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Do Academics Overestimate the Importance of Journal Prestige?

A recent study of academics in the United States and Canada found that when it comes to choosing where to submit their work for publication, they “most value journal readership, while they believe their peers most value prestige and related metrics such as impact factor.” The study, “Why we publish where we do: Faculty publishing values and their relationship to review, promotion and tenure expectations,” by Meredith T. Niles (Vermont), Lesley A. Schimanski (Simon Fraser), Erin C. McKiernan (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Juan P. Alperin (Simon Fraser), was posted at BioRxiv and discussed in an article recently at Times Higher Ed. It had over 300 respondents from 55 different institutions of higher education. Among other things, the study asked which factors respondents consider when choosing publication venues, and which they think their peers considered when doing so. Here are the results: The authors write: Compared to their own perceptions of important priorities when publishing, respondents perceived differences in how their peers rate important factors for publishing… Considering the mean responses, the top factors respondents thought their peers felt were important included: (1) the overall prestige of the journal/publisher/venue, (2) the JIF [journal impact factor], and (3) both the readership they want to reach and the journal/publisher/venue being regularly read by their peers. Overall, we find that there are many [More]

How to Write a Referee Report (guest post by John Greco)

The following is a guest post* by John Greco, who is currently Leonard and Elizabeth Eslick Chair in Philosophy at Saint Louis University, but will soon be taking up the McDevitt Chair in Philosophy at Georgetown University. It first appeared at The Philosopher’s Cocoon. How to Write a Referee Report  by John Greco I am sure that there will be varying opinions about how to write a referee report. In keeping with the spirit of this series, I here offer my own opinion, based on my own experience as someone who has written and read quite a few such reports. I have written them as a referee, of course. I have read some as an author, but many more as the editor of a major philosophy journal. It is this last perspective, I believe, that is most useful for present purposes. For referee reports, remember, are written primarily for journal editors.[1] That is, the defining purpose of a referee report—its raison d’etre—is to help a journal editor to make a decision about a submission. And that is what gives us insight into the criteria for a good referee report. Already I have said something (at least one thing) that is substantive and controversial. That is, I don’t think that everyone would agree that this is indeed the primary purpose of a referee report. Many writers of such reports seem to think (or at least this is what I gather from reading their reports) that referee reports are primarily directed at authors, and for the purpose of improving the paper [More]

Publishing Philosophy One Doesn’t Believe

“Is there anything wrong with publishing philosophical work which one does not believe?” That is the central question of “Publishing Without Belief,” a recent article in Analysis by Alexandra Plakias, assistant professor of philosophy at Hamilton College. Professor Plakias argues that publishing without belief is not wrong: “the practice isn’t intrinsically wrong, nor is there a compelling consequentialist argument against it.” Here are some of the reasons she offers for her answer: “requiring philosophers to publish only what is true, or what they know, advantages philosophers with more permissive standards for knowledge or truth, while disadvantaging those with higher standards.” “biographical information about the author—including his or her personal convictions—should be… irrelevant to assessments of the merits of their argument… we don’t necessarily base our acceptance of an argument on the speaker’s (or author’s) attitude towards it.” Publishing without belief doesn’t necessarily involve hypocrisy, lack of thoroughness, or insouciance (bullshitting). “The speaker (or writer) who doesn’t believe her argument isn’t telling her audience that she believes what she’s saying—she’s asking the audience to believe it.” We don’t have sufficient reasons to think that “a philosopher won’t whole-heartedly defend a view she’s put into print, even if she isn’t [More]

PhilPapers Publishes Its First Book

In a move that may signal disruptive changes to academic philosophy publishing, PhilPapers, the free, massive, online philosophy database, has published its first book—an open-access edited collection. It’s The Open Handbook of Formal Epistemology, edited by Richard Pettigrew (Bristol) and Jonathan Weisberg (Toronto), and it features the following contributions: “Precise Credences”, by Michael G. Titelbaum “Decision Theory”, by Johanna Thoma “Imprecise Probabilities”, by Anna Mahtani “Primitive Conditional Probabilities”, by Kenny Easwaran “Infinitesimal Probabilities”, by Sylvia Wenmackers “Comparative Probabilities”, by Jason Konek “Belief Revision Theory”, by Hanti Lin “Ranking Theory”, by Franz Huber “Full & Partial Belief”, by Konstantin Genin “Doxastic Logic”, by Michael Caie “Conditionals”, by R. A. Briggs Weisberg, who was one of the creators of the open-access philosophy journal, Ergo, and who suggested the idea of the book to the PhilPapers, says that a second edition of the book may include more articles. In a post about the book at his site, Weisberg writes: “For me personally, a central aim of this project was to demonstrate a point about open access publishing and shared standards. The budget for this book was exactly $0.00, and this was only possible because we didn’t need a human typesetter.” This was possible because “Pretty much everyone in formal epistemology uses the same, standardized format to do their writing. And [More]

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