A professor sends in a query about advising students on undergraduate philosophy journals.
I’m considering encouraging some of my undergraduate students to develop class papers into something that could be submitted. I wonder though: In regard to the students’ experience, which undergraduate philosophy journals are best, or better than others? What is it like for students who participate in submitting (and possibly publishing) in those journals? And, is this a good use of time? Or will it just generally be as frustrating as other forms of philosophy publication submission? I’m trying to consider the possible costs or benefits to the students, who may or may not want to pursue graduate study.
I’d like to emphasize two things about this inquiry.
One is that the professor is not asking about which undergraduate journals are better than others in regards to philosophical quality or influence (let’s not), but in regards to authors’ experiences—including things like whether the journal communicates well, makes editorial decisions in a timely manner, provides helpful editorial advice, produces a professional-looking publication, and so on. (It would especially be helpful to hear from those advising such journals, or on their editorial boards or staff, as well as authors.)
The other is that while the professor is asking whether it is a “good use of time” for a student to try to publish in an undergraduate journal, it would be a mistake to interpret this as asking just about whether having a publication in an undergraduate philosophy journal will help a student get into a philosophy graduate program—I would think it by itself almost never does. I would urge people to instead consider the other ways that publishing in an undergraduate journal might be valuable, such as it being practice for getting up the nerve to go through the process of submitting one’s own work to scrutiny by others, or overcoming work-shyness to publicly share one’s writing in a publication, or getting some practice with taking criticism well and revising in response to editors or reviewers, and so on.
Let me also remind readers of the Undergraduate Philosophy Journal Database.
Comments sharing your thoughts and experiences are welcome.