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Western philosopher

When I was in grad school at Western, a few students work on the journal Philosophy of Science as editorial assistants. They did this instead of having tutorials. I think it was good experience for them, in part, because they wanted jobs in philosophy of science.


The main benefit, I think, is on the alt-ac market, where significant editorial experience (maybe beeing an editorial assistant; not guest editing) could perhaps substitute for internship experience in jobs like content marketing (which is where most of the editorial work is these days).

It can also help you get more editorial work in the profession.

Otherwise, I think it mostly dissolves into the amorphous service blob.

William Vanderburgh

I think Marcus is correct that search committees will see very little value in editorial experience. (Similarly, it is almost no value to candidates going up for tenure--which is why it is of no value to job candidates.) It is a sign of willingness to do service for the profession, which is a "nice to have" rather than a "need to have." I can't see such experience being the deciding factor between two otherwise equal candidates, for example. I would advise grad students to get as much teaching experience as possible (in several different subjects, if possible) and to not choose things that will limit teaching experience. That said, if you need a job and there isn't enough teaching available, this might be better than work outside of academia during grad school.

Marcus Arvan

Michel: that seems to me a *super* important point, and I'm a bit embarrassed that it didn't occur to me.

Given how terrible the academic job market is, and how much discussion there has been of the importance of setting oneself up for a 'plan B', it seems to me that wise candidates should very much bear in mind that editorial experience might be really helpful for finding good non-academic work!


I think people sometimes lose touch with what they should do as they prepare for the market. It is just not the case that everything you do should be contributing a line to your c.v. and making a difference in getting you shortlisted for a job. Most choices candidates make make little difference - many none. But there are softs skills that you can pick up along the way. I am a journal editor and I am struck by how little first time authors (or even second, etc.) know about the production process behind publishing. Consequently, people try to rewrite their papers in the proofs. This is not allowed. Working for a journal would give someone a window on this process that would help them in their academic career, assuming they can have one. It would help professionalize them in a way that other experiences would not.

SLAC SC member

As a line on a CV, I couldn't care less about this kind of thing as a search committee member.

Alex Grzankowski

Echoing and building on what Editor says: I worked for a few years as an editorial assistant. I don’t have any evidence that it helped me on the job market qua CV line and it never came up in any interviews. But it certainly helped professionally and personally. Seeing many papers and many referee reports was very eye opening about the sorts of things that lead to rejections and acceptances. I learned to get to the point quickly for example, just to name one thing. And I learned how the review process works and have come to have a lot more patience with journals for long review times (as has been discussed many times on the blog, finding referees is very difficult!). And I learned that it’s not always easy for the editor when reviews are spilt and page numbers are limited by a publisher. All of this has made me more stoic about the whole publishing process and kept me resilient (something I try to share with PhD students). Finally, I picked up a lot of ideas outside my area that I wouldn’t have explored as a PhD student otherwise. It wasn’t a massive job but it took time every week. It was well worth it — invaluable professional experience.

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