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09/15/2020

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Peter Finocchiaro

I mostly agree with your take, Marcus. The only exception I can think of is for specialist journals that serve as signals to certain people that the candidate is the real deal when it comes to that specialization. I have in mind journals that cater to an intersection of philosophers and non-philosophers. Perhaps a hiring committee with a psychologist will view a candidate with a publication in Mind & Language more favorably than one with a publication in PPR. Perhaps not -- I don't have data on this!

perspective

When I was on the market, a senior philosopher of science told me that I should try to publish things occasionally in philosophy journals - not just phil. sci. journals - as this would mean something to those on hiring committees who are not specialists in phil. sci. ... and most are not at typical 4 year colleges. I was a bit of a special case, because I also published in journals that were clearly NOT philosophy or philosophy of science (some were sociology of science, for example ... some were even further away). Outside the R1s, hiring committees often do not know a thing about the specialty they are hiring in.

Bryce

In the case of philosophy of science, a publication in a specialist journal is worth
a lot. I don’t know whether it’s worth more than a generalist publication—it may not be worth more than, for example, landing one in Phil Review or Mind or whatever. But getting papers into Philosophy of Science or BJPS is difficult and having even one of them will really change the way your CV looks.

Also, to go along with what Peter said above, getting into certain specialist journals is a signal that you are taking specialization in philosophy of science seriously. Reviewers for Philosophy of Science, BJPS, Biology and Philosophy, and other journals are usually pretty well-versed in the sciences themselves, and getting a paper in such a journal is a mark that you are taking both the philosophy and the science seriously.

Michel

If we're talking about just one publication, then I think one in the top specialist venue is usually better than one in a great generalist venue (although PhilReview, Nous, and JPhil are probably exceptions). The top specialist venue has the added advantage that its turnaround time is probably better than PR, N, and JP.

Ideally, you'll want to have pubs in both top specialist and great generalist venues in the near future. Unfortunately, I suspect that, for a lot of subfields, applicants with publications all or mostly in the top subfield venues tend to have their publications discounted relative to applicants with lots of generalist publications.

So I think that great generalist journals are especially important if you're in a low-ish status subfield or one in which hiring departments are unlikely to have anyone already working, because they're not likely to be very familiar with the top specialist venues in your subfield. Everyone has a good idea what the best venues are for ethics, but how many people know the best specialist venues for philosophy of mathematics, or aesthetics? The journal 'Ethics' is often ranked among the top 'generalist' venues, but most subfield journals don't get that kind of exposure, and so don't enjoy the same kind of status. Conversely, if you're outside LEMM (and maybe ethics) and you only have publications in generalist journals, I suspect that doesn't look great, either .

All that's to say: I think a top-tier subfield pub is a fantastic first pub, and it's probably easier to chase (due to turnaround times, receptiveness of referees, etc.). But you'll want to have a mix of top subfield and generalist pubs as soon as you can. I think I would eschew lower-tier subfield pubs in favour of top-tier ones, and T25ish generalist pubs, for a while. I guess the subfield you're actually in makes a difference. What's best for ethics may not be what's best for phil. of maths.

Then again, I'm just guessing. And, as Marcus often points out, he got a lot more interviews once he stopped chasing tippy-top pubs and just focused on publishing period.

historian

At least in history, there is the chance to get published in a top generalist general without *really* high-level scholarship (instead writing a great'rational reconstruction' paper). But if a paper is in a top history journal, you know the scholarship is top as well.

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