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Derek Shiller

I was under the impression that it was frowned upon to submit papers back to back to the same journal. I've been trying to keep to less than once a year to any given journal. Is that a mistake?


Hi Derek, great question. I should have been more clear on this point. Some journals have an explicit policy on this.. For example, AJP has a policy that restricts your submissions to that journal to (I believe) two per calendar year.

However, if a journal does not list such a policy, then I see no reason to limit your submissions to a given journal to one per year as a default. (That said, in many cases, I think something like this rule gets de facto respected simply because—and especially if you get an R and R—it will take over a year for many submissions to progress through various R and R stages.)


I appreciate that the post is intended merely to shed light on one particular person's work methods, but I think it is irresponsible of the writer and the editors of this website to upload such a post without a number of important caveats.

Firstly, this is not an ordinary work day, and any nervous grad students reading this should not assume that they need to work 12 hour days to be productive. This is above and beyond what is required, and most philosophers of all ranks do not work such long hours. It is common, and acceptable, to take breaks from work to relax, socialise or enjoy one's hobbies. For most people, this is necessary for mental health.

Secondly, working from 8am to 12am is only a real option for a small minority of the population - those in good health with no dependents or family responsibilities, and those who do have such dependents and family responsibilities but who have conveniently found a partner willing to do all of the childcare, all the housework, all of the cooking, etc, to enable their partner to work continuously throughout the day. (Most of the time these partners are women.)

I don't mean to imply that the author of this post is ignorant of these points - I am sure he is not. However, this website has considerable reach and influence, and so it would be useful if he could acknowledge these points so as to make sure impressionable readers do not assume that this an achievable and necessary lifestyle for every aspiring philosopher, when in reality it is not.

Marcus Arvan

Saddened: I share your substantive concerns. I don't work twelve hour days myself, for many of the reasons you mention (I maintain a strict 9am-5pm work schedule Monday through Friday, and almost never work on weekends).

That being said, I don't quite understand how it is irresponsible for Adam to report his practices, or for us to post his contribution without requiring added caveats. Instead of censorship or editorial heavy-handedness, why isn't the appropriate thing here for readers like yourself to raise concerns about the substance of the post, and for discussion to proceed from there?

Ian James Kidd

Saddened: following Marcus' response, and speaking as the commissioning editor, the post doesn't say everyone has to adopt these methods, or aim for this rate of productivity, nor claim that employment is only possible if one does so. Like the other posts in this series, it's a series of personal statements of writing practices, which readers can adopt, amend, or ignore as they like, depending on their needs, aims, and circumstances. Hope that clarifies :)


I read this over a few times, and maybe I'm missing something, but where does he say he works 12 hour days? Is that because of the copy nap? I didn't see anything where it said he was working none stop the rest of the time. But maybe I overlooked this. Regardless, there are always some people in a class of their own. Some of the best philosophers have published just a few things, and others hundreds, there are different ways to do things, and this series is about finding what works for you. I don't work 12 hours a day - but I also don't take days off, almost ever. I also know a few insanely well published people who refuse to write more than 3 hours a day. So, just figure out what works for you, your lifestyle, and all your life goals, not just philosophy.

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