Journal of Political Philosophy Update (guest post)


The following is an update on the Journal of Political Philosophy, whose advisory board resigned following a decision by the journal’s publisher, Wiley, to fire its editor, Robert Goodin.

The update is by Simon Căbulea May (Florida State University).


In April, Wiley violated the editorial independence of the Journal of Political Philosophy by firing its founding editor, Bob Goodin, effective from the end of this year (see here, here, and here). In response, the rest of its editorial team (Christian Barry, Nic Southwood, and Lea Ypi) are standing down, too, and the advisory board has resigned en masse.

I created a resolution, here, calling for complete non-cooperation with the journal, from the end of the year, unless and until Wiley rescinds its decision to fire Goodin, restores the editorial independence of the journal, and reaches an agreement with the current editorial board as to the journal’s future. That resolution now has over 1000 signatories in the broader political philosophy community. It is inconceivable that any academic journal can function properly with so many people refusing to engage with it. [UPDATE (10/23/23): currently 1090 signatories.]

Instead of resolving the crisis through discussion with the current editorial team, Wiley has attempted to constitute a new editorial team. To the best of my knowledge, these attempts have so far been unsuccessful. It appears that Wiley believes political philosophers to be a fickle and fainthearted bunch who do not care about the credibility and integrity of their journals and who will fall back in line once enough time has passed. If so, this is a naive view, born of desperation, incompetence, and ignorance of their constituency. The resolution remains in force and becomes all the more important with just ten weeks to go before the end of the year. I encourage all academics who might otherwise consider editing, advising, reviewing for, or submitting to the journal to consider signing the petition.

If Wiley’s obstinacy continues, the journal will die and Wiley will earn a reputation as a journal killer. This would be an unfortunate outcome, but it is far better that some new independent venture take its place than the undead husk of a great journal slouches on in ignominy.

 

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Braddock Oberholser
5 months ago

If Wiley is ignoring the petition — maybe the head honchos over there would pay a bit more attention if the APA issued a formal statement to Wiley saying that they’ve made the wrong decision here (the profession are largely boycotting this) but that it’s not too late to correct course by reinstating Goodin and apologising for the error.

politicalphilgradstudent
politicalphilgradstudent
5 months ago

In a recent interview, Goodin suggested that he couldn’t speak on this issue for legal reasons. But it would be great to hear from him or the members of the editorial team at least about whether they support this petition, and what they think members of the profession should do to pressure Wiley.

I signed the petition, but then later grew concerned about the fact that I haven’t heard anything from Goodin or the other members of the editorial team about whether the petition is helpful or welcome on their end? (Did you talk to any of them about this, Simon?)

SCM
SCM
Reply to  politicalphilgradstudent
5 months ago

Thanks for the question. I will say that (a) I set up the petition in my own capacity as a political philosopher, and not at the behest or on behalf of anyone at JPP, and that (b) I would not have set up the petition if I had not known that the JPP team did not oppose me doing so.

Richard Bellamy
Richard Bellamy
5 months ago

Unfortunately, Wiley may take heart from the ELJ, where some more prominent figures have now joined the editorial board and publish in it, even if the editor remains a complete unknown figure and its still a shadow of its former self. But libraries still continue to hold it for the past issues, and universities pay for open access pieces of variable quality to be published there. Sadly academics often find collective action and solidarity difficult – some on principle, others simply because they just concentrate on doing their own thing. The only way Wiley will change is if we get academic libraries to boycott new articles in them on grounds that they will not recognise articles published post-goodie as of the same quality and so will not pay open access fees. I’m not sure how easy that would be – but Wiley only care about money (that’s what this has been about – increasing articles now they get income from open access payments/article rather than journal subscriptions) and so need to be hit in the pocket.

SCM
SCM
5 months ago

Thanks to all who have signed up over the weekend. We’re now at 1090 signatories.

One thing I should have mentioned in the post above is that I am only including names that I can verify as of people in the broader political philosophy community who are in a position to engage with the journal in some way. This is primarily academic faculty, but also current graduate students who may wish to submit papers to the journal in due course. (In one or two cases, I have included people in public policy institutes etc.) This accounts for the discrepancy between the 1090 names on the list and the 1337 people who have signed the petition on Change.org (as of Monday noon-ish).

Please check your name and affiliation in the linked document (once it’s been updated). If I’ve got your affiliation wrong, please email me at smay at fsu dot edu to correct it. Also, if your name doesn’t appear, that means I could not verify that you are a political philosopher. (This usually happens with people with very common names.)

If you wish to sign the petition, please include your affiliation in lieu of your location — thanks.