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June 15th, 2004

Self-Validation

So Mind rejected my paper on Patrick’s Vagueness as Tolerance. I was a little disappointed, especially since it was a relatively positive referee’s report for a rejection, but I should be able to cannabalise most of the paper for other purposes.

The two-boundary problem can be worked into the first section of the Defining Vagueness paper I’ve been sketching the last few days. The section about disjunctive Sorites arguments has already appeared in True, Truer, Truest and will probably be worked into a longer paper one day on pragmatic responses to the Sorites. And the vague demonstratives point I might turn into a self-standing paper for Analysis or something similar.

Still, it would have been nice to have a paper in Mind. I’m now 0fer something moderately large there – I think 4 or 5. On the other hand it’s been years since any other journal has turned down one of my little offerings. If I didn’t like that journal I wouldn’t keep sending things there.

Posted by Brian Weatherson in Uncategorized

15 Comments »

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 15th, 2004 at 5:05 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Self-Validation”

  1. Puke says:

    If I may speak for your readership, we are all quite delighted to have been informed of your excellent success rate with major philosophy journals. We can only hope that you will supply us with more navel-gazing in the coming months and years so that we don’t die of boredom.

  2. Manuel says:

    Oh come on- this strikes me as an inspirational story in several ways. First, you might find inspiration that it is possible for one to get to a point in one’s career where rejections from prominent journals are rare. Or two, you could find it inspirational that even Brian gets regularly gets rejected from a good journal. :-)

  3. pekka says:

    I also find it inspirational that people receive decisions at all, whether positive or negative, from Mind. From what I hear and witness, the time they take to referee a paper is sometimes as unacceptably long as in the case of some other journals that I’m sure are by now well-known to the profession.

  4. jack says:

    Mind has become nightmarishly horrific — who knows how their process works? It seems to favor Brits who I guess who are more in position to harass those in “charge” — if such there be. It takes years to get any response, and even that only after repeated haranguing, sending e-mails into what appears to be the great void. The joke is that they still send those ‘we expect to referee this in 12 weeks’ cards, which is so pointless ridiculous, given that they are the worst laggards in the field, that it is surely intended to be some kind of sick joke. The quality isn’t especially high either (which is what one would expect if things are as insanely chaotic as they seem to be from the outside). No one who cares about their work should submit to Mind, until they get their act together. Sad that such a distinguished journal has fallen on such hard times. Maybe the Phil Quarterly editorial board should take over Mind?

  5. pb says:

    When I read comments like Jack’s and Puke’s, I feel sad at how much bitterness is out there in the philosophical world. At least Brian’s posts are generally happy ones if a bit nerdy (in a good way).

  6. still waiting says:

    well, maybe that’s bitterness. But if it is true that (a) it routinely takes Mind much longer than 12 weeks to review a paper and (b) Mind routines tells authors (and advertises on its website) that they should expect to hear in about 12 weeks, then Michael Martin should be ashamed of himself.

  7. example says:

    I’ve had something at Mind for over 14 months. But it’s not just Mind. This is the third time in the past few years that a journal has had me wait over a year. Let’s remember, though, that often a good deal of the blame lies with completely irresponsible referees.

  8. Charles says:

    Here’s a question. I’m an undergraduate who came to philosophy from a physics background. When my mentor and I submitted papers we would hear back from the referee within four or so weeks at most. Sooner, by and large, if the response was negative. (I would have been irritated to say the least to wait months, let alone a year, to receive a rejection from a journal. And I’m much more even-tempered than many people I knew in the field.) Admittedly, proprietary data don’t go public in philosophy like they do in astrophysics, but why is the process so slow? Assuredly it’s a hassle to have to referee papers, but most of the physicists I knew viewed it as a responsibility to the community, and when possible set aside work they would normally be doing in order to get the report back to the editors. Also, it would be unheard of to simply get a rejection without extensive comments and reasons given (I’ve heard that it’s possible in philosophy to get a rejection simpliciter — if that’s not true, disregard this last comment). So I was wondering if people had any insights into what makes the publishing process in philosophy so different, and into what underwrites the philosophical community’s adoption of the scientific journal model when it doesn’t seem to fit or work as well.

  9. JST says:

    Perhaps the PGR (or someone—I’m sure that Brian Leiter is busy enough!) could compile a list of journals together with the average time that they take to respond to submissions? I, for one, would find this helpful when I come to decide where to try to place papers.

  10. pekka says:

    Cases like example‘s are alarming. Especially with junior faculty, there are careers at stake! Compiling a list of journals’ refereeing times might put some pressure on troublesome journals, but wouldn’t likely change the conventional mores (which is pretty restrictive regarding what authors can do and very permissive regarding what journals can do). But one can certainly think of mores that are fairer to authors. (Just one option: permit second submissions after a certain amount of time has lapsed, without an obligation to withdraw from the first journal.) Perhaps professional organizations such as APA should be pushed unilaterally to establish new guidelines. Would that be an extremist response, given that often all that seem to be needed are responsible referees and a firm editorial team that makes sure to push referees to report back in a timely fashion? I’m not sure. If authors had some kind of a fallback position when they’ve been kept waiting, also those journals which otherwise don’t seem to care would have a prudential reason to speed up the refereeing process.

    I wonder why many are posting pseudonymously here…

  11. Jamie says:

    JST is right. And I bet some sunlight on response time would actually do a lot to improve the situation — if not, then at least jr. faculty with time pressure would have the advantage of knowing where not to send their submissions.

    The study would be a lot of work, and it would help to have a little authority to demand information, so it seems to me that the APA should do it. (That would be a lot more valuable than a year of newsletters.)

  12. Brian Weatherson says:

    Just for the record, the rejection in question did take Mind 12 months for what was a fairly short discussion note. I didn’t include this in the original because I thought the post sounded bitter and twisted enough already, and I have a reputation for a sunny disposition to uphold :)

  13. Istvan Aranyosi says:

    I received an email from Mind, with a rejection, exactly the night before Brian started this topic, and I felt it’s the end of the world. Next day I read Brian’s post, which set my mind easy.

    Today, after reading that Brian’s discussion note took 12 months to be rejected, my mind has been set even easier, because I received the response in 16 weeks! So it seems I was priviledged :-).

  14. pekka says:

    For those who are interested, there is now some lively discussion of the ethical obligations of journals vis-a-vis authors over at PEA Soup, which largely suggests that what is falls woefully short of what ought to be.

  15. Ted says:

    Let me add my voice to the mix. I have sent Mind two papers in the last three years. The first they held for 11 months (before rejecting); the second has been there 12 months and counting. They need to be shamed into cleaning up their act. Perhaps a flood of letters to the editor would have an effect?