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young scholar

If a paper is published in a designated "Notes" or "Discussion" section of a journal, I would tend to agree. But, often, papers that reply to a single paper in a previous issue of a journal are not published in a Notes or Discussion section (in which case I assume the reviewing process is the same as that for standard papers). I would treat papers in the latter case as normal publications.


young scholar is right. That a piece is a critical notice, discussion note, or reply doesn't mean that it went through a different review process, e.g. had fewer reviewers. Let's not forget that many original articles published in our most prestigious journals are often reviewed by a single referee.

Maybe the original article/non-original article distinction is supposed to track word length? Maybe, but reply pieces are often as long as original articles (in places like Mind, for example).

Maybe contribution type? Maybe, but I've read book reviews that make more important contributions than original articles.

So what are we hung up about, exactly?


I've seen *a lot* of book reviews in Mind and Phil Review classed with the rest of someone's publications, with no indication whatsoever that it's a book review.

I agree that it looks bad, when I detect it.


I'm not sure what I think, but I've basically lived as "young scholar" suggests. I've tried to be very transparent on my CV, separating into three categories: "journal articles", "articles in edited volumes", and "book reviews". However, one of my "journal articles" is a reply, and because the process of having it under review, including responding to a round or two of feedback, was indistinguishable from the usual journal article experience, by the time it was accepted I didn't even consciously think not to give it a separate section!

However, I could see being convinced to put it in a separate section. One thought I had is that "reviews and discussions" would be a somewhat natural joint category, even if discussions are the greater scholarly achievement between the two.


I think any reviewing difference is the important tracker. I have something that is formally listed as a 'discussion' in a top journal, but it went through the same review process as 'original' articles (the editors were very clear about this). It is also longer than many 'original' articles. It is only a discussion in that it takes many elements of the article it discusses for granted, freeing my paper up to discuss surrounding issues without worrying so much about exegesis. It was also not invited. It was an open submission, just like 'original' articles.

Book reviews are (almost always) very differently reviewed. Even in top journals, they are only minimally reviewed, often by the book review editor, and many are invited. Sometimes, someone is asked, and they then pass the review onto someone else - one of my first book reviews in a major journal happened through a big name being asked, initially accepting, then realising they did not have the time, and then asking me to do, and only then asking the editor if that was ok. They are not open submissions.

So, I would say that discussion notes are very different from book reviews, and only the latter should be reduced to their own section on CVs.

Daniel Weltman

I think it's bad form to list discussion notes/etc. as if they're normal publications, even when discussion notes/etc. went through a review process, had as many reviewers as a normal publication, etc. But I feel like listing everything under "Publications" is common enough that if I care, I just check each publication to see whether it's a discussion note (and thus I don't really care what the CV says), and I also don't assume the person is trying to be deceptive if they've listed book reviews or discussion notes without noting they're not full articles. They might just not agree with me that it's bad form not to indicate this stuff.


I think there are two issues here:
1. Some people are intentionally deceiving Search Committees etc. of course this happens, and of course it should not. We do not like it. And when I am on a search committee and I see signs of it I pass over the file. There are too many good qualified candidates. I do not need to take a chance with someone who is deceptive. I have worked with such people. They are assholes.
In philosophy of science, for example, some people list PSA papers as if they are in the journal Philosopher of Science. They are, and they aren't. PSA is published by and in Philosophy of Science, but it is easier to get a PSA paper than a regular Philosophy of Science paper. How much difference does such a misrepresentation make? I cannot tell you.
2. This leads to the second issue. Some people do not know how their representation of their publications is perceived by others, those on search committees. You cannot get inside everyone's mind. So all you can do is try not to deceive.

Marcus Arvan

Anon: you write, "I think any reviewing difference is the important tracker." You may think this, but others (including members of search committees) may not.

For the record, I don't think the review process is the only important tracker. You write of a response you have published as a discussion piece in a top journal, "It is only a discussion in that it takes many elements of the article it discusses for granted, freeing my paper up to discuss surrounding issues without worrying so much about exegesis."

These are actually *huge* differences between response pieces and original pieces. All a response piece does is respond to another person's work. It does not require you (the responder) to understand the entire rest of the literature, let alone use an understanding of the broader literature to construct an original theory of your own (which is a very difficult thing to do). All a response may involve is finding a dubious premise or inference or whatever in someone else's argument, and showing that their argument fails. It is one thing to *respond* to others' work, finding a serious problem with an argument. It is another thing entirely to understand a vast literature and construct and defend an original theory--which is what standalone articles do. I hope you can see that these are pretty clear (and to some people, very significant) differences.

I want to be clear: this isn't to derogate the value of response pieces. I think they can and do make important contributions to the field. Indeed, I've published response pieces myself. It is simply to point out that they are very different *kinds* of work--which is why in the journal you published in they have a different section for discussion pieces (to identify them as a different kind of work).

Now, I assume that you and others might disagree with what I wrote above. But here is what I would suggest in any case: these are things that reasonable people can and do disagree over (see Danny Weltman's and sciguy's comments). Bearing that in mind, and bearing in mind that search-committee members may have strong views here, the safe thing to do is to be perspicuous in your CV/publication list about which things are response pieces and which are not.


I remember a similar discussion here a few months ago. Then, like now, I suggest that simply listing everything (except book reviews) under publications seems the least "deceptive." By doing so I am not committing to any views on how any publication ought to be counted, and it allows each CV reader to go ahead and apply their own idiosyncratic beliefs about the worthiness of specific publications. Am I missing anything in this approach?


Thanks for these responses!

In reply to "Again?", the point isn't about headings (though headings are one way of designating a publication as the type it is). FWIW, with the exception of book reviews, I'm in favor of all publications being listed chronologically under the same heading (original articles, chapters in volumes, discussion pieces, co-authored pieces of any of the aforementioned types), *with its being clear in each case what kind of publication each is.* I think there's value to seeing, in snapshot form, the development of the author's research program(s) that this kind of chronological presentation affords.) I don't think the general weight of the publication-type is what's most relevant here. I mean, it's the norm (for good reason) that co-authored pieces be listed alongside sole-authored pieces (i.e. in the same section) despite the former generally having less weight (for each author). Maybe one's 50 page co-authored paper *does*, in the eyes of informed evaluators, weigh more for one than some others of one's sole-authored papers. Still, it would be egregious to fail to note (e.g. in parentheses) that the paper was co-authored (and with whom). It's less obviously objectionable to omit the fact that some piece is a discussion note/reply when the journal itself indicates this in its table of contents. But, both misrepresent the facts by omission (regardless of what the author intends), licensing the inferences, respectively, that the paper is sole-authored and is an original article.

Reviews in my view deserve a separate heading not only because they're less weighty publications (though they are), but also because they aren't of their nature expressions of the author's research program. But, in any case, even if the exceptional review makes an important, if small, contribution to some debate (and gathers a decent number of citations, suppose), that's no reason to omit to indicate it's being a review.

AJOB and PhilSc

I have a section 'Publications' which is divided in the following way:

- Articles in peer-reviewed journals
- Commentary/short note (* are invited, otherwise they are peer-reviewed)
- Chapters in edited books ( * are invited)
- Book reviews

I think this covers pretty much everything

I'm a phil sc person, so I understand sciguy concern about Philosophy of Science proceedings. I work a little in applied ethics as well, and I have noticed that many people list AJOB commentaries (1,500 words) as full-blown articles in peer-reviewed journals 'publications'. This is really deceptive!


Marcus, you say there are huge differences between response pieces and “original pieces.” But these aren’t the only two kinds of papers people write. Some papers are hybrids, and depending on your subfield, there could be other relevant distinctions. In history of philosophy, papers engaging with original, untranslated sources are different than papers engaging with secondary literature, for instance. (And for what it’s worth, I’m not sure I agree that a response paper doesn’t involve broad understanding of the literature—this will depend on what your response is!)

I think distinguishing between book reviews and other peer-reviewed publications is best on a CV, since the purpose is to give a clear record of your accomplishments. Leave the evaluation of weighing those accomplishments up to people who are looking at the papers.

Marcus Arvan

Hey M: I totally agree. Some papers are hybrids. All I am suggesting is that to be *honest*, people should make it clear on their CV how their paper was classified by the journal in which it was published.

Look, Gettier's famous paper was only 2 pages long and in essence a 'response piece', purporting to give a quick refutation of a dominant theory of knowledge in the literature. Despite being short and only being a 'negative' argument, its influence has been enormous. And it was not listed by Analysis as a reply or discussion note.

All I think people have a duty to do is be clear whether their work was published by a journal *as* an article, or as a reply/discussion note. If the journal classifies it one way or the other, it's simply deceiving for someone to not make that clear on their CV. (And, regardless of what the journal might say in its official editorial policy, my experience is that reviewers might not have the same standards for each type of piece).

Anyway, I entirely agree that how people evaluate your work and CV should be left up to them! The important thing is to not engage in anything that looks like "lying by omission." Leaving details like these off your CV may seem innocent, but as we've seen here there are people (myself included) who think it is deceptive--and looking deceptive is something to avoid as a job-candidate for obvious reasons.


Marcus, then just to clarify, you agree with young scholar, that the distinction should track how the publication is classified by journals? If so, that’s orthogonal to the differences in content you note, since what you characterise as a reply piece (qua content) could be published in some contexts as a standard article, and some pieces published as a reply might engage in significantly important work that is deeper than just finding an errant affirming the consequent.

That said, I think that could be an appropriate thing to identify on a CV, since it tracks how your accomplishment is characterised. But I wouldn’t want to label work apart from how a journal identifies it, in terms of the deeper distinctions you’re noting.

Marcus Arvan

Hey M: okay, fair enough - we agree. I just thought we were discussing reply/discussion pieces specifically (i.e. those denoted as such by journals). My impression is that most journals (Analysis being one of the few exceptions) don't normally publish short reply pieces other than explicitly *as* replies. But maybe I am wrong about this?

Michael Bukoski has some long pieces that primarily target other people's work. See e.g.




But, generally speaking, these kinds of pieces are much longer and more involved than 'replies' or 'discussion notes' (though the third of these pieces is a bit on the short side). I wouldn't think that Bukoski should list these as 'replies' as again they are all quite a bit longer than a 2-3K reply piece. I think it's primarily the latter (short 2-3K word *replies*) that I think people consider deceptive to pass off as a full-length journal article.

sorts of old person

To be clear, this advice is primarily for those on the market for entry level jobs. It is their cvs that are being scrutinized for honesty. I have 50+ publications (I am not early career). It matters little where and how I classify and divide mine on my cv. Anyone who knows anything about me will know my most important work. Indeed, I am now applying for funding etc. where I am required to list publications from the last 5 years - ONLY. If I add things older than this on such an application I will look like an ass, and my application will be disqualified.


I have a 'discussion note' listed on my CV with the rest of my publications. After reading Marcus's post I'm now even less inclined to specify its classification on my CV. Seems the assumption is that if something is a 'discussion note' then it doesn't make an origional or broader point beyond pointing out a false premise in somebody's argument. Here is what mine does: provides a counter example to somebody's view. Provides a formula for such counterexamples that would generalize to other views. And it provides an alternative diagnosis drawing on the foregoing discussion. It's one of my most cited papers. And I could have just as easily sent it to, say, analysis, as an origional paper. But I already had a paper under review at analysis, so I sent it to the journal of the paper i was focusing on. Seems ridiculous to list it differently from any of my other papers, it is no less a piece of substantive philosophy than anything else I have written. This especially true if people's automatic assumptions of 'discussion pieces' is that they just point out a faulty premise and don't engage with the wider issue.

What I have done in the past is list the (rough) word lengths of all my papers to give an idea of how much I was actually doing in each paper.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Andy: As I mentioned in a previous comment, I don’t mean to dismiss the value of discussion notes. Nor do I mean to imply that all discussion notes are the same. Still, the kind of discussion notes you describe seems to me to be an exception rather than the rule. Yours sounds closer to something like Gettier’s famous Analysis paper, as you do (as you describe) take on a broader literature. But that doesn’t seem to me representative of the typical discussion note (which in my experience tend to be more targeted). In any case, it still seems to me right to list papers by how they are classified in a journal. If a discussion note like yours does more than the typical discussion note, it won’t be hard for someone to figure that out by checking out the actual paper—which I think search committee members do (I do, at any rate, if I find a candidate intriguing!). My central point in this thread isn’t about what discussion notes are or are not (as I noted reasonable people can disagree on that). My main point is about honesty: it just doesn’t look good (in my experience) for candidates to try to hide things by omitting information about what is what on a CV.

Search Committee Member

I've served on search committees at top UK universities. I think discussion notes, of any sort can be listed in the main list of publications. This is because (contra some people), in my experience, discussion notes very often do quite a lot, and do show a very extensive knowledge of the literature (sure, some are minor counterarguments, but so are many 'original' papers published by top journals; see endless tiny counterexample papers published by top 10 journals as original articles).

I will not think someone is trying to deceive me to include these in the main publication list. In fact, I take it as part of my job on the search committee to look at these and try to gauge their quality. Being on the job market is hard enough, with enough biases effecting the process, that I think it would be uncharitable of me to think that applicants are trying to deceive me (again, sure one or two might, but we'll notice that in cover letters or in interview). People on the search committee are in the position of power here, and should accept the extra work that they have to do in virtue of having that power.

I do think book reviews are different. They are good for people to have, but (at least within the UK) cannot be used for various probation/REF procedures, and hence are not a major part of a committee decision making process.


@sciguy: I am a junior philosopher of science. I started listing PSA Proceedings publications on my journal because a number of *very* prominent senior philosophers of science not only do it themselves, but told me that it's okay to do it. Just a contrary opinion.


FWIW - I've been a search committee member (at an R1) and I feel the same way as "Search Committee Member" above. I don't see how it is deceptive, given, (1) the most frequent norm is to list them all together. Hence, it seems uncharitable to assume it's deceptive when someone might just be following the professional norm. And (2), as SCM says above, there are *endless* articles published in top journals that do nothing more than make a small point or counterargument to something in the existing literature. So I don't see why in principle it would be good to do something that would likely make people think of discussion articles differently, when there may be little reason to so think this. Even if committee members read the articles, once it is posted in a different section, I think our unconscious biases come into play, i.e., that is not a "real" article.

FWIW, I have never published a discussion not or reply.

Young but lots of replies

There is a natural solution. List your replies and discussion under "journal publications" like your original papers. But the titles of your replies should show that they are "just" replies. If you are criticizing author A on her theory X, the title of your paper should be something like: "Against X: a response to A". If you are defending your own work/theory/argument Y from criticism of author B then your title should be something like: "Defending Y: a reply to B".


I'm with @sciguy. I have about between 6 and 45 different publications, depending on how you count them: Publications in standard journals, pubs in non-peer reviewed conference proceedings, in edited collections, in reviewed edited collections, book reviews, short reviews, teaching notes, discussion notes, critical responses, paper comment, critical notices, book, coauthored book, translation, encyclopedia article, peer-reviewed blog post, etc. I cannot reasonably divide these on my CV in a way that will satisfy everyone. I divide it in a way that seems reasonable to me.

However, the only non-negotiable thing is that each publication is clear about what it is, in whatever way your CV can reflect that. So make sure a book chapter lists the book, the article lists the journal, a critical response notes that it is a critical response, a teaching note notes that it is in a teaching newsletter or journal, etc. Committee members are part of the profession. They know how to read a citation. As long as it is clear what each citation cites, only the least charitable (or oblivious) committee member should have problems. And, it is really really hard to write for uncharitable people, they will not be satisfied regardless of your taxonomy or clarity. At the extreme, one will be criticized for padding their CV with too many categories!

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