There is a very interesting thread over at Leiter’s place on places to publish discussion notes. The thread has been bouncing around a little bit, but it’s all interesting. I have four quick things to add.
First, the answer to the question “Where should I publish my 1000-1500 word piece on why X’s journal article contains a mistake, if the journal X’s article was in won’t publish the reply?” is “On a blog”. There just isn’t any need to dead-tree publish many of these reply pieces. I mean, I could send out a fancy version of my post the other day on Ned Hall’s theory of causation, but I think it’s better for everyone to just have that reply be where it is. If I have something more substantive about causation to say that relates to Ned’s work, I’ll put the example in that paper, and if I don’t, well it’s got enough publicity already.
Second, the answer to the question “What if my reply to X’s article is as long as X’s article?” is “Make it shorter”. In general Philosopher Makes Mistake is not newsworthy. If the mistake is worth going over at that length, then it better be a fairly common mistake. And in that case your article shouldn’t just look like a response to X, and it should be publishable anywhere.
Third, if X is Tim Williamson, then ignore the first two points and send the article to any journal you like, because they’ll all publish quality papers on the details of Williamson’s work. See my CV for a medium sized, but still vastly incomplete, list of places that publish Williamsonania.
Fourth, I agree entirely with the comments in the thread over there that a competitor to Analysis would be worthwhile. If I weren’t already editing two journals I’d volunteer to edit the thing. But I think a US-based, monthly, electronic journal that published pieces up to, say, 3000 words, with a focus on original work but which was happy to publish responses to pieces published in prestigous places elsewhere, would be a valuable addition to the profession. (Maybe I’d even submit some of these blog posts!)
One of the thoughts in the thread over there was that we should recruit OUP to publish it. I love OUP, and I’d be happy to see them do this. But I don’t think it is necessary. As the University of Michigan has shown, top libraries can publish their own e-journals. I’d say having a successful journal adds just as much prestige to a department as a decent hire. And it is probably cheaper. So I’d like to see some top-line department step up to the plate and pony up the funding and support for such a journal.
Posted by Brian Weatherson in Uncategorized