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It depends on your career stage. Review times matter a lot early in one's career.


I have no experience in publishing, so what I say is really, really top-of-the-head.

I’d suggest submitting first to the fastest journal. If you submit to a high-rank-slow-process journal, the odds seem to be that (1) however great your paper is, it will be rejected, (2) it’s just that you’ll have to wait for one year to know that.

If, on the contrary, you submit to a high-rank-quick-process journal, hypothesis (1) remains unchanged but at least you won’t have to wait for one year to know that.

The first/basic thing seems to me to be how quick the journal is to respond to your submission.

Now I’d follow an advice Marcus gave some time ago: it is not a dishonor to submit to a lower-ranked journal. If it increases the chances that your paper gets published, it’s even better, as it will help build your self-confidence and become a better philosopher (Marcus’s words). If the paper is good, readers will “see” it’s good, regardless of whether it is published in first- or second- or third-tier journal. Just don’t publish in a journal that usually publishes crappy jibber-jabber (people won’t even bother to read it --- basic statistical inference).

Also: don’t forget that citation indexes and online bibliographies will add to your paper’s visibility. Your paper will be referenced in “Items that cite this item” for every other paper you cite, and it will be referenced, say, in PhilPapers’ bibliographies. So if you publish in a serious journal, regardless of its rank, I guess it’s alright!

Marcus Arvan

Jason: to echo Rachel, I think it depends on your career stage. However, you're just past the Masters stage, right? If so, you have a *lot* of time. You don't have to be in a hurry. So, if I were you, I might think about making sure the paper is awesome, and then try some tip-top ranked journals first.

That being said, I'm also inclined to agree with Pierre. In my research on the job market the past few years, it appears that lower-ranked publications *do* work in one's favor, and certainly not against (though, of course, bad *work* in any journal can work against you!).

Elisa Freschi

I would also add: "Best" does not need to mean "(Leiter) top 10". It is often better to publish in a journal which is among the best ones in your area. E.g., suppose you write an article on critical race theory, would not you like all people working on this area to be aware of it? They might miss it if it is published in a generalist journal (or, even worse, in a journal more famous for articles about M and E).

Moti Mizrahi

Jason: Here's a useful post from New APPS that might be of interest to you: http://www.newappsblog.com/2014/01/getting-papers-accepted-for-publication-how.html


Elisa, let me dissent: if a paper is good according to the standards of some generalist journal, there is at least one reason to submit this paper to this journal, a reason that has to do with the “exclusion” issue Marcus raised in a previous post. If one writes a paper on critical race theory and publishes it in, say, The Journal of Critical Race Theory (I assume this journal does not exist; anyway the name is chosen only for the sake of the example), other critical race theorists are likely to read it, but “generalist” philosophers will not be aware of it. This results in a continued lack of communication between different “kinds” of philosophy or “strands”. It is (or would be) all to the best, I believe, if “not-in-the-mainstream” authors have (had) an adequate access to more “mainstream” readers. Conversely, being aware of what people who do not share your (so to speak) common philosophical culture seems important to me, as it contributes to a broader and better dialogue.

Elisa Freschi

Pierre, this is a very important point, but a different one, than the issue I was dealing with. When I was a graduate student, it was very unlikely that a paper by me would have been accepted in a top-10 generalist journal and, more importantly, I still lacked the overview needed to make my contribution relevant for a wider public. Unless I am an exception, I would thus recommend to postpone this task for a later stage of one's career, when one has achieved the sense of why one's small topic is important for everyone else.

Helen Daly

There's a nice survey about philosophy journals at Andrew Cullison's blog: http://www.andrewcullison.com/journal-surveys/

I contribute to it, and use it to check on the average response times of journals. Since the survey has been running for a couple of years, there's some useful data available now.

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