In the comments section of our newest "how can we help you?" thread, Jake Wright writes:
I'm curious about something in light of the recent posts regarding the peer review process and making it more like arXiv. Given the current peer review system we have in philosophy, warts and all, how would/do reviewers, editors, etc. respond to identifiable drafts posted to an archive like PhilPapers? I generally like the idea of moving towards a more identifiable preprint system for many of the reasons Marcus identifies, but I worry that posting my own work will negatively affect me by somehow impacting drafts once they are submitted. Am I right to worry about this? Wrong? How can one manage this, if it's a concern?
This is a great query, one I have wondered a good deal about myself. Indeed, it's the main reason I don't currently post unpublished drafts online, let along offer up drafts for feedback here at the Cocoon (which I think would be a great place for early-career philosophers to share and discuss drafts publicly). I worry that reviewers and editors may take openly posting unpublished drafts as subverting anonymous review, which might in turn influence review of the paper in a negative way.
But that's a different set of issues--and it doesn't address Jake's primary concerns, which are whether right now posting drafts online publicly (e.g. on Philpapers or elsewhere) may negatively affect him in the peer-review process:
- Is he right to worry about potential negative impact of posting unpublished drafts online?
- If so, how might one manage to avoid potential negative impact?
I'm curious to hear everyone's thoughts. For my part, I think Jake may indeed be right to worry--and I am not sure much can be done to manage the issue beyond changing disciplinary norms in favor of people posting papers online and it not being considered a problem. In a post later this week, I hope to share some thoughts about steps we might take--as individuals and a profession--to transition toward new norms (viz. the "open" peer-review system). But, beyond that, I'm not sure I have any helpful advice for Jake (as again, I don't currently post papers online due to the very kinds of worries he mentions!). But perhaps I am wrong about this: perhaps our worries are overblown? What do you all think?