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Bill Vanderburgh

If the choice is between publishing or not publishing...publish!

If a candidate has few pubs in less prestigious journals, that's surely not as good as having many in prestigious journals. But it is still better than having none, since it shows an effort and a potential trajectory.

Everyone who publishes has a first publication, and it usually isn't in the top journal in the field. Search committees know this.

And as Marcus says, once you have a few articles in good journals, having a few others in less good journals is a net positive, both for searches and promotion. The exceptions are the *very* few departments who position themselves as "elite" who insist on only publishing in the top journals. But such departments are SO few that we really should stop giving them so much attention. Most philosophy happens, and most careers in philosophy happen, in very different (I would say, more reasonable) circumstances.

I think special issues are great. They give your work a built-in audience and more exposure. Being part of an on-going, lively conversation is one of the best parts of doing academic work. For similar reasons, I'd rather place my work in a good specialist journal over a great generalist journal (but maybe that's just me).

BTW, this talk of better and worse journals is a bit crazy, no? Do we really believe in rankings? Is there really a very big difference between the 1st- and 30th- ranked journal? I doubt there is a way to fully justify such a claim. Acceptance rates are so low across the board that excellent work, worthy of the journal it was sent to, gets rejected all the time, and eventually finds a home elsewhere. Luck is a huge part of this game, and we should not pretend otherwise.

Trevor Hedberg

I think it has to be a fairly special circumstance for a publication in a "lower-ranking" journal to count against you in a meaningful way. Marcus mentions several reasons above. Another reason is that some journals are "lower ranking" in a lot of contexts but carry a lot of weight in their specialty area. As one example, I don't think you're hurting your candidacy for an environmental ethics job by having publications in Environmental Values or Ethics, Policy & Environment instead of publications in Ethics or Philosophy & Public Affairs even though the latter journals would generally be considered better by most members of the profession. Additionally, a fair number of jobs nowadays have hiring committees with few (or even 0) philosophers on their search committees. Non-philosophers will not be in position to assess which journals in the field are best and are unlikely to devalue publications from lower-ranked journals.

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