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08/04/2021

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J.

First of all, thank you all for this.

I am wondering about ways to find rather small financial support for people from places with less resources available to them. Say I want to focus on a research project, attend a workshop, or spent a short visit here and there. I might be able to get some support but, due to many factors including differences of currencies and else I cannot solely rely on that. What else I can do? What are the possibilities?

Here’s an example. At times I think whether I can suggest to present a short course or a similar teaching service to finance a visit to that center/department. But not being from Europe, I don’t know the opportunities, possibilities, and the norms. Any advice would be appreciated.

Anon UK Grad

For the first time is my (relatively short) career, I have been asked to review a paper that is very bad.

We all know the 'Reviewer 2' meme, and have probably heard of the research about the damaging effects overly that negative reviews can have on people - and I don't want to be that reviewer!

So, I'd love some advice focused specifically on how to write negative journal reviews without being too harsh in the tone. How does one best communicate a negative verdict without going over the line?

Roy

I am about to start a prestigious postdoc in a country different from where I currently live and work. I am very excited and want to work on the project. However, I have a spouse, (who has a good job) and our lovely house in a different country than my postdoc. Commuting between the countries is possible (and the salary is not a problem for doing so), but it is not feasible to come to my native country every weekend. How to make a case for working partly from my native country? The job is 90-95 % research which I could do anywhere (I am more productive at the home office than at the university). The PI of the project likes me and my work very much, so I think (s)he would be compliant. For the last 18 months or so, I have worked from my native country (because of COVID) while officially employed by the university in another country - without major problems. Should I approach the PI or the HR before starting, or should I talk to both? Or should I just start the job, go and see how much people spend their time at the office and if no-one is there on Fridays, for instance, can I just use Fridays for travelling my native country without letting anyone know (working on train/plane etc). Could I write on Saturday and Sunday to take two days off the next week? How much do philosophers usually spend their time at the office anyway, or are scholars responsible for letting others know where they are at a given time (workshops, conferences etc)? I am not asking to work fully from another country and I am willing to participate in seminars at the campus, but it just feels stupid to sit at the office writing and thinking when I could do it at home. If I don't have to be at the office every day then why cannot I work from another country (there might be issues with taxation and social securities, pensions etc after spending significant time in another country though)? Have any of you managed to get a permit to work from another country?

distribution

Second year phd student here: is there any compelling reason for me to take grad courses in areas of philosophy I don't enjoy/am not knowledgeable about/will not specialize in? I finished my program's distribution requirements and am so excited to never have to care about anything at all in (let's say, for example) LEMM again, but I can't help wondering if there's some downside to staying in my comfort zone for the rest of my program (even if my comfort zone is what I enjoy and will specialize in). Assume for the sake of the question that I won't discover a genuine passion for metaphysics somewhere down the line.

Assistant Professor

I'm going up for reappointment. I've been asked to describe the "aims of my teaching practices" in my reappointment narrative. But I think my aims are rather generic and I suspect that various deans and admins with backgrounds in pedagogy will see them as such. Any advice on how to describe what we do as philosophy teachers in a compelling way, without having to read whole books on uni-level pedagogy?

postdoc

Hi! I have a one-year postdoc with teaching responsibilities both semesters. I recently learned that I'm pregnant and will be due to give birth about a month before the spring semester ends. I'm super excited! But I don't know exactly how to approach the department/university about this. I don't have a TT and so I can't propose to take the entire semester as "research leave" or something. It's not a huge department and I would find it unfair to ask someone to cover my classes for several weeks. This is complicated by the fact that my spouse lives in a different state several hours away (where I live too when not teaching) and I would much prefer to give birth there. I'd really like to teach my class and I'm hoping I can work something out where I can go online after Spring Break and lecture virtually/have a TA lead in-person discussion sections while I'm gone. But I'm not sure if that's bureaucratically infeasible or just a bad idea. Has anyone been through a similar situation, especially as a postdoc, or been in a department that's had this come up? The university's official policy on maternity leave basically seems to be "work it out with your department," so that's not too much of a help. Thanks so much!!

Anonymous US grad

I'm a PhD student who does some freelance writing to supplement my income. I've been offered an opportunity to produce educational philosophy content for a conservative website. I don't personally identify as politically conservative, but I think all audiences have a lot to learn from philosophy, so I'm considering taking the gig. However, I'm wondering if writing for a conservative publication would be a bad career move. I'm going on the market soon. Advice on whether this would look like a negative to hiring committees?

concerned non-TT

I'm wondering if we can get a conversation going about vulnerably employed (i.e., non-TT) faculty dealing with university administrators' unethical decision not to enforce COVID vaccination requirements for those on campus for the coming AY.

In countries with access to ample vaccines like the U.S., there is simply no justification for failing to require on-campus vaccinations (aside from reasonable, medically motivated exceptions, of course) other than kowtowing to conservative politicians making education-funding decisions and trying not to alienate parents and students among the wide swath of the population that has failed to understand the meanings of "freedom" and "choice." I take it that there is a strong moral imperative for faculty members to speak out against this wrong decision, but this of course is a very difficult line to walk when one's employment is dependent on the goodwill of administrators and department chairs.

There's also the difficulty of teaching in a mask (which of course I support, annoying though it may be) or on Zoom and garnering good evaluations for the sake of the teaching portfolio and future employment despite the fact that such classes are quite painful for all involved and tend not to be evaluated very highly.

I realize that this isn't really a question, but might be a good topic to discuss and vent about, with thanks for the opportunity to do so here!

anonymiss

I've been reading over Marcus's advice about cover letters. He says to state your accomplishments and fit for the job plainly, without trying to sell yourself or talk yourself up. So my question is: I don't have yet have any legitimate publications. Is describing the papers that I have under review considered "talking myself up"? A couple of them are (I think) close to getting published, given the feedback I've been receiving. But I just haven't sealed the deal yet. Should I talk about this in my cover letter?

Damian

I recently received a desk rejection from a highly ranked journal, accompanied by the following message:

"The Editor considered your blinded manuscript, [xxx] but did not send it out for review or accept it for publication. Since the journal receives over [xxx] submissions per year, it is impossible to find highly qualified reviewers in a timely fashion for all of them. So in order to reduce the time that authors wait for decisions, many submissions, some of which may be promising, are rejected without review by external referees."

I am fine with the decision to reject, but I am a bit confused about this message. Did the editor really reject it because they could not find reviewers on time? If so, is that common practice among journals? Or maybe I am reading too much into it, and this is just a generic rejection letter.

Curious to hear if anyone had a similar experience or has a view on this.

PhD candidate

I am going on the job market this year, and recently had a paper accepted at a conference that, in practice, publishes all its proceedings in a journal. However, the paper is not yet officially accepted in the journal since it must first go through another round of review, and I doubt the review process will finish before I have to submit my materials. Does anyone know how I should put this on my CV?

Annie

How long should one wait on a paper whose status is 'reviews completed' before pestering the editor, if one should pester them at all?

frustrated author

I have a short (~3000 words) paper that has been under review at a journal for 6 months now. The submission website does not give any information about the status of the manuscript. Twice I sent an email to the managing editor and they told me that they will check about the status of the manuscript and will get back to me, and both times they never got back to me. All I want is to get a status update. I don't even know if the paper has been sent out for review. Is there anything I can do? Write to the editor in chief? Just wait it out?

Think

I would like to hear people's thoughts on how much credit a dissertation deserves.

Here is what I mean. On the one hand, almost all dissertations contain some original theories, arguments, ideas, etc. While dissertations are not academic publications (in the US), they are "publicized" and publicly accessible (on ProQuest, for example).

On the other hand, since dissertations are not regarded as publications, people usually do not give credit to them. People do not read them unless someone is interested in a topic and happens to know that a person wrote a dissertation about it. And I suspect that few journal reviewers would say that the main argument in a paper is not original because someone has developed a similar theory in their dissertation. Even if you are the first person to develop a theory in your dissertation and your dissertation is publicly defended and officially online, the credit almost entirely goes to the person who publishes it; in some cases, this person would not be you.

It makes me feel that dissertations should deserve more credit. Publishing a dissertation, or chapters of a dissertation, is not making some thoughts and arguments officially public from one's mind; rather, it is a process of changing where it is publicly--from ProQuest to somewhere else.

I know that in some countries dissertations must be published as books when they are finished, I personally believe that is the right way to go. What do you all think?

Postdoc

I am a Postdoc, trying to build a decent publication record as I jump from one precarious contract to another. I have two questions (perhaps each would deserve its own thread) about 'strategy' when sending out manuscripts.
We all hate journal rankings, but employers use them. So I typically send my paper to the top journals first, and then work my way down the list. I recently faced this dilemma: should I skip the journals in which I already published? In other words: should a researcher looking for a job strive to differentiate their pub. record, even when this means submitting a paper to the journal ranked X+1, instead of the journal ranked X? I am worried that a committee may look with suspicion at a CV with e.g. 3 publications from the same journal, or that they may regard the 2nd and 3rd as "just more of the same" (I ask to myself: do I really score extra points by re-publishing there?).
A second, related question is about the generalist/specialistic journal divide. Publishing in top generalist journals nowadays is extremely hard (most AR <5%). Compared to this, publishing in specialistic journals feels like stealing candies from children. I am under the impression that some of them (e.g. journals in Epistemology, Aesthetics, Phil-lang Journals, Phil-Mind) have good reputation despite having high AR (let's ignore those with high rep and low AR, e.g some in Ethics/Politics). My question is: given how much easier is to publish in these journals, do I risk watering down my CV by publishing there? Should I always try the top 5 (or 10, or 20) generalist journals before sending one there? I understand that it's a difficult question, and that the answer depends on too many factors. But I would still find it interesting to hear which factors one may wanna take into consideration, and whether you think one should aim to have *at least some* papers published in the top specialistic journals.

ecr

I am an early career researcher working within the history of philosophy. I am about to write the acknowledgements of a paper that I recently got accepted for publication.

My question is: After having presented the paper twice at the beginning of my phd studies, I ended up changing the thesis of the paper. The interpretative issue that I discuss is still the same, but the solution I propose is completely different. How should I deal with this when writing the acknowledgements?

Needless to say, I will thank everyone who has read previous versions of the paper. But it seems odd listing conferences where the audience have heard me argue for another interpretation. Is it better to leave out any mention of the two conferences? Or should I include them and potentially comment upon this change?

Partner Hire

I am a junior tenure-track faculty member. My partner is a post-doc working in the life sciences. They are searching for TT positions, but they do not want to work at or near my school. Our ideal scenario is that they will get a TT position and also get me a full-time job at the same school--either a TT job or a full-time lecturer position. I would, of course, prefer a TT job, but if the school is a good enough fit for my partner, I would be happy with a full-time NTT position.

If my partner is able to get a job offer, how likely is that scenario? Does anyone have any experience with partner hires across disciplines and fields?

I will add that I am a good job candidate in general--I have several publications, I have secured some research fellowships, lots of teaching experience, I specialize in a field where departments always need teaching. I'm sure that doesn't hurt, but I don't know how much it helps.

Any advice or accounts of personal experience in this arena would be appreciated!

postduck

I am wondering what - if anything - is the use of one's "Publication metrics" on PhilPeople. For those who aren't aware of this feature, PhilPeople provides users with their percentile rankings (Q1, Q2, Q3, top 5%, top 1%, etc.) for their publications, paper downloads, and citations, both overall and in specific subject areas. The rankings are relative to "pro" users, which are users with either a PhD in Philosophy or at least one publication in one of the "Most Popular" journals according to PhilPapers. Using this feature, you might learn that you are in the top 1% of downloads in say, Social Epistemology in the past five years, or that you are in the 90% percentile for publication volume in Value Theory.
I find this feature kind of neat. However, I can't imagine a situation where I would actually tell anyone about my publication metrics - if I did, I am sure it would be seen as being in bad taste. But at the same time, it seems like these metrics would be be useful information for search committees or for tenure and promotion cases: it's a decent way of showing whether or not people are actually engaging with your work, and how engagement with your research compares with others working in a similar area. Publication Metrics on PhilPeople is a bit like one's h-index and citations on Google Scholar, which I have heard of people mentioning for T&P, but PhilPeople has the advantage of being specific to the discipline, or even the sub-discipline. One issue might be that - unlike Google scholar citations and h-index - these metrics aren't public: as far as I can tell, one can only see one's own metrics, not those of others. I'm not sure why PhilPeople doesn't make them public, but doing so would mean that they're worth more than simple navel-gazing.

applicant #2861

How bad is it to not have a teaching letter, in R1 positions? While I do teach, and haven't heard any complaints yet, I have almost exclusively done so as sole instructor, and the only senior person at my institution who has actually seen me teach is affiliated in the same research project as me. I worry that if I told her I'm applying elsewhere, she wouldn't take it well.

Connected question: how are letters from non-philosophers received? Are they useless? Say, a letter from a psychology professor who really likes your work on perception?

howmuchtoreferee

I'm at the point in my career when I'm just starting to receive fairly frequent requests to referee journal articles, and I'm finding myself really unsure of how many of these I should be doing. Would cocoon readers be willing to share their own approaches to this? How much refereeing do people do? And do people have good rules of thumb for deciding when to say yes and no to referee requests? (E.g., a certain number of reports per month, or a certain number of reports per reports one has received oneself, etc?) This is one of those mysterious parts of the profession where I just have no idea if I'm pulling my weight, doing way more than I should be doing, or roughly getting it right. Thank you, everyone!

Julia

I'm looking for insight into whether there are different challenges for faculty looking to make a "lateral move" from assistant professorship to a more appealing assistant professorship and (as I suspect there are) advice on how to overcome those challenges.

For those questioning the morality of such lateral moves, my current workplace is toxic.

Jakub

I've published a few related papers and some are still under review. I want to write a book where I want to reuse some textual material from these papers. I presume I have to ask for permission to do it. Whom to ask? The journal editor, the publisher? What is the extent of the material that can be reused? One sentence, one paragraph, several pages...? How to deal with papers that are under review?
I know that authors address this in the acknowledgement section of their books. But exact rules are not clear to me. Can anyone help?

howmuchtowrite

I am starting a TT job in a research heavy institution and have not done my PhD in an elite US program so I have what are likely silly/self-evident questions: how many papers do people work on at the same time? Or, how many papers do people typically write in a year? I am sure it varies tremendously but I wonder if people start one new paper a year and keep working on the ones who are going through review or if they start more projects than that, esp. while being on the TT. Thank you for your help!

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