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What makes for a good philosophy journal? A new survey is underway to help answer that question.

A few years ago Boudewijn de Bruin (Groningen, Gothenburg) conducted a study that led to a journal ranking published last year in Synthese and discussed here.

With his colleague at Groningen, How Hwee Ong, he is now conducting a follow-up study to gain an understanding of the attributes philosophers believe quality journals should possess, to gain insights into philosophers’ opinions on the peer review system in philosophy, and to gather information that could be used to establish a ranking of philosophy journals based on procedural quality and integrity.

He says that the survey is designed such that no identifying information (name, affiliation, etc.) is requested, and should take 10-15 minutes to complete. You can access the survey here.

What makes a good journal is reasonable turn around times and clear communication. Desk rejections should be under two weeks. Review never longer than 6 months. A good editor will contact two reviewers and a third to have on standby

An editor will typically contact six or more reviewers before one agrees to provide advice. Those first five or so will often not decline the assignment for several weeks after being invited. If despite this an editor is able to get two reviewers to sign on in the first three weeks, it’s a great feeling that only lasts until neither of them report in by the agreed upon deadline. Apologies for the “owners’ lament,” but maybe it rounds out readers’ perspectives.

Beat me to it. What authors want from journals most are things that journals have little control over. What needs to change is the prevailing norms in the profession. Other disciplines have different norms.

Genuine question: why do you think there is variation among otherwise similar journals? Just statistical variance?

Anecdotally, specialist journals are better. Perhaps a sense of community? I’m not convinced there’s a great deal of variance among the better known generalist journals (there are some journals that are badly run, among some of the lesser known journals).

Such a limited number of journals in the survey – zero philosophy of science or specialty ethics/value or history etc. journals. I guess they’re only surveying “generalist” journals”. It meant my survey results weren’t very helpful because I rarely submit to generalist journals.

The survey asks about the number of reviews on the basis of which a decision is made. It makes a difference though whether the decision is rejection or r&r/acceptance. It’s reasonable to think that it’s ok to reject on the basis of one competent review, but not ok to accept on the basis of one such review.

I didn’t put much argument behind assuming a risk-symmetry between false positives and false negatives, but you and others may be interested in the case for single reviewers.

I made this proposal two years ago in a comment here:

I took the survey but found that the question is asked from within a very narrow range of possibilities, i.e., they have already decided what a good philosophy journal looks like, and they are asking irrelevant questions like the amount of time to submit reviews or whether a person can edit more than one journal at a time.

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