Goodin wrote to the associate editors and editorial board informing them of his firing, and in response many have submitted their resignations, including associate editors Sally Haslanger, Philip Pettit, Anne Phillips, and Amia Srinivasan, and editorial board members Kwame Anthony Appiah, Jane Mansbridge, Jeff McMahan, and others.
Reportedly, none of the current co-editors—Christian Barry (ANU), Nicholas Southwood (ANU), and Lea Ypi (LSE)—will be among the journal’s new editors, and current members of the team of associate editors have not been told by Wiley what its plans are for them.
So far, there has been no official explanation offered as to why Goodin was fired.
(Those with further information about Wiley’s decision and its fallout are welcome to contact me here.)
UPDATE (4/27/23): In response to messages from resigning editorial board members, Wiley has cited problems of “communication” with the editorial team but they have not provided any details of what such problems were, and those close to the journal have expressed skepticism about this explanation.
Anna Stilz (Princeton), a member of the Journal of Political Philosophy editorial board and editor-in-chief of Philosophy & Public Affairs, shared parts of an email she sent to fellow editorial board members.
Like many of you, I wrote earlier today to resign from Wiley’s Editorial Board… But now I’d just like to second [the complaint about] Wiley’s unreasonable demands and to add my perspective as Editor-in-Chief of Philosophy and Public Affairs, another Wiley-owned journal.
Wiley has recently signed a number of major open-access agreements: this means that increasingly, they get their revenue through author fees for each article they publish (often covered now by public grant agencies), rather than library subscriptions. Their current company-wide strategy for maximizing revenue is to force the journals they own to publish as many articles as possible to generate maximum author fees. Where Editors refuse to do that, they exert all the pressure they can, up to and including dismissal, as in this case. Though I am not privy to the details of Bob’s communications with Wiley, I can say that P&PA has experienced similar demands. A few years back we only succeeded in getting them to back down by threatening to file a lawsuit. They were quiet for a while, but recently their demands have begun to escalateUPOD again.
All political philosophers and theorists who care about the journals in our field have an interest in showing Wiley that it can’t get away with this.
A member of the editorial team of the Journal of Political Philosophy confirmed that Wiley has been pushing the journal to publish more articles per year—a demand they’ve made of other journals to varying degrees of success—because of the turn towards open-access publishing agreements. This person said, “I don’t think anyone has a problem with accepting more articles so long as they are of the same standard, but setting numerical targets that rise continually is not a way of expanding while ensuring preservation of quality.”
Readers may recall the editorial and advisory board mass resignation at the European Law Journal a few years ago, and the delay of Wiley’s approval of the associate editors’ choice of editor-in-chief at Philosophy & Public Affairs, an event clarified by Professor Stilz’s remarks above.
UPDATE 2 (4/28/23): Wiley was open to the current co-editors staying on, but they refused because they were unable to get adequate assurance that they would have (in the words of one of them) the “requisite editorial control and discretion to maintain the quality and reputation of the JPP in the face of Wiley’s desire to boost significantly and indefinitely the number of articles published by the JPP.”
UPDATE 3 (4/28/23): In a comment below, Anna Stilz provides more information about the kind of increases Wiley wants:
Wiley is not asking that we consider publishing a few more pieces that fall at the borderline and are tough judgment calls. They are asking that we increase the number of articles we publish by a factor of 10, and that we continue increasing that number year after year. This conflicts with the role of journals in our profession, which is to curate a body of well-vetted, high quality work for an audience, to provide feedback that improves people’s arguments, and to serve as a signalling device that validates the importance of someone’s work when they go up for tenure and promotion. If the top political philosophy journals now have to publish 50 articles per year, 100 the next year, 200 the next, and so on infinitely, it no longer means anything to have your article published in these journals. And the role of the Editorial team also becomes superfluous–if the aim is to rush as many articles to publication as possible, why provide careful comments?
Meanwhile, a source reports copies of “countless resignation letters” of editorial board members in their inbox.
UPDATE 4 (5/9/23): A statement of non-cooperation with the Journal of Political Philosophy until “full editorial independence of the editors over the journal’s publications is restored” currently has 990 signatories.