number. The increase is at least 10%, probably more. At present, we are on track to receive more than 1000 submissions for this year — even with our being closed to submissions for two months. We welcome this influx of what we hope will be philosophical excellence, but it is also challenging.Report

Anna Stilz
Anna Stilz
11 months ago

Philosophy and Public Affairs has seen an uptick in submissions as well–we are up about 11% over 2019. Most of our reviewing is done by in-house Associate Editors, but they have been stretched by the increase.Report

kailadraper
Reply to  Justin Weinberg
11 months ago

I have recently turned down several referee requests mostly because online teaching is taking up a huge chunk of my time. (Child at home more is also a factor but not a big one cuz they are 16 years old and more mature than me.) I would like to add, though, that I think those who do take on referee assignments should get them done on time! (Last remark extremely biased due to my current situation.)Report

Remy Debes
Remy Debes
10 months ago

I’m sorry I’m so late to this thread – that’s in part because I’ve been so busy with The Southern Journal of Philosophy. We’ve experienced a huge surge in 2020. Submissions to the SJP are up nearly 50% over the same point this year (47.8 to be exact, at the end of September). Like a few others here, we don’t track race or gender of authors, so I can’t offer any stats in that regard. Anecdotally, it sure seems harder to find referees right now. But I don’t have data to support that impression.Report