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 Not so bad

I tend not to argue with editors and just send my papers elsewhere if rejected.
I work in philosophy of science and I have to admit that, in my experience, in top journals (PhilSc,Bjps, Studies in HPS) editors have always been on top of their work. An exception is Synthese, which it does have too many submissions, and I can understand why sometimes editors are overwhelmed.

had a similar experience

I'd suggest moving on to a new journal.

Here's a not-too-outlandish hypothesis: The handling editor wasn't interested in your paper, and they wrote up a hasty justification for their verdict.

If you convince the journal to reconsider, it may well end up with the same handling editor, who already doesn't like your paper and is now annoyed that they have to reconsider it.


I honestly do not understand what happened. Did a journal editor really write that you need to cite people of color? I am at a loss. I can imagine someone saying you need to cite people who have written on race, if the topic is relevant to the issue of race. But did the editor really say "cite people of color"? What on earth was the topic of the paper under review?


Yup: ignore.

And if you get too many more reports like this from a journal, stop trying to publish in it for a while. Now that I'm not hurting for publications, I just give up on venues where I've had very negative experiences. I'll revisit them later, when I have the time and energy to do so. In the meantime, there's a pile of journals where I've had very positive experiences, or which I haven't tried yet.

Illusion of Terra

I am both with Baffled and baffled. When did it become a requirement to cite people of color or any minority, ethnicity etc.? A clarification on this would be appreciated.
As for the editor part itself, I never bother arguing with them, and send it somewhere else.


This is a strange case, but I will say that in general I have had good experiences when I send kind and professional emails to editors. I think one quick email is not to much trouble, just don't waste too much time on it, and certainly just quietly back down if the editor is offended. Life is too short...

There are SO many journals out there, in general I agree just forgot about it and ship it somewhere else. That is the most idiosyncratic review/reject I have ever heard of...

desk rejected

Thanks for all the advice, everyone!

For those who are baffled--
The paper is not on race, and the editors did tell me to cite people of color in no uncertain terms. They wrote:

"It is our editorial opinion that the manuscript, while intriguing, does not meet the scholarly standards of [Journal X]. Our scholarly standards for research on [topics X, Y and Z (where X, Y, and Z ≠ race)] require that papers acknowledge and engage with some of the central and significant work by philosophers of colour on these topics that have shaped historical and current debates. This could include philosophers such as [list of prominent philosophers]."


Desk rejected:
Short of knowing the topic of your manuscript, I remain baffled.

Illusion of Terra

Is this like a journal-specific thing or have others had similar experiences when it comes to 'you have to cite people of color' or similar?
This just seems so unexpected and I have never heard of anything like this before.


You are dealing with racists. It will be impossible to talk sense to these people. Move on.


This is nucking futs. I do wish you'd tell us the name of the journal so we can know where not to submit. (I don't know the race of the vast majority of authors I read -- I just look at the name, I don't look up a picture.)

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