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04/07/2016

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Nick Byrd

Interesting idea. Two questions:

Is there an extant experimental psychology journal that could fulfill this niche? (I ask because the three concerns mentioned in Facebook comments on this topic — stats expertise (which should mean having board members, editors, etc. who actually publish on stats methodology (including replication and meta-analysis methodology); not just people who are competent in stats), time commitment, and hosting — would probably not be concerns for such a journal. I'm not familiar with Frontiers of Psychology's or PLOS's open-access fees, but they come to mind.

In general, my sense is that the community of experimental psychology has a lot to offer experimental philosophy — in addition to stats expertise, they also have experts in psychometrics, etc. So I wonder if and how xPhi could be better served by integrating itself with xPsy.

In other words, what unique value comes from a dedicated xPhi journal?

(I'm not familiar with the aforementioned benefits of the philosophy of biology journal.)

Helen De Cruz

Thank you for your comment, Nick. I think the chief reason for a special x-phi journal would be that currently, x-phi research falls between the scope of cognitive science journals and philosophy journals. The research is often deemed too philosophical for cog sci journals, and too cog sci (not enough philosophical content) for mainstream philosophy journals. So there is a niche that is unexplored.
Currently, x-phi authors mainly publish in generalist journals. This is good of course, but some x-phi work is simply too experimental or too exploratory, or just does not fit the rather conservative scope of mainstream journals to stand a chance there. Hence I think an x-phi journal would be a welcome addition.

Nick Byrd

I see. That is helpful. One more thought:

I wonder what people in xPsy would think or a dedicated xPhi journal. As someone who wants to do work that bridges the borderlands between philosophy and psychology I am hesitant to publish in any journal that appeals only to philosophy or only psychology.

This might just be a way of saying that, personally, I would want this kind of journal to be edited and refereed — at least in part — by respected xPsy-ers. (I do not mean to imply that you have said otherwise; I only mean to make this explicit in case it wasn't already explicit.)

Thanks for this great idea!

recent grad

I know it means something different, but I would really prefer "Experimental Journal of Philosophy".

Chris Stephens

In the case of Biology and Philosophy, I believe they avoided calling it "Philosophy of Biology" because that sounds like another (merely) philosophy journal. The hope with Biology and Philosophy was that it would draw on practitioners from both disciplines. The first editor was a philosopher (Michael Ruse) but two of the three associate editors were biologists (Francisco Ayala and Robert Haynes), and one was a philosopher (David Hull).

The editorial board was (at least) half biologists as well. I think they've tried to keep that up, though the overall editor has usually been a philosopher.

Wesley Buckwalter

You might consider how existing structures could be utilized to serve these goals. One idea might be for the SPP to start publishing proceedings as archival publications, like cognitive science does, or something like that. Another idea would be to see if Review of Philosophy and Psychology would be amenable to some of these changes (e.g. shifting to open access) you list. It is the defacto experimental philosophy, for the most part already, so it's a little unclear what would be gained by adding another like minded thing from what already exists.

C

"An editorial board that consists of a diverse set of x-phi specialists, but ideally also has a few people in cognitive science, and ideally also some specialists in stats and methodology. This would be to avoid insularity."

I think that's important but I was surprised that you didn't mention an editorial board that included philosophers that don't themselves specialize in X-Phi. I'm often asked to review X-Phi pieces. I'm often struck by the fact that the pieces that I'm asked to review differ markedly in terms of their potential impact on longstanding discussions and in terms of their grasp of some of these debates.

Deborah Mayo

I could see supporting this PROVIDED that all authors basing arguments on the results of statistical experiments--which they often will be--actually understand and be capable of running and criticizing the statistical data analysis involved. Else it really won't be very philosophical, will it? The psych side badly needs to hear from philosophers who are able to critically evaluate the statistical foundations of their research. That might require additional training on the part of philosophers.

Brent Strickland

I personally think this is a wonderful idea. Regarding Wesley's comments above, I just started on the Editorial Board at the Review of Philosophy and Psychology so could provide a little insight about how much overlap there would be. In the case of ROPP, it's true that we do encourage Experimental Philosophy (and one of the reasons I joined was to push this even further), but we also publish a range of other article types that wouldn't necessarily fall under the heading of Xphi. Secondly, the overall volume of ROPP is quite low (40-50 per year), and many of our issues are special issues. So personally I think there is plenty of room for added value from a dedicated Xphi journal. I'd add this is something that, if it existed, I and my students would likely submit to from time to time. I also have one additional comment which is very practical. If the idea comes to fruition, I would suggest at least considering making this an on-line publication only (i.e. one that is not printed and distributed). This could help keep the operation costs down, and frankly printing paper versions of journals now is a waste of paper anyway.

Fernando Aguiar

As far as I know Cristopher Luetge and Hannes Rush, two of "Experimental Ethics" editors (Palgrave), have proposed Springer to publish an experimental philosophy journal and Springer is interested in the matter. Perhaps we should join efforts to avoid the risk of being dispersed.
In relation to money problems falling back on crowdfunding among philosopher could help. But if a big publisher as Springer takes on the task of publishing the journal, the money problem would not be so important. The main question would be the quality of the project.

EvoMellor

Hi, This is David Mellor from the Center for Open Science (we develop the OSF). I wanted to chime in with a few points. On the point of null hypothesis significance testing, preregistration of statistical tests is a key step to maintaining the integrity of your p-values. When the statistical test is specified ahead of time before seeing the data, the utility of the test is assured. Without preregistration, our biases lead us to alter our tests as we see the data and are led to the rewarding p-vaules. With preregistration, the test specified ahead of time is clear, and anything else you do is welcome and encouraged as part of the exploratory data analysis, whose purpose is to generate new hypotheses for a new set of data.

This process is well established in the clinical sciences, but most basic research does not use it- we're trying to change that by offering $1000 prizes for publishing the results of preregistered research. Give it a try, you could get a prize! (https://cos.io/prereg).

If the journal described above takes off, please consider adopting guidelines designed to guide editors, reviewers, and authors toward more transparent and reproducible research. The TOP Guidelines (https://cos.io/top) were developed to meet this purpose. I'm happy to answer any questions you about these or other steps you may be interested in pursuing. (david [at] cos [dot] io)

Joachim Horvath

Interesting, Hannes once mentioned this idea to me, but I thought he hadn't pursued it any further. But why Springer and not, for example, here: https://www.openlibhums.org/site/research-integrity/

Helen De Cruz

Dear David Mellor, if the journal gets off the ground (the main difficulties are finding a good publication model and funding to sustain it), this sounds like an excellent idea. We think of having a detailed set of guidelines for best practices, and OSF pre-registration is a very good idea. We will get back to you with the draft of guidelines to make sure there are best practices.

Wesley Buckwalter

Hey Brent, thanks for sharing about RPP, glad to hear you are serving on the board. What things does RPP typically publish that would not also fit a new xphi journal? I take it the latter would indeed broadly capture presentation of new results and empirically informed theoretical discussions in cognitive science. As for volume, why not simply expand it than start again?

Zachary Horne

+1 on Deborah Mayo's comment.

Hannes Rusch

Hi everyone,

it's great to see so much interest in the idea of starting a dedicated XPhi journal.

Just to clarify: Fernando, Joachim and I had also been discussing this idea a while ago. Christoph and I were in contact with Springer about a couple of projects but we never officially suggested an XPhi journal to them (mostly because we both did not have enough time to act as editors in chief). All I can say is that Springer (probably just like any other big publisher) signaled their interest in new journals.

Here's my personal view on the journal endeavour:
1) I think it's a great idea.
2) I agree that the editorial board should be interdisciplinary.
3) Experimental Economics might be a good model from another discipline. Their strength is their methodological rigour and their open data policy. Exp Econ started out as a niche publication but has become top-notch by now. Much of their success, I think, is due to very thorough technical quality control (exp. designs must match theoretical background, stats must be sound, interpretation of results must be adequate, etc.). An XPhi journal, in my view, should try to attain comparable standards and these should be communicated (and enforced) right from the start.
4) I did not know DLH (see Joachim's post). That platform looks good to me. I also like OA much better than traditional publication models.

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