One of my philosopher friends posted on social media yesterday about an experience with the Journal of the American Philosophical Association. Long-time readers of the Cocoon will know that I think contemporary analytic philosophy prizes "rigor" too much, in a way that arguably functions to exclude bold, daring work, and perhaps also exclude alternative (and historically marginalized) points of view. Moreover, as recent conversations here and elsewhere indicate, I am apparently not alone (see e.g. postdoc 12/2, 9:03AM's comment, "I dislike the publishing pressure too. It does tend to promote less novel work, which is easier for reviewers to understand"). None of this is to say that small, rigorous, "nuts-and-bolts" work is inherently bad, or not worth doing (something I have sometimes--falsely--been taken to imply). It is merely to say that I, and others--including, apparently, some top journal editors!--worry that philosophy has become "too much nuts and bolts", and should make more room for more daring, bold work, which might require different reviewing standards for different types of papers.
So it came as a very nice surprise (to me, at any rate) when the Journal of the American Philosophical Association announced its Editorial Statement, which reads:
The launch of the Journal of the American Philosophical Association affords a unique opportunity for philosophers around the world to participate in the birth of, not simply another philosophy journal, but a preeminent philosophy journal. Achieving preeminence will require
- Publishing papers that go out on a limb, papers that start trends rather than merely adding epicycles to going trends.
- Publishing papers from early‐career philosophers as well as established philosophers already recognized for their work.
- Publishing papers on topics that draw from and appeal to diverse philosophical constituencies and traditions.
- Publishing readable papers that can be appreciated by philosophers not already steeped in the subject matter.
- Providing a quick turnaround for submissions and the timely publication of accepted papers: no backlogs, no embargos.
- Providing comments to authors aimed at improving papers and not merely singling out reasons for rejection.
Some existing journals satisfy one or more of these conditions, but few, maybe none, satisfy them all. The editors are dedicated to the idea that the world does not need yet another philosophy journal; the world needs a philosophy journal that serves philosophers by providing a venue for fresh, innovative, accessible scholarship.
Now, of course, it's still early--but I cannot help but wonder what readers think: in your view, is JAPA living up to its editorial statement so far?
- Is it publishing papers that go out on a limb?
- Is it publishing papers by early-career philosophers, not just well-established philosophers?
- Is it publishing papers that draw from and appeal to diverse constituencies and traditions?
- Is it publishing readable papers that don't just appeal to philosophers "steeped in the subject matter"?
- Does it have a quick turnaround time?
- Does it provide comments to authors aimed at improving papers, not merely singling out reasons for rejection?
I'm really curious to hear what everyone thinks!