New Publishing Arrangements for “Thought: A Journal of Philosophy”


Crispin Wright (NYU), one of the editors of Thought, tells us that the journal has a new publisher and is moving to an open access arrangement.

He writes:

Thought is back up and running and invites new submissions.

We are delighted to announce that the Thought Trust has now concluded new publishing arrangements with the Philosophy Documentation Centre. We are most grateful to have the opportunity of continuing production of the journal.

We would like to take the opportunity to record our thanks to Eric Piper and the team at John Wiley Inc. for their role in bringing Thought into existence just over a decade (and just under 400 published original articles) ago, and for their sustained high standards in its production hitherto. We are confident that the PDC will maintain those high standards going forward. 

We would also like to make special mention of and express our gratitude to our authors who have been infinitely patient whilst the change in publisher has been underway. During this period, our systems have moved very much slower than the normal Thought processes, frustratingly for all concerned. We are exceptionally grateful for your patience and understanding throughout. 

Our submissions and editorial processes are going to remain unaltered, but one significant change is that Thought will now be an Open Access journal. The PDC will collect a fee of US$1500 for publication of each article. Authors of accepted papers should note that, in cases where they have no recourse to funds to meet this cost from their own institutions, research sponsors, or other outside source, the Thought Trust itself and generously, the PDC, will make every effort to cover the costs of publication.

The move to open access includes the journal’s previously published articles. You can check out the journal at its new home here.

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Matt L
2 months ago

in cases where they have no recourse to funds to meet this cost from their own institutions, research sponsors, or other outside source, the Thought Trust itself and generously, the PDC, will make every effort to cover the costs of publication.

Reading this as a lawyer, I wish I had a better idea of what several terms meant. How is the “no recourse to funds” bit to be decided? If I have a research budget of, say, $5K/year, and I have at least $1.5K remaining, will it be deemed that I have “recourse to funds”? Will it matter if I hope, or have already planned, to attend a conference that would use those funds? What if I have $1K in funds – do I have to contribute all of that? What if I have a (perhaps generous!) research budget, but my institution doesn’t this this is an acceptable use? And how strenuous will the “every effort” clause be? Does that mean that in relevant cases the fee will be waived, or that donations from others will be sought, or what? If the later, if no outside funders can be found, have I now just wasted my efforts? It would be nice to have the details spelled out a bit more specifically, I think.Report

Stephan Torre
2 months ago

Journals charging authors substantial fees to publish articles is unfortunately commonplace in other disciplines, but is thankfully rare in philosophy. Introducing a $1500 fee to publish is a move in the wrong direction, despite the “generous” offer of the Thought Trust and PDC to help defray costs where neeeded. I will no longer referee (free of charge) for Thought while this remains in place.Report

Kris McDaniel
Kris McDaniel
Reply to  Stephan Torre
2 months ago

Gotta agree 100% with Stephan here. Seems like a crazy bad move of Thought. Can’t say I will referee for them or even encourage anyone to submit to Thought. Asking 1500$ to publish a paper is crazy. I expect submissions there to plummet. Sad!Report

Last edited 2 months ago by Kris McDaniel
Michel
2 months ago

Good thing there’s so much grant money supporting research in philosophy!Report

Lewis
2 months ago

Lots of places don’t subscribe to PDC and their articles are hard to access using ‘alternative’ means. You’d almost be as well publishing your article by dropping it down the back of your sofa.

Also, is making ‘every effort’ to meet the cost the same as guaranteeing it will be published? Or will we have stressful cases where there is a back-and-forth between the publisher and author, before the paper is eventually pulled from the publication queue?Report

Last edited 2 months ago by Lewis
Michel
Reply to  Lewis
2 months ago

I may be out to lunch, but I think the open access means that readers will (for once) have access to PDC content.Report

Umut Baysan
Umut Baysan
Reply to  Michel
2 months ago

There are PDC journals that have been open access for a while (e.g., Logos & Episteme).Report

Lewis
Reply to  Michel
2 months ago

Yes – but the general complaint with PDC remains. By moving business to PDC, you support their crummy model. Better to support big publishers that are hacked by scihub than whatever PDC does.

Incidentally, I just tried to download one of PDCs open access logos+episteme articles and it glitched. What a world!Report

PhilMath
2 months ago

Just when you thought the PDC can’t get worse … (compare this to the recent Philosophy of Physics journal which just seems the right way to go about things)Report

Last edited 2 months ago by PhilMath
Travis
Travis
2 months ago

Does anyone know how $1500 compares to other journals that do open access? That seems like a ridiculous amount of money, but I haven’t really looked.Report

Kenny Easwaran
Reply to  Travis
2 months ago

I believe that for journals in the sciences, fees in the $2000 to $5000 range are not uncommon even for closed-access articles. However, they often involve a lot of complicated typesetting, including color images that need to look right. One advantage of philosophers not thinking in pictures is that we usually just require text for our articles, so they can be relatively cheaper.

I believe that Springer and Elsevier journals have a standard price to make articles in a closed-access journal open-access, which is usually $2000 or more.Report

Travis
Travis
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
2 months ago

Okay then. I feel like this make publishing cost-prohibitive for a lot of people unless there’s very generous assistance.Report

Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
2 months ago

Research published in scientific also is usually funded by grants which presumably include an allowance for publishing charges like this. In fact in many sciences, a four-digit publishing fee is probably a rounding error in the cost of the research, unlike in philosophy. And Springer and Elsevier notoriously maintain high profit margins by charging pretty much everyone too much for everything.

So it’s alarming for a philosophy journal to be charging fees that are close to the fees charged by science journals. Most philosophers simply won’t have grants or budgets that allow them to pay these fees, and other open access philosophy journals have managed to stay afloat–sometimes precariously–without publication fees of this magnitude.

(Some journals have, or have had, submission fees, which given our rejection rates might add up to a lot per actual publication. But I’m lucky enough that my department could fund $20 to submit to Imprint; there’s no point to submitting to Thought if the best case is I have to give them $1500 at the end.)Report

Neil Levy
2 months ago

Despite the fact that Wright is now at NYU, I assume this reflects plan S and other open access initiatives. In short, European philosophers are increasingly expected to publish open access and European institutions increasingly will pay the fees (or have agreements with the publishers). Here, European encompasses the UK.Report

Sara L. Uckelman
Reply to  Neil Levy
2 months ago

I wish this encompassed the UK. I’ve yet to find an active/functional OA agreement between my uni and any venue that I would like to publish in, and I have many colleagues at other UK institutions who could say the same.Report

Neil Levy
Neil Levy
Reply to  Sara L. Uckelman
2 months ago

What journals would you like to publish in that aren’t covered? Here’s your institution’s read and publish deals. https://libguides.durham.ac.uk/open_research/publishingOA/publisherdealsReport

Stephen
Reply to  Neil Levy
2 months ago

Plan S sounds like someone’s 19th best idea.Report

krell_154
krell_154
2 months ago

Academic publishing is ridiculous.

Make all journals open access. The majority of work on the papers is unpaid (authors, referees). Graphical editing, proofreading and internet support should be funded by the university that publishes the journal. If all the subscriptions for journals would be cancelled, universities would save money anyway.Report

Charles Pigden
2 months ago

Thought has effectively priced itself out of the market. A publication in Thought would exceed my entire annual research budget. It is simply unaffordable and therefore not worth my while to submit. As for junior philosophers with no research budget at all (and often very limited and precarious incomes) it is like a big sign over the top of the journal saying ‘Get lost loser!’ I would strongly urge everyone who *can” afford the fee *not* to submit and for potential referees to refuse their services. Henceforth they can kiss goodbye to mine (and yes, I have refereed for Thought in the past.) Not everything that gets labelled as ‘elitism ‘ is bad, but this is about as blatant an example of bad elitism as you could wish to meet, and as such deserves to be sanctioned. It is an obvious slap in the face to everyone not employed at a very well-funded elite institution like NYU and an instance ((let us charitably assume unconscious) of discrimination against everyone but the independently wealthy and the extremely well-funded.Report

Leo
Leo
2 months ago

Many European universities (at least in the German speaking countries) have agreements with big publishing houses like Springer such that every paper that is published in journals from these houses is open access. There is no agreement with PDC (as far as I know) and I do not think that our universities will then pay the extra costs. I guess that many philosophers from these universities will not submit to Thought anymore which is very unfortunate. I think it’s important to have more than one very good journal for shorter pieces.Report

Francis J. Beckwith
2 months ago

On second Thought……Report

grace h
2 months ago

Wait! Am I misreading the website? It looks like there is an option to publish by “self-archiving” on your university’s archive site. presumably that would be free to the author but still open-access, right?Report

Stephen
Reply to  grace h
2 months ago

You can “publish” your paper by self-archiving it but it you want it to be a paper that has been published by Thought, you’ll need to pay the $1500 (unless they are able to cover the costs of publication, the possibility of which isn’t even mentioned on the Submission Guidelines page or the Thought OA publication agreement–as far as I can tell it is only mentioned in Wright’s email to DN).Report

Anton Alterman
2 months ago

The term for this is “predatory publishing” and it is not a question of whether anyone’s “research budget” can cover it or not; it should be rejected on principle. Philosophers should be paid for their work, not the other way around. Pay-to-play schemes are immoral in any industry and utterly contemptible in philosophy.

Literary journals fund themselves through contest entry fees, institutional support, arts grants and contribution drives, and many of them pay their contributors, while few charge anything beyond a very small online submission fee. Philosophy journals and their boards could do the same, but why make the effort when board membership at a journal is more like a key to the country club than a sign of dedication to the pursuit of knowledge? Besides, they actually enjoy the intellectual and financial elitism that these silos represent; and making it “open access” while charging a hefty fee for publication does not make it any less a silo.

Among other things this abusive arrangement pre-selects for publication contributors from well-funded institutions where “research grants” and other support are more available – privileged institutions like NYU, with one of the largest endowments and pay scales in the country. Contributors from those institutions were already advantaged for publication in many ways (in spite of putative “blind review”) and this helps lock in their elite status. Adjuncts, philosophers at less well-endowed institutions and regional schools know how wide the moat is already and probably won’t entertain the fantasy that their $1500 will get them across it. (And you can almost sense the reaction, “Well, we don’t really want philosophers from those randy institutions to besmirch our high-quality journal anyway.”)

The publishing industry is only too happy to go along with a business model that is something like a gift from god: People not only pay for access to our product; they pay to be our product! It’s like getting a salary to be a pickpocket! (Why is this starting to sound like a Dickens novel?)

The fact that noted philosophers would participate in and promote a $1500 publishing fee scam (or ANY predatory arrangement) is like lifting the lid on the cesspool of elitism and careerism that has come to dominate much of institutional philosophy. It’s a pyramid scheme in which those already on the inside can grow their own benefits by getting others to pay their way up in a vain effort to become insiders like the bigshots. You have to be extremely naive to participate in such an arrangement.Report

Ramiro C
2 months ago

I want to take this opportunity to voice a concern that I hardly see reflected in discussions over this kind of OA policies.

Researchers in developing countries in general do not have access to grants capable of covering the costs of publishing under this model, sometimes 1.5K-2K being the total budget for an entire year, for all areas of research, not only publishing. And journals simply are not in the mood of indiscriminately issuing waivers for scholars in developing countries, whose papers are accepted for publication. Going OA under this model could end up silencing a whole lot of scholars from a whole lot of non-central countries.

There is no perfect arrangement here, of course. The current model reproduces a structural inequality between countries at the level of access to knowledge: leaving aside “alternative” routes, scholars in developing countries simply have less access to knowledge because of their more limited funding.

But the new OA model reproduces a structural inequality between countries at the level of the production of knowledge, and this seems to me far worse: your voice is effectively silenced, unless you have the funding to pay for it. Sparsely issued waivers, or partial waivers, are just not a solution here. And there is no alternative route for us to make our voice heard.Report

Daniel Weltman
Reply to  Ramiro C
2 months ago

Indeed – as someone in the global south without a ton of money to throw around, I prefer closed access journals which I can nevertheless break into via things like Sci-Hub to open access journals in which I cannot publish because I can’t afford it!Report

Björn Lundgren
2 months ago

It would be interesting to hear the editor’s reasoning about this choice. Surely, they must have considered models used by other OA-journals such as Phil Imprint, Ergo, and JESP?

I, like many others, worry about the selection-bias this creates (depending on how generous the policy about Thought and PDC cover the cost is). However, on a more positive note there could be a value on testing different models. Although this is a common practice for journals with a questionable record, I don’t know of any good quality journal in philosophy that ever tried this model.

It would be sad, however, if Thought disappears because of this choice. Hopefully, if the model turns out to be as problematic as many think it will be (including also the risk of economical-bias), then I hope the editors will reconsider before it is too late.Report

Last edited 2 months ago by Björn Lundgren
Hugo
2 months ago

There is by now a Pavlovian connection between seeing ‘Philosophy Documentation Centre’ and that feeling where you know you’ll never get to see the paper. As one reader points out in the comments, whatever PDC does seems to prevent Sci-hub from getting in. And many institutional library subscriptions seem weirdly to not be able to access the PDC. Whoever is behind the PDC would do a great service by dissolving it – which would be the equivalent of getting rid of something bad. Whatever takes the place of the PDC literally cannot be as bad as the PDC.Report

Stephen
Reply to  Hugo
1 month ago

I heard the PDC was recently purchased by Elon Musk.Report

Jason Brennan
Jason Brennan
1 month ago

My dad band is getting $1500 to do a corporate gig this month. Not bad! Of course I only get $500 of that. Two more of those and I can publish in *Thought*.Report

Charles Pigden
Reply to  Jason Brennan
1 month ago

Lacking Jason’s talents and luck I don’t get to do corporate gigs with a dad band to supplement my income. But as a naturalised New Zealander over 65 years old I do get ‘National Super’ (the Old Age Pension) on top of my salary, though it is taxed at the maximum rate. Perhaps I could use this extra income to pay for a publication in Thought? It would take me 9.4 weeks to pay for one paper.
Or here’s another statistic. Junior academic staff at my university (such as my daughter) recently got a pay-rise representing something in the region of a 5% increase. (It won’t match inflation but ..) Publication in Thought would cost about two thirds of such a junior academic’s per annum pay rise. But hey – who needs to pay the rent when academic fame is in the offing? (Luckily my daughter is not a philosopher)
Genuine curiosity Jason: what kinds of numbers does you dad band do?Report

Jason Brennan
Jason Brennan
Reply to  Charles Pigden
1 month ago

Thanks for asking! Here is our set list for that party:

Dec 14 Set List

1.             Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Poison 
2.             Patience – Guns n Roses
3.             Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd 
4.             Come Together – Beatles 
5.             One Bitten, Twice Shy – Great White
6.             Hard to Handle – Black Crowes
7.             The Middle – Jimmy Eat World
8.             Pride and Joy – SRV
9.             Eruption/You Really Got Me – Van Halen
10.         Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
11.         O Come All Ye Faithful – Twisted Sister
12.         Santa Claus Is Coming to Town – Bruce Springsteen

BREAK

1.             My Sharona – The Knack
2.             Hold on Loosely  — .38 Special 
3.             Pour Some Sugar on Me – Def Leppard
4.             What I Got – Sublime
5.             Flirtin’ with Disaster – Molly Hatchet
6.             Seven Nation Army – White Stripes
7.             Jump – Van Halen
8.             Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
9.             Surrender – Cheap Trick  
10.         Semi-Charmed Life – Semisonic 
11.         Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi
12.         Rocking into the Night — .38 Special
13.         My Hero – Foo Fighters
14.         Santeria – Sublime
15.         Ace of Spades – Motorhead
16.         Tom Sawyer – Rush
17.         Whole Lotta Love into War PigsReport

Jeff R
Jeff R
Reply to  Jason Brennan
1 month ago

If you put it that way… crankin out about 90 absolute BANGERS to publish a paper in Thought seems like an ok deal.Report

Charles Pigden
Reply to  Jason Brennan
1 month ago

Pretty good Jason – though not quite enough jealousy, self-hatred, betrayal, unfulfilled love, unfulfilled lust, obsession, depravity, disappointed hopes and no-good men/no-good women who let you down for my taste. I guess it is a little unbecoming for a dad band to dwell too much on teenage despair (‘Creep’ might not be a goer with a corporate audience) but there are quite a lot of tip-top despair songs in which the protagonists are clearly no longer young (‘Hurt’ for example, or ‘Point Blank’. ). And of course it is quite possible to combine many of these themes with an up-tempo beat (think of Paul Kelly’s I’ve done all the Dumb things’ or Soft Cell’s ‘Down in the Subway’ or ‘Tainted Love’ or Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust for Life’.) You can even combine an up-tempo beat with wistfulness and melancholy. Think of Martha and the Muffins ‘Echo Beach’. But I guess you don’t share my view that rock music at its best is all about accentuating the negative.

Now we can get back to the much less interesting task of denouncing Thought.Report

Christopher Gauker
Christopher Gauker
1 month ago

I am lucky. The country I work in, Austria, is generally willing to pay the open access fees for articles in reputable journals. So far I have tested this only in journals published by publishers with which Austria has a pre-arrangement. (These journals do not know whether open access fees will be paid until after the paper has been accepted.) But even if I could be confident that Austria would pay for a publication in Thought at the PDC, I would not want to publish in a journal if I thought my peers would all think I had paid for access. Prof. Wright tells us that fees will sometimes be suspended, but the submissions page of the journal says, on the contrary, that the access fee is required. Who would want to take the risk? This change does seem to spell the end for Thought. Thought was a good journal while it lasted and a needed alternative to Analysis for short papers. Can the decision be reversed?Report

Christopher Gauker
Christopher Gauker
Reply to  Christopher Gauker
1 month ago

In case anyone is interested in the kinds of policies that exist, I report the results of my looking more closely at my own university’s policy. In the case of journals that we also subscribe to, we want to pay the open access fees only if there is a contract between the publisher and the university. The objective is to avoid double payment. However there is also a fund that we can apply to to cover the fees at journals that publish exclusively open access, which is what Thought will now be. Report

Crispin Wright
Reply to  Christopher Gauker
1 month ago

After considerable deliberation, the Trustees chose this model because it promises both to enable us to continue publication of Thought by PDC and hopefully to subsidize other aspects of the charitable work of The Thought Trust on the behalf of the profession. Just as far as the first is concerned, colleagues will presumably be aware that preparation and publication of each issue has to be planned several issues in advance and this requires a reliable income stream to cover costs. We considered other options with PDC that maintained some form of payment for access, but we prioritized the goal of free online access to all content. Under the present arrangement, we can achieve this goal without change to the journal’s complex review process that ensures the highest standards of publication in our areas. Colleagues should also note that the proposed publication fee is significantly less than the open access fee previously charged for Thought‘s open access option, which had become the preferred option for most authors.

In the view of the Trustees, PDC deserves great credit for subsidizing this transition, without any income from the journal at all. Everything published in the journal is now freely accessible at https://www.pdcnet.org/tht/toc. All citations to previously published material now point to a source of free access. Forthcoming articles are also freely accessible at https://www.pdcnet.org/tht/onlinefirst. All content in new issues will be published with a Creative Commons license to ensure permanent open access status. 

We are of course open to alternative sources of funding, and will welcome suggestions of any option that will sustain continuing publication, meticulous editorial procedures, free access to all published materials while generating a modest income for the Trust’s charitable purposes.. We’ve already announced that the Thought Trust and PDC will make every effort to cover the costs of publication in cases where authors have no other source of funding. In practice this means that some open access payments will be covering costs for others. This is a change in the way the journal’s costs have been covered in the past and it may change again in the future, but any solution we adopt will maintain the commitment to free access.Report

Christopher Gauker
Christopher Gauker
Reply to  Crispin Wright
1 month ago

Thank you for this further explanation. I do understand that we need to try alternative publication models. I believe that the „gold“ model is more common in other disciplines, but I do not know how it is working out for them. I do fear it will be a hard sell in philosophy. It will be hard for people who have to pay from a small cache of research funds that they control to feel confident that they are being treated fairly. People who have no easy access to funding may be ashamed to go begging. People who can readily get funding might not want to appear to be taking advantage of reduced competition. If the results in the next year are not too bad, then perhaps you could build more confidence by reporting them here on Daily Noûs. It would be interesting to know the effect on number of submissions and on the fate of submissions. It would be interesting to know, of accepted submissions, how many were paid for, how many subsidized, and how many went unpublished due to failure to pay the fee. Another question will be the effect on people’s willingness to referee. I reiterate that Thought has been an important journal. I was pleased with the treatment my own submission received two years ago, from the referring to the production.Report

Crispin Wright
Reply to  Christopher Gauker
1 month ago

There is no risk. The submissions page has not yet been updated. What is true is that *someone* will have to pay the open access fee — if only the PDC or the Thought Trust itself. Our intention is that no paper that comes through our refereeing process as an ‘Accept’ will fall on financial grounds.
Papers will be refereed blind in the normal way and only after a paper is accepted will the question of the fee be broached.Report

Charles Pigden
Reply to  Crispin Wright
1 month ago

So if you get accepted and don’t have the dosh, you may not have to pay but only after you have gone through the humiliating process of turning out you pockets to prove the you can’t. I am not going to submit to a journal in which to avoid having to pay an exorbitant publication fee I have prove that I am one of the deserving poor. And I expect many other are likely to feel the same way.Report

Crispin Wright
Reply to  Charles Pigden
1 month ago

No-one is going to ask you to turn out your pockets, Charles.Report

Sophie
1 month ago

Are submissions to the journal open anyway? My understanding was that the journal accepted new submissions again, but according to the submission website only invited submissions are accepted.Report