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« Publishing philosophy without credentials? | Main | Alt-ac job discussion thread (2021) »

03/22/2021

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M

I have a question about referring. What are people’s thoughts about putting your verdict into your report for the author? E.g. putting “I am recommending revise & resubmit …” or “I am recommending rejection because …” somewhere near the beginning. Do you think it is best practice to always do this, or perhaps to refrain from it? The editor of course already knows the referee’s verdict, but I’m asking about a referee communicating that verdict directly to the author. As an author I sometimes have to read the tea leaves about whether a referee thought a paper should be revised or just rejected. I’d be interested to hear what authors and referees think, but also editors as well. Maybe there's a reason that info shouldn't always be included?

Editorial boards?

I have a general question about joining editorial boards/working as a journal editor while one is in a postdoc or a non-TT position. In short, is it worth it? Does having something like that on your CV look pretty good, enough to offset the responsibilities that come with it? Or is it generally better to wait until one is securely employed (and maybe tenured) before taking on that level of service to the profession?
And here's another more narrow question: if you - a non-TT philosopher - do interdisciplinary work, and you get invited to join an editorial board for a (reputable) journal in another field, should you do it?

LFG Philosophy

Are there online communities of professional philosophers participating in reading groups or workshopping their papers? Most of my colleagues from graduate school have left the profession, and so philosophy has become a rather lonely undertaking for me.

Happy Where I Am

I have a question about "staleness" and the job market.

I just defended my dissertation. Last year I got a position as the Logic/Philosophy (and Latin) teacher at a middle/high school. My PhD was a major factor in my being hired, outweighing my lack of an Ed degree or significant K-12 experience. So I'm employed as a philosopher in a FT academic position, but not in a traditional way.

I love my job and at this point I feel like I could stay here forever. But I don't want to assume that's what's going to happen, and I could see myself wanting more time for research someday, so I continue to watch the market.

So suppose for the next several years I teach middle/high school philosophy, publish 1-2 articles a year (given I'm teaching 6-8 classes at a time and have a family), adjunct here and there, and then apply for TT positions. Would I be seen by committees as an early/mid-career philosopher making a lateral or upward move, or a "stale" PhD grad who never "made it"? Or how do I prepare and present myself so as to appear (as I actually would be) the former rather than the latter?

(FWIW The program here is pretty rigorous. Students take a year of informal logic and two years of formal logic in middle school, so once they reach high school they're better prepared for a philosophy class than the vast majority of college students I've taught.)

Robb

I have a question that is likely to be relevant to quite a few current postdocs, but not only to them.

I find myself in a position where I have a reasonably short-term postdoctoral research position which, while it lasts, has a decent amount of money allocated specifically for research event expenses. I had intended to put on a fairly big conference on the topic of my research project which would have cost a fair amount, but since this has been moved online due to the pandemic the funds are going unused (and the participants are no longer getting treated to a nice meal or two and a stay in an interesting place).

I wonder if anyone has any recommendations for fun and/or interesting supplements to online conferences that it would be worth spending some money on, and that participants would be likely to appreciate?

Timmy J

Folks have asked about jobs in various European places before and the discussions are usually interesting. But on a quick search of the site I don’t see much about working in Italy. If anyone knows anything I’d love to hear it. Specific questions to get the ball rolling: how does the hiring process work? Are there job ads or do you just gotta have your ear to the ground? What’s pay like? What’s work like? Are professors respected in Italy? Stuff like that.

Defund the APA

I've just signed up for a completely virtual meeting of the APA, to the tune of $190. I am completely regretting the fact that I agreed to be involved in one of the meetings, and have promised myself to always say 'no' to any future requests to be involved in the APA meeting in any respect.

Why do organizations and people continue to submit and go to this expensive meeting? Hasn't it outlived its usefulness? There are so many organizations and meetings without exorbitant fees going on throughout the year. $190 for a completely virtual meeting is highway robbery.

So this is more a plea then a question. With all this talk of justice in the profession, we've allowed this organization to prey upon philosophers even while itself offering less and less of value. However much people like seeing their grad school buddies, it's not worth the ridiculous fees. And even if someone has a great expense account (I'm not one of those people) is this the best way to spend it? Can't we, as a profession, move away from this hotel-conference model? This model has outgrown its usefulness, and has always been a burden on those without large expense accounts or disposable income. Can we adopt more collaborative, diffuse, and equitable methods of networking and meeting? Any thoughts/ideas?

Alan

Is there a penalty for returning an R&R a few days late? It is due imminently. I've already asked for a (brief, roughly 3 week) extension once and don't want to ask again. But I haven't been able to work much on it and at this point I feel like few extra days will make a real difference to the quality of the revised manuscript I submit. Thanks everyone.

Maddy

I have a really small question about the sample syllabi one includes in a teaching portfoli. How full should these syllabi be? M full syllabi include all sorts of info about grading, course expectations, description, info about plagiarism and writing help resources, etc. Am I right to assume potential employers don't want to wade through all of this, and so I should strip down the versions in my teaching portfolio to the essentials (maybe reading list, course description...what else)? If so, what should I include and not? Thanks so much

P

I have a rather silly question. Every once in a while, I hear that a paper has become quite popular prior to publication: the manuscript has been circulated and the work has been extensively discussed. I get that a paper becoming so popular requires a nice combination of luck and prestige in addition to a very nice paper. However, from the popular-prior-to-publication phenomenon I infer that there must be a tradition, in some philosophy circles at least, to circulate papers rather widely before publication. It just occurred to me that no one has ever sent me an unpublished work that is not the sender's own. So my question is, what are the norms for circulating papers where you work? Under what circumstances have others sent you a third person's unpublished papers? Under what circumstances would you be willing to have yours circulated, and how would you go about that?

Postdoc

How should one think about soft job market years while on a postdoc? Should you take one every year, or relax if you've got a few years to go? How time consuming are they, and what other factors should be considered?

Tom

Is it ever feasible to try and get a job at a university that isn't hiring (sounds silly I know)? For example, suppose I really want to live in location y, but the only university in y is not hiring. Is it a total waste of time to approach the university and try to sell myself anyway? Has anyone ever gotten a job this way? I know this happens all the time in the private/non-academic world. I'm wondering if it ever happens in the academic world.

Yn

Hi, I'm a Ph.D. student in science and about to get my Ph.D. degree this year (so I won't just quit). But I am also interested in some lifetime metaphysical and epistemological questions and want to contribute to them. (It sounds arrogant, but let's firstly assume I have the potential.)
However, my goal is basically impossible without strict philosophical training, which I don't have. As far as I consider, there are two possible ways.
1) I spend another 4-5 years on another graduate program in philosophy;
2) Collaborate with philosophers working on relevant topics and contribute with my scientific skills primarily and get trained.

For the first option, since I don't have any academic background in philosophy, I don't know how hard it is to get a position. And if I do so, I nearly give up my potential scientific career, which I would rather not.

For the second option, I have no idea how to find philosophers that want to work with scientists.

Here, I ask for your consideration of the two possibilities. How difficult are they? How can I manage them? Or any other possibility you could suggest?

And after all, how should I evaluate whether I have the potential to make a contribution?

Thanks a lot in advance!

Losing Motivation

I have a question about motivation.

Some of you (those who run the Cocoon) have mentioned that you were on the market for years before getting your TT position. During that time, how did you maintain the motivation to continue publishing, continue working, despite multiple rejections.

For me, I'm struggling with finishing my book, completing some of my submissions because of the relentless pile-on of rejections, and the way that staying on the market via adjuncting might not be sustainable for me.

So, is there any advice for folks in my position?

in a dilemma

I make less now than when I started my tenure track job, controlling for inflation. I think it's my right to give less effort on this basis. For example, if my employer is only paying me 90% of what it used to, for the same work, then I can give 90% of the effort I used to (the 90% is more than sufficient to cover the job requirements).

Some of you might disagree, but that's not my question. My question is instead: is it ok, morally, for me to lower my teaching effort? On the one hand, I care about teaching and the students did nothing wrong in this case. On the other hand, I don't want to let my employer leverage my conscience to get me to work uncompensated (giving the same effort for less pay).

I lean towards its being OK. After all, you get what you pay for, and the students are paying for an education from an institution that underpays its faculty. And my 90% is still better than whatever effort the dead wood at the institution is giving.

feeling stuck

I have a question about mid-career growth and/or moves. I'm up for tenure soon, and all signs suggest I will be successful. I should feel relieved and grateful, but I don't see much room for growth at my very, very small institution and feel a bit stuck. My position is primarily teaching and service with very little research support, though I've tried to establish a robust research trajectory. I love teaching, but I don't want to only teach.

I'm super burnt out, but feel like I need to stay competitive (whatever that means) in case something else comes along. But I'm also in a good location and close to family, and reluctant to give that up. Are these just normal growing pains? Is it okay to feel like I'm settling? Any advice from others at small institutions?

Grad student

This is a pretty easy question - I'm trying to figure out what all the listservs/other resources are that people use to hear about CFPs, talks, and so on. I know of Philos-L, but I don't know if there's an equivalent for North America-side events.

Narcissus (young and not established)

Is it lame to cite yourself?

junior person

What are the norms for approaching other philosophers for feedback on your work? Say, philosophers who have published on your topic but who you don't know personally.

another junior person

How long does it typically take to get a paper published online (counting pre-publication view) from the date that the paper is officially accepted?

I had a paper of mine accepted well over a year ago, and I still haven't even gotten proofs back from the publisher. I'm feeling extremely frustrated and anxious about this, but I also don't really know what's considered a normal turn-around time to publication.

This open-access online journal has a stellar reputation for having a transparent review process, but taking well over a year to getting the paper up online strikes me as absurd. There are already papers out on the same subject that will make my paper look out-of-date when (if?) it ever gets published.

Frustrated

I have a question about good practices for reviewers. In the past few months this happened to me 3 times. I was asked to review a paper for a top journal in my AOS. This paper is really really bad. It's bad in the following sense: the topic is important, the thesis is interesting, but it'so poorly written and argued that, if I did something like that myself, I'd get for sure a rejection. However, I recommend major revisions. After a few weeks I got the revisions back, and nothing much has changed. I can see what the other reviewer has suggested, and it's minor revision. I then suggest rejection and the paper is accepted. From this I understand that the paper was either from an established scholar, or from a student of an established scholar. I feel I'm wasting my time by doing my diligent work of reviewer, given that the editor has already decided. Therefore, this is my question: when I have the feeling that something similar is happening again, shall I address the editor directly and ask how I should treat the paper? Or shall I just decline to review the revisions?

Prof L

Frustrated: is it possible that your standards are too high? Maybe this series of events has some other kind of takeaway. Three different editors have overridden your negative reports ... perhaps your standards are either too stringent or just out of keeping with what the editors are looking to publish.

I've had an editor override a referee on one of my papers. The referee accused me of all kinds of weird things (like I'm *clearly* just a graduate student, and some senior scholar has made some edits to my paper) and seemed really irritated. The editor contacted me with this review and asked if I would make some changes. The paper was then sent out to a third referee, since the editor judged the second referee to have an overly harsh view of the paper. I was grateful to the angry referee despite all the mean-spirited commentary, since I was able to improve the paper. I am not an established scholar, nor is anyone running around wielding influence on my behalf.

Did the editor act inappropriately? I don't think so, not at all. These are recommendations you are giving, not dictates.

rookie reviewer

I have a question about writing referee reports and matching one's standards to the selectiveness of the journal.

I'm relatively new to writing referee reports and am finding it difficult to know whether and how to match my standards of evaluation to the selectiveness of the journal. To what extent do others try to do this, and could anyone recommend any specific strategies? I feel like I just find myself asking whether the paper adds something important to the scholarly discussion as a whole (and whether it does so in a clear, effective way, etc.), and I don't really have any specific strategies for assessing things differently based on the particular journal's standards.

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