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Who cares as long as the info is there

Calling it part of the "house style" avoids the issue. Many things could be labeled part of the "house style" and nonetheless infringe on author style, e.g., a journal coule adopt the policy that no sentence be longer than two lines. The issue is whether what is house style should be.

Bill Vanderburgh

After reading The Historical and Critical Dictionary (well, parts of it, to be fair: It is millions of words long) in Tom Lennon's Pierre Bayle seminar in grad school, I truly came to LOVE footnotes (and Bayle's footnotes to footnotes! the original hypertext!). I'm all about an aside, too (as you can tell from all these parenthetical remarks). That ship has sailed*, though: In broader publishing, and therefore in philosophy, publishers have turned away from footnotes (and parenthetical remarks), especially discursive ones. Something about costs of typesetting, ease of reading, blah, blah, blah. Whatever: We can't do anything about it now. Just like we are all forced to deal with trade books with endnotes _that aren't even anchored to a particular sentence in the text!_ (These are endnotes for lawyers, rather than scholars. Grr.)

Upshot: Follow house style. If you don't like it, don't publish in that venue. Or maybe start your own journal with a retro house style?

*This saying is a reference to the days of tall ships, which used the outgoing tide to leave harbor. Once anchors were up, there was no turning back. Time and tide wait for no man, as they also said. Go ahead, now try to find your place in the main text above!

Laurence B. McCullough

The author of a paper is a humble, rag-shirt, bare-foot supplicant and the editor the high priest or priestess, an immutable relationship that began with the invention of the printing press (and probably in monasteries for the scribes copying holy books under the direction of the unblinking librarian). The high priest or priestess will also demonstrate an idiopathic, acute hearing loss when it comes to the complaints of authors about house style. I endured this for 45 years, so my advice is to get used to being the supplicant but do celebrate when your work appears in the scholarly world. That experience makes the irritation, also acute (lasting from first to final submission and page proofs), fade rapidly away.

Too old for this

It's one thing requiring significant style changes in this way after a paper has been accepted for publication, but some journals require them to be changed even before peer review, for instance the Journal of the American Philosophical Association. It hardly seems worth it to spend hours and hours of work for a minuscule change of publication.

academic migrant

Personally a huge fan of in-text citations, as it shows how recent the items cited are (and thus exposes those who refuse to follow recent literature). Prefer footnotes to endnotes.

Some software can make things slightly easier. Zotero, for example, has a switch style function. It's far from perfect of course, for instance, when in-text citations are in the middle of the sentence--it will create a footnote in the middle of the sentence which then requires manual relocation--but it's better than complete manual labour.

Also due to the use of Zotero, personally have a strong dislike towards in-house style that has minor variations from the big citation styles, e.g. using [year] instead of (year) or requiring full names of authors in the bibliography instead of just the initials. This also creates a lot of manual work.

All that being said, I would happily change anything after acceptance, and believe that one should rethink one's life if one requires in-house style upon submission.


The first reply Marcus listed (from "An editor") gets at the heart of the issue. The reason why OP has these issues is because journals enforce a house style. But I for one would like to hear a justification for why they do this. There seems to be no benefit to readers since, firstly, who reads multiple articles from the same journal issue anyway, and secondly, we're all used to differences in citation formats *across* journals, I'm sure we could handle differences *within* a journal. So why not just let authors use whichever style of scholarly apparatus they prefer, as long as it's used consistently? That's what I tell my students to do as well.

random JAPA publisher

I don't think it's true that J-APA requires many changes before peer review (e.g. the footnote removal)--just anecdotally I had a paper recently accepted there with plenty of footnotes in it, and they just asked me to move them after acceptance, and I have a friend who had something similar (the copy editor moved them in his case I think). And I can't see anything on their website that strongly suggests that you have to do this pre-submission, though I didn't look super carefully.


R: "So long as they're used consistently." is the problem.

I've done a fair bit of academic editing. Academics are terrible at doing this. Really, just abominably bad; you have no idea. If you have a house style, then it's infinitely easier (and faster) for the copy editor to fix the problems.

Printer's son

In defense of a house style, if anyone has worked for a journal or edited a volume, it is very taxing to properly proofread a lot of articles (which editors have to do) when you are moving between many different styles. And, the high ranked book publishers hire extra people to proof read manuscripts in production - they need a standard to do the job effectively. I also think it looks elegant when an issue or a volume is one style - but I am from a printing family.

too old for this

Hi random JAPA publisher - that's really strange, since I just had a paper sent back from them pre-review for the footnotes thing a few weeks ago.

random JAPA publisher

Huh, weird--I bet they've just gotten stricter very recently about this (there was a recent change in editors). That's too bad.

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