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12/19/2018

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Paul

I have noticed that on philpapers there are a number of groups now, philosophy of mind, etc. Perhaps joinng the relevant groups and getting to know some people in your field that way would help. Seems like a writing group might naturally emerge out of those conversations. I also know several colleagues at other institutions that are members of facebook groups and have good philosophical discussions there, and again, that alone won't provide what you are after, but you might connect with scholars with common interests who are also interested in a writing group.

I am fortunate to be in a writing group that I started in as an adjunct and have been in now for 7 or 8 years with people in my department. Each week or two one person sends around something they are working on (short as an abstract or long as an article or book chapter), everyone provides written feedback (sometimes very brief!) and then we meet and discuss. It is especially great for accountability, but also great for developing ideas, responding to questions and objections, and getting structural and grammatical suggestions. I would think that you could accomplish this digitally in something like a private facebook group, where people leave comments and talk back and forth like we do here...

Marcus Arvan

James: It may also be worth trying to approach early-career philosophers in the area by email.

A while back, an early-career philosopher near me who recently got a job sent me an email asking if I'd like to grab a beer. We've become friends, and on a few different occasions he mentioned that he'd like to organize more of a community among local philosophers in the area. Because one of my junior colleagues also expressed interest in this, we are now organizing a meet up in January for interested philosophers in the Tampa Bay and surrounding areas. We have our first meetup scheduled for January 5th, and tentatively plan to organize ways to share work, reading groups, etc. (By the way, anyone in the Tampa area who is interested in joining us should feel free to email me!).

Anyway, you never know what kind of response you will get when you email someone out of the blue - but it worked for my friend (who I didn't know when he initially emailed me). Further, I suspect there are probably a fair number of philosophers out there (particularly ones in part-time gigs or in small departments) who are looking to expand their circle and share work themselves. I know I am! So, why not give it a shot? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. :)

Marina

I think it is very important to share work with colleagues, specially for early career scholars who inevitably need some feedback in order to get more chances of publishing their papers. In my case, I find very hard to get feedback: even ex colleagues who did the same PhD program than me are not very willing to help, and other people I personally knew in my department do not even answer my mails with a negative response... I also used to send my papers to well established researchers working on my field, but for now I've never received an answer... I think senior professors and researchers should definitely care more about this!

Amanda

Marina: I have had basically the same experience as you. From what I can tell the best way to go about it is to find an already established group and ask to be a part of it. Getting one started on your own can be very difficult, at least for people like me. It seems others are much more skilled in this area than I am.

As for people not responding, whether it's a senior person or not, it really bothers me just how unkind this is. Of course people can occasionally miss an email, but this happens with such frequency that this is unlikely the explanation. I remember when a senior philosopher recommended that I send my paper to two of his well-known friends. Neither of them even responded and I felt like a total doofus. It just seems so easy to send a quick reply along the lines of, "Thanks so much for your email. Unfortunately I am very busy at the moment and will not have time to review your work..." And even if that wasn't easy, one should try to do so out of decency.

Mark

Someone is trying this in ancient philosophy: http://endoxa.blog/2018/12/18/new-round-of-ancient-philosophy-paper-drafts-exchange-open-until-january-5/

Caleb Cohoe

This is a big issue and something that led me to organize a paper draft exchange for those working in my area (ancient Greek and Roman philosophy). Some people are sharing via email while some are trying out the new philpapers sessions feature. We're in the midst of the first round of paper exchanges and I've started sign-ups for a second round. If you might be interested, you can find out more here:
http://endoxa.blog/2018/12/18/new-round-of-ancient-philosophy-paper-drafts-exchange-open-until-january-5/ Someone could do something similar in another area.

Benjamin LS Nelson

I have found most productive success doing paper exchanges with friends and colleagues over Facebook. The most stimulating conversation has occurred over blogs -- though collegiality sometimes suffers in that medium, as there is no institutional incentive for participants to behave in good faith, and plenty of opportunity for unnecessary drama. I have not had any notable success with academia.edu or Philpapers.

Lately, I have been listening to podcasts by scriptwriters in the TV and film industry. I have found it profitable to compare the experience of publishing in the humanities to the experience of script-writing. While busy established writers in the film industry acknowledge how difficult it is for juniors to get scripts read, they will also bemoan their feelings of discomfort (and potential liabilities) with being solicited for that feedback. The power of the analogy has made me hesitate in 'cold calling' senior colleagues in academia.

I think the most success I've gotten has come from reverse-solicitation. Offer to read and offer constructive comments. Pay it forward.

Asst Prof

My best experiences have come from exchanging work with other junior scholars working in the same sub-discipline as me. I was fortunate to meet 4-5 grad students or newer assistant professors with the same research interests at conferences or other events, and will occasionally exchange papers with them.

It's possible that I just got lucky to meet thoughtful people, so I'm not sure this plan would generalize to everyone.

It is interesting to read papers on a topic one knows well, so this can make people in the same sub-field open to exchanging work. Also, by doing it with peers, it feels less like asking a senior person for a favor or connection, and more like friendly collaboration.

A related idea would be to seek out exchanges with those a little less established in the field than oneself. For example, if I have 2 published papers on X, and I meet a grad student writing their dissertation on X (but with no publications yet), they might be eager to trade papers, and also benefit quite a bit from this.

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