Solidarity among Philosophers Leads to New Journal: Political Philosophy


Philosophers may be known for disagreeing with each another, but an agreement last year by a thousand of them helped lead to the creation of a new journal and a cautionary tale to publishers about the importance of editorial independence and academic freedom.

[Ben Shahn, “Phoenix”]

The new journal: Political Philosophy.

The cautionary tale to publishers: attempting to overrule a journal’s editorial independence may cost you the journal.

Political Philosophy is born from the ashes of The Journal of Political Philosophy (JPP). It has some similarities with its predecessor—you’ll recognize its editors and editorial board—but also some differences. For example, it has a different publisher, and the new journal will be open access.

Readers may recall that last year, Wiley, the journal’s publisher, told Robert Goodin (ANU), who created the JPP and served as its editor-in-chief, that he would be fired as of the end of 2023. Wiley’s decision was reportedly prompted by a dispute with Goodin over whether the journal should accept more articles. Wiley had been pushing the journal to publish more articles per year because of the turn towards open-access publishing agreements, which generate fees for the publisher on a per-article basis. Goodin resisted this, and he and the other members of the editorial team refused to stay on because they were unable to get assurances that they’d have “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.”

In response to Wiley’s firing of Goodin, over 1100 philosophers and other scholars who work in political philosophy signed onto a statement of non-cooperation with the journal, drafted by Simon Căbulea May (Florida State), refusing to submit to it, referee for it, or join its editorial board, until “the decision to terminate Prof. Goodin’s editorship is rescinded, full editorial independence of the editors over the journal’s publications is restored, and all questions concerning the future relationship between Wiley and the journal are resolved to the satisfaction of the editorial board as recently constituted.”

Wiley attempted to assemble a new editorial board and, despite the work stoppage, remained open to new submissions to the journal. In the meanwhile, Goodin and his former JPP co-editors were working on an alternative.

The result is Political Philosophy (PP), which is now open for submissions.

The journal is edited by Goodin with co-editors Christian Barry (ANU), Chiara Cordelli (Chicago), Jeffrey Howard (UCL), Nicholas Southwood (ANU) and Lea Ypi (LSE). Its new publisher is the Open Library of the Humanities (based at Birkbeck College, University of London), and it is a diamond open access journal, which means that there are no fees charged to either authors or readers (though the journal will accept voluntary contributions from authors who have access to institutional funds or grant funding for open access publication). The journal will be online-only, and articles will be published on a rolling basis. Volumes will be comprised of all articles published in any given calendar year, with “Issue 1” containing material published in the first half of that year and “Issue 2” containing the material published in the second.

Here’s the official announcement:

The former editors of the Journal of Political Philosophy announce the launch of a new journal. 

Called simply Political Philosophy, it will be edited by Robert Goodin along with co-editors Christian Barry, Chiara Cordelli, Jeffrey Howard, Nicholas Southwood and Lea Ypi. All the former Associate Editors and all members of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Political Philosophy will serve in the same capacity at the new journal. Political Philosophy will be published by the Open Library of Humanities as a diamond Open Access journal with no charges to authors or readers.

AIM & SCOPE: Political Philosophy will serve as a forum for exploring theoretical aspects of public life—moral, political, social, legal and economic. It will be an insistently interdisciplinary site for mutual engagement among practitioners of all those disciplines and more. Political Philosophy will be methodologically capacious, equally welcoming of work that is formal and abstract or grounded and discursive. It will bring liberalism, socialism, feminism, critical theory, critical race theory, game theory and social choice theory into conversation with one another. It will be open to historical, exegetical and comparative work that builds to a larger and more general philosophical point. Political Philosophy‘s core commitments will simply be to analytical rigour and scholarly excellence.

On the social media platform Bluesky, Arash Abizadeh (McGill) said, “I think I speak for the poli phil community in general in saying 𝘗𝘗 is the old 𝘑𝘗𝘗’s true successor.”

Meanwhile, Wiley will be holding a session at the Eastern Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association taking place next week in New York about its Journal of Political Philosophy.

You can learn more about Political Philosophy here.

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Aaron V Garrett
5 months ago

Awesome and well done. The people united will never be divided!

don't mourn, organize!
don't mourn, organize!
Reply to  Aaron V Garrett
5 months ago

Indeed, nor defeated!

Aaron V Garrett
Reply to  don't mourn, organize!
5 months ago

Listening to Rzewski right now!

Errol Lord
5 months ago

Let this be an inspiration to all the journals and editors still using the corporate giants. You can go OA; you don’t even need to get fired by the corporate giant first!

Last edited 5 months ago by Errol Lord
Philipp Stehr
5 months ago

This is great! Has anybody gotten something rejected yet? At Goodin’s previous reaction times, there’s been more than enough time

Michael Kates
Michael Kates
Reply to  Philipp Stehr
5 months ago

My record is less than a day! Long live PP!

Dr EM
Dr EM
Reply to  Michael Kates
5 months ago

Bet it was only a day because of the time difference ;). I know someone in Australia who got one rejected in less than an hour.

Dr JB
Dr JB
Reply to  Dr EM
5 months ago

My paper was swiftly desk-rejected within 15 minutes.

Derek Bowman
Reply to  Dr JB
5 months ago

I once had a paper rejected from JPP three years before I wrote it. But you try to tell the young people of today that, and they won’t believe you!

Last edited 5 months ago by Derek Bowman
SCM
SCM
5 months ago

Funny how things work out like that …

E D
E D
5 months ago

Will Political Philosophy institute triple-blind reviewing or will Goodin resume his role as political philosophy’s king-maker?

T X
T X
Reply to  E D
5 months ago

Note the “himself” — “The Editor is responsible for liaising with the publisher, the Open Library of Humanities (OLH), and for making initial decisions on all submissions, whether to desk-reject them or to assign them to himself or one of the other Co-editors for handling.” 

E d
E d
Reply to  T X
5 months ago

It appears that during my lifetime, political philosophers have come together in solidarity to accomplish one single thing: Ensure that professional power remains disproportionately concentrated in a single editor’s hands.

But at least we can still joke about how quickly the editor desk rejects our work, right?

SCM
SCM
5 months ago

I’ve now closed the JPP petition on change.org, although its terms remain in effect.

I think it is important not only that political philosophers support the new journal as the reincarnation of the old JPP (to whatever degree that may have been), but also that we do not support the old JPP continuing on as an undead exoskeleton of a journal. I have no idea if Wiley will ever be able to fool anyone into editing Zombie JPP, but, if they can, I would still regard total non-cooperation with it as an imperative.

James
James
5 months ago

This is good news, but I am concerned that only two issues per year are listed. There is a clear concern amongst many (if not all) in our field that the top pol phil journals are publishing too few pieces. I would hope that PP does publish more than JPP, even if not at the levels supposedly asked by Wiley of JPP.

Dr EM
Dr EM
Reply to  James
5 months ago

The way it’s written makes it sound like the issues will not be limited to an arbitrary number of articles, but rather that all the papers selected in the first half of hte year will be in Issue 1 and the second half in Issue 2.

James
James
Reply to  Dr EM
5 months ago

Yes, I saw that. I hope that they publish 2 bumper issues per year then.

Dr EM
Dr EM
Reply to  James
5 months ago

Me too!

Matthew J Brown
4 months ago

I’m curious whether anyone attended the session at the Eastern APA and can report on what went down. I am sorry to have missed it.

SCM
SCM
Reply to  Matthew J Brown
4 months ago

Ingrid Robeyns was there and says she will write a blog post about it later tonight (I’m assuming on Crooked Timber).

SCM
SCM
Reply to  Matthew J Brown
4 months ago

Here is Ingrid’s post.

Matthew J Brown
Reply to  SCM
4 months ago

Thank you!