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08/24/2018

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Jeremy

As far as I'm aware JESP is the only journal that allows simultaneous submissions. This is a great policy, but effectively useless if no other journals also allow simultaneous submissions. Given the sorry state of philosophy publishing, along with the fact that many people are 'on the clock' in various ways, it would be useful if at least some other journals allowed this (though, obviously, not all journals can or should).

Peter

Hi Jeremy,

That is really interesting--I didn't know any journals allowed that. As you say, this policy makes no difference if only a single journal has this. I do worry that adopting this policy will result in lengthier review times, though. If two similar journals allowed for multiple submissions, then everyone will submit to both at the same time, and referees will be overrun with requests and take longer to review papers. It might also make referees less courteous in trying to referee papers quickly; they will be able to justify pushing off refereeing a given paper since doing so does not tie up anyone's paper. I agree with you that our current system makes it difficult to people "on the clock" but I am not sure allowing multiple submissions will help much with this. I would be curious to hear if you think my justification for this belief is wrong, though.

Marcelo Fischborn

Hi,

Two examples come to my mind when I think of exemplary practices. One is Ergo, which has a great transparency policy regarding the workings of its peer review system. Their website offers detailed and updated statistics about the length of review by decision type (desk rejection, major/minor revisions, etc.). I think this is good for obvious reasons.

A less obviously positive policy I've encountered, this time as a reviewer, is Phil Psychology's practice (I'm not sure it is stated as a policy anywhere) of sending a copy of reports and decision to all the reviewers that have contributed to the evaluation of a manuscript. As an early career philosophers, this was useful to me to get a sense of how my own reports compared to others and how I could further improve them in the future. Phil Psychology also publishes a list of reviewers that have contributed in each issue, which I think is another good transparency policy.

Peter

Hi Marcelo,

Thanks for the comment. I must say I really like idea of sending both referees a copy of reports and the decision. If it is not too much trouble, I wish all journals would start doing this.

I see from looking through Ergo's page that they also have triple blind review, which is nice. I don't see the statistics about length of review decisions, but I am probably just missing something. Which tab is this under? I also like that they list the clear guidelines they give to area editors about when to send papers to referees and when to desk reject.

Marcus Arvan

Marcelo: I have to second your point about Philosophical Psychology.

The practice of sending referee reports to other referees as well as the author is good practice on a number of fronts. First, it creates some level of transparency. I've heard authors sometimes appeal editorial decisions on the basis of reviews they take to be biased or incompetent. While I expect these kinds of appeals rarely succeed (and have heard at least one editor chafe about them), I can imagine a scenario where one referee might read another referee's report and raise concerns to the editor. If I were a referee and came across a review that I thought was unfair, I would probably mention it to the editor. Not sure what difference it might make, but at minimum it might lead the editor to reevaluate whether they should use the reviewer again in the future).

Second, as a referee one can learn a lot from reading other referees' reports--including awareness of one's own mistakes or limitations as a reviewer. One time recently, I reviewed an X-phi paper (which I have some background in) and discovered from reading others' referee reports that there were important statistical issues I missed. As a result, I have subsequently stayed away from reviewing those kinds of papers, recognizing there are probably others who are better positioned than I to evaluate relevant methodological features. By a similar token, even in areas more standardly in my AOS, I could imagine learning a lot from other referees' reports that would plausibly make me a better reviewer in the future.

small is beautiful

Great topic!

I believe Philosophy of Science sends a reminder to reviewers at the one-month mark, another two weeks before a review is due, a third the day of the deadline, a fourth a week after the deadline, etc. Based on my own experience, I do think something as simple as this has the potential to really reduce the number of tardy reviewer reports (I can't be the only absent-minded professor here!)

More seriously, I think a discussion of the nitty-gritty policies and *practices* that work in our current publishing environment is most welcome. Discussion of the peer-review process has a tendency to focus on large, radical changes (should we pay referees? should we ban grad students from ever publishing? should we move to the arxiv model?). Thinking through these issues is fine, of course, but we shouldn't ignore the fact that there are probably lots of little ways in which the review process can be improved.

Peter

Reminders are really nice, and they probably do help reduce wait times for authors. I do think that some fairly simple changes can help improve things, although in some cases I am not sure how simple it would be for editors to implement the changes we suggest. Whether reminders are a little change or not probably depends upon whether the journal uses software that allows for automated reminders.

On this point, I would be curious to hear from any editors or former editors on whether some of the policies and practices discussed here would involve more time than we might think.

Marcelo Fischborn

Peter: I'm sorry I didn't link their statistics page (which is in the website for submissions): https://ergosubmissions.org/statistics/last_12_months

Marcus: On your second case: Wouldn't you think that you could do a good job as a reviewer even if you are not an expert on *all* the areas covered in a paper? Considering your case it seems to me that your actual contribution could have been very positive *given that* the other reviewer had the complimentary expertise; someone in a position to evaluate the methods might be equally less well positioned to evaluate some of the content. As a reviewer, I tend to assume that editors are choosing a balanced pair of reviewers, specially in more interdisciplinary cases. But maybe this is a further point where more transparency could be added.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Marcelo: I think that’s probably right. In fact, I did pick up on a few things the other reviewers didn’t. However, I worry about betting on other reviewers catching serious methodological states you miss—particularly if (as in X-phi) there are complex empirical and statistical issues. In the case in question, if the mistakes had gotten by me *and* other reviewers (perhaps other reviewers like me), then it could have been embarrassing for the journal to have published it. In which case I would feel culpable. So, while in general I think you are right—no reviewer can expect themselves to be perfect—I think one advantage of the Phil Psychology practice is that it can clue a reviewer into which kind of case it is, and whether they should continue reviewing the kinds of manuscripts in question.

Andy

I know at least one other journal explicitly allows multiple submissions. The Journal of Philosophy states:

"We can consider up to two submissions at a time from a given author.

The two submissions may refer to one another but must stand alone as independent articles."

Their review time seems to be pretty good too from my experience. I have noticed a few other journals (such as Mind) don't explicitly state that they refuse to consider multiple submissions, I don't really know what to take from this...

Amanda

I think multiple submissions meant at *different* journals. Lots of journals allow multiple submissions from the same author.

Kevin

I agree that Res Phil has some great policies in place. Former editor Jon Jacobs should get substantial credit for what he did as editor there, including putting these policies in place.

Andy

Oh, I misunderstood the JESP simultaneous submissions thing (it is clearer on their website). I guess I had the opposite impression about multiple articles by the same author being standardly permitted. My assumption had always been the opposite and, other than Jphil, all journals I am aware of who have an explicit policy here have a policy of not considering multiple submissions from the same author. The only time I have tried multiple submissions to the same journal (Phil studies) the second submitted paper got hastily desk rejected, which I assumed was due to my already having a paper under review there (I'm pretty sure it was not just because the paper was bad). I'd be interested to have a clearer idea how common it is for journals to consider multiple submissions by the same author at the same time, and I'd love to find out I have been wrong in my impression so far.

Amanda

That's what I thought too Andy, until I asked a few editors who told me it was fine and happened all the time. But perhaps it varies a lot by journal.

Postdoc

As far as I know, the last time I checked, Philosopher's Imprint says nowhere on their website that multiple-submissions are not allowed.

Postdoc

multiple-submissions to different journals

Amanda

lol good next paper I write I am submitting to phil imprint and JESP

Peter

Marcelo - Thanks for pointing me towards these statistics. I agree that it is awesome they post these.

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