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How Should Departments Credit Faculty for Public Philosophy?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/01/2021 - 12:02am in

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The Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), will be considering a proposal about how to recognize the work its faculty do in public philosophy.

According to a post from UCR professor of philosophy Eric Schwitzgebel at his blog, The Splintered Mind, the proposal acknowledges that public philosophy comes in various forms and recommends that some forms be recognized as service, some as teaching, and some as research:

To count as research, public philosophy must constitute substantial knowledge creation and not just, for example, a summary of the work of others.  However, summaries of the work of others can count as public philosophy under the heading of service or teaching.

Given the nature of U.C. and faculty members’ expected roles in our PhD program, faculty members who contribute to public philosophy must also continue to regularly publish “technical/scholarly” work for academic audiences, advancing specialized knowledge in their subdiscipline.  For this reason, no more than half of the research expectations in a merit or promotion file can be satisfied by public philosophy aimed at non-academic rather than academic audiences.  For example, if the expectation for a two-year cycle is at least two substantial research articles, a faculty member with a strong public philosophy profile would still be expected to publish at least one substantial research article in addition to their public philosophy.

Some work aimed at policy makers or the general public can also constitute a substantial contribution to an academic subfield (for example Carl Cranor’s Legally Poisoned and Kate Manne’s Down Girl).  Such work (including some “trade” books and all “crossover” books) is not subject to the no-more-than-half rule.

If a faculty member’s specialized research for academic audiences already meets research expectations, the addition of a strong profile in public philosophy could potentially justify a claim of exceptional research accomplishment.

The proposal also includes a section on evaluating whether a work of public philosophy should count as research:

Public philosophy contributions can vary enormously in quality, impact, form, substantial content, and time investment, and they are typically not peer reviewed.  Thus, they cannot be counted up in a simple way.  Department members’ contributions to public philosophy should normally be evaluated as an overall package.

For public philosophy counted as research, the following dimensions of the department member’s public philosophy profile should be considered:

    • quality of work (as evaluated by the department, possibly with reference to evaluations by others),
    • venue quality,
    • contribution to the advancement of knowledge,
    • reach (e.g., views, likes, engagement, citation),
    • impact (e.g., influence on policy, influence on the audience)

For public philosophy counted as service, it is sufficient to establish only that the contribution reflects substantial labor toward valuable service goals, such as communication and outreach.

The proposal seems in line with the 2017 statement on public philosophy from the American Philosophical Association (APA), part of which reads:

The APA encourages departments, colleges, and universities to recognize public philosophy as a growing site of scholarly involvement. To that end, the APA encourages institutions to develop standards for evaluating and practices for rewarding public philosophy in decisions regarding promotion, tenure, and salary, so that faculty members who are interested in this work may, if they choose, pursue it with appropriate recognition and without professional discouragement or penalty. Although peer-reviewed scholarly publications remain central to the profession, the APA applauds philosophers’ contributions to public policy, to consultation with government, medical, business, and civil society institutions, and to public opinion in general. Public philosophy presented or published outside of standard academic venues has evident value as external service to the profession and/or community. But we also urge institutions to consider broadening their standards for evidence of excellence in research and teaching and to consider whether their faculty’s work in public philosophy is more properly counted as contributing to these latter categories of faculty evaluation.

Has your department considered or adopted a proposal recognizing faculty work on public philosophy, and does it recognize it as possibly counting as research? Discussion welcome.

[image: Specimen Little Horns]

The post How Should Departments Credit Faculty for Public Philosophy? appeared first on Daily Nous.

Post Election Community Conversation Reveals Concerns

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 27/12/2020 - 11:30pm in

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Days following the election, an online community conversation hosted and facilitated by NCDD member org The Interactivity Foundation, together with IONA Senior Services took place. During this convening,  exploratory questions about our society and the prospect for forming a more perfect union were asked. The outcome is compiled in this article as a list of concerns in various sectors: the elections and health of our democracy, polarization and the role of the media.We look forward to Interactivity Foundations’ decision to further follow this topic in 2021 as part of their #WeavingCommunity Initiative.

Below you  will find the entire resume of key points and for the original post here.

Toward a More Perfect Union? A Community Conversation about the 2020 Election

Toward a More Perfect Union? Exploring the 2020 US Elections
What did the 2020 US elections mean to you? What did they say to you about our prospects for forming a more perfect union? What lessons might we draw for reweaving our society after the elections, revitalizing our democracy, and moving toward a more perfect union?
These were the key questions we explored in a November 5, 2020 online community conversation, convened and facilitated by the Interactivity Foundation in partnership with IONA Senior Services. This was an exploratory discussion, one where participants were asked not only to bring forward their own perspectives, but also to help each other delve into divergent perspectives in a spirit of generosity. You’ll find a summary of some of the key points below. In light of the rich material we discussed, the Interactivity Foundation may move forward with this topic as a new online community conversation series in the new year (watch this space). This Community Conversation was part of the #WeavingCommunity initiativeWhat concerns rose to the surface surrounding the election and about our prospects for forming a more perfect union?

Concerns about elections and the health of our democracy

  • Voter suppression is going on in our country
  • Our electoral process is dysfunctional
  • The election process revealed how weak and fragile our democratic system is
  • The election mechanics actually worked
  • It’s a victory that there was no violence at the polls
  • Locally lots of apparent voter engagement—with lots of participation via early voting
  • It’s an illusion that our democracy is working
  • We have structural problems in our system that weaken our representative democracy
  • We always say, “it’s the most important election” or “democracy hangs in the balance,” but are those just exaggerations?
  • We have governmental leadership with no moral compass—as long as they win, they can do whatever they want—and our democracy can’t survive more of that
  • Another real threat to democracy: politicizing the federal civil service, turning government agencies to partisan purposes
  • People in government should be public servants, not pursuing their own gain

Concerns about polarization

  • We are divided more than ever, with high degrees of polarization and antipathy toward one another
  • The division has become more extreme in the last few years
  • We live in bubbles and don’t understand people outside of our bubble
  • This high degree of polarization threatens our ability to self-govern
  • We have always been polarized, so it’s not worse than before
  • We have powerful myths of a national unity that never existed and we use this to cover up our history of exploitation
  • We mostly ignore divisions because they often only impacted others (if we’re protected by our race or class, we can ignore the history of oppression of targeted groups within our country)
  • We have to remember that America was built on exploiting others
  • If you don’t live in middle class white America, you are more at risk and don’t want to reach out to those who want to keep you down, especially if you’ve been a victim of a hate crime
  • If a major political party has become a party of white nationalism, how can you ask people to come together with them or split the difference by compromise?
  • We have divisions, but most people are reasonable and just trying to get on with their lives
  • Lately it has become riskier to have political discussions across partisan divides—it used to be fun, but now you risk losing relationships if you discuss politics
  • Our divisions are so strong, it is hard to believe we can come together as one nation
  • Our divisions are so fraught, they can’t even have discussions about the election in school
  • We are a country divided on values
  • Our divisions have religious roots, part of the evangelical right taking over the Republican party
  • Religion can also be a source of values that can unite us and help us to bridge divides
  • There’s a strong political movement to disregard facts, evidence, or science, which makes governance lose touch with reality
  • You can’t come together with people who are being dishonest or hateful
  • We have urban-rural divides
  • In urban areas, people often have more experience with diversity and are more accepting of differences
  • Trump and Trumpism seem like both cause and effect—a symptom of a widespread illness in our body politic
  • Some people are behaving like spoiled children

Concerns about the role of media

  • We live in different media bubbles, so we don’t know how others see the world
  • Media shapes reality—we can’t understand the reality perceived by those in the other camp
  • One branch of media presents an “alternate reality” that is not clearly connected to ascertainable facts, which makes it difficult, or nearly impossible, to reason with its devotees
  • One political party regularly attacks the news media and other evidence-based approaches, like science
  • We need to be wary of the outsized role that social media plays in our public discourse
  • Popular media are driven by controversy and sensationalism rather than focusing on what’s essential
  • The news media focuses more on entertainment than on genuinely informing the public
  • We live in a celebrity culture, where everybody wants a chance to be a celebrity, to be popular

How might we move toward a more perfect union?

  • We need democratic reform to make policy responsive and accountable to the broad public will
  • If government responds to the public will and does good things to improve people’s lives, then polarization will lessen and people will have greater trust in government
  • The election of a new government is a start—but we need to update our constitution to bolster our democracy and make it more representative of the popular will
  • We need leadership from the top to advocate unity with our political opponents
  • We should celebrate genuine public servants—those truly acting in the public interest (not their private interests)
  • We need to restore or embody greater civility at all levels of governance and society
  • We need to find opportunities for conversation with people from the other side (it’s not important to agree, but to talk with people with whom we disagree)
  • We need to teach the value of having discussions across our divides
  • We need to learn how to listen first to each other—not to talk first, but to listen first to others
  • We need to get past labels and attend to the substance of what people are saying
  • We need to strive to find the good in what opponents say or do
  • We need to recognize the universal needs that we share: we are all equally human
  • We need to find shared values to connect across differences
  • It’s not a matter of having the right facts, it’s about finding shared values to connect better with others
  • It’s best to avoid direct confrontation on hot issues—seek conversations about values
  • We need to be honest with one another and truthful in our words and actions—we can’t just rely on happy talk and fake politeness
  • We need to recognize that people on the other side are not all the same and are not all so hostile
  • We should educate our children for a civic spirit that is bigger than our divisions, whether this starts in our families, in community organizations, or within schools
  • We should raise the next generation to be more open to diversity—including diversity of viewpoints
  • We need education to help make us antiracist
  • We need to flip the media from entertainment to education
  • We need education for media literacy
  • We should change our media diet—to expose ourselves to different sides
  • We need to reform or disband social media, because it just aggravates divisions and spreads disinformation
  • What if we come together as one—to fight fascism?
  • Time can heal us

You can find the original version on The Interactivity Foundation site at www.interactivityfoundation.org/toward-a-more-perfect-union-a-community-conversation-about-the-2020-election/.

Let’s finish 2020 on a positive note (or ten)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 23/12/2020 - 1:43am in

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For the last ten days of this insanity of a year, I am going to blog about various positive things and ask you to share your related experiences. They’ll concern new books you’ve read and liked, new recipes you’ve tried and recommend, etc.

I’m starting with an entirely self-serving category, which concerns the sharing of something you created (minus images, which will be a separate post). I was fortunate to get to do a lot this year and perhaps most exciting was putting the finishing touches on a new edited volume about digital media research.

My book Research Exposed: How Empirical Social Science Gets Done in the Digital Age just came out from Columbia University Press. It includes a dozen chapters of social scientists discussing the behind-the-scenes realities of doing empirical research using digital methods and/or studying the social aspects of digital media. The pieces cover a wide range of methods from analyzing millions of tweets to careful sampling for qualitative work, from recruiting hard-to-access populations for surveys and focus groups to using mixed methods for studying various groups. The authors are unusually candid about all the ups and downs they faced during their studies. It’s a very informative and engaging read.

The book is third in a line of related books I have published. There was Research Confidential: Solutions to Problems Most Social Scientists Pretend They Never Have (University of Michigan Press) whose title was inspired by a CT reader and whose cover design I crowdsourced here and elsewhere. Then came Digital Research Confidential: The Secrets of Studying Behavior Online from The MIT Press, which I co-edited with Christian Sandvig. And now we have Research Exposed, whose title was recommended by an anonymous reviewer so I don’t even know whom to thank for it.

In the strictest sense, the book is targeted at social scientists – across fields from communication to sociology, from political science to journalism studies – who want to understand better what methodological approaches from earlier are still very relevant and what new challenges and opportunities digital media bring to the table. It is certainly great for students – from upper-level undergraduate to graduate – but also for scholars at all levels wanting to understand doing research better. I would hope it would also be of interest to non-scholars who would like to have a sense for how high-quality social science gets done these days.

And now it’s your turn. What did you create this year that you are especially excited to share? This can be a published book, journal article, oped, blog post, tweet, podcast, video, etc. (I will have a separate post for sharing images such as photographs and drawings, paintings, etc. so perhaps hold off on those for now.)

Central American States can and should move towards the implementation of a Universal Basic Income

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 14/12/2020 - 3:01am in

By: Carlos Alvarado Mendoza y Jonathan Menkos ZeissigTranslation: Julio Linares The Spanish version of the article can be found here. Recently, the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (Icefi) proposed for Central America the implementation of a universal basic income (UBI), seeking that the States of the isthmus have a minimum guarantee of social protection, […]

For COVID-19 vaccination programmes to be effective history shows gender equality in science is necessary

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 10:01pm in

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Drawing on the history of public health and anti-vaccination movements in 19th and 20th century Britain, Susan McPherson outlines how the sidelining of academics along gender lines during the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted efforts to develop and communicate scientific expertise and build public trust in the effectiveness of potential COVID-19 vaccines. In March 2020, … Continued

UK’s flagship new science funder delayed

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 22/11/2020 - 12:56pm in

“According to Mariana Mazzucato, director of University College London’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, “there is a misguided belief in the U.K. that to emulate ARPA means only investing in the discovery of new technologies, when in fact ARPA-U.K. should invest across the whole innovation chain but be uniquely focused on close-to-market interventions and supporting radical technology development that could have transformational effects upon different sectors.” ” Cristina Gallardo

How to Publish a Journal Article in Philosophy: Advice for Graduate Students and New Assistant Professors (guest post)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/11/2020 - 5:15am in

In the following guest post,*  Eric Schwitzgebel, professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, shares his “possibly quirky advice” about publishing in philosophy journals.

A version of the post first appeared at The Splintered Mind.


[Jean Shin, “TEXTile” (detail). Click image to see full work.]

How to Publish a Journal Article in Philosophy: Advice for Graduate Students and New Assistant Professors
by Eric Schwitzgebel

My possibly quirky advice. General thoughts first. Nitty-gritty details second. Disagreement and correction welcome.

Should You Try to Publish as a Graduate Student?

Yes, if you are seeking a job where hiring will be determined primarily on research promise, and if you can do so without excessively hindering progress toward your degree.

A couple of years ago, I was on a search committee for a new tenure-track Assistant Professor at U.C. Riverside, in epistemology, philosophy of action, philosophy of language, and/or philosophy of mind. We received about 200 applications. How do you, as an applicant, stand out in such a crowded field? I noticed three main ways:

  1. Something about your dissertation abstract or the first few pages of your writing sample strikes a committee member as extremely interesting — interesting enough for them to want to read your whole writing sample despite having a pile of 200 in their box. Of course, what any particular philosopher finds interesting varies enormously, so this is basically impossible to predict.
  2. Your file has a truly glowing letter of recommendation from someone whose judgment a committee member trusts.
  3. You have two or more publications either in well-regarded general philosophy journals (approx. 1-20 on this list) or in the best-regarded specialty journals in your subfield. (Publications in less elite venues probably won’t count much toward making you stand out.)

A couple of good publications, then, is one path toward getting you a closer look.

Caveats:

  • Publication is neither necessary (see routes 1 and 2) nor sufficient (if the committee doesn’t care for what they see after looking more closely).
  • If you spend a year postponing work on your dissertation to polish up an article for publication, that’s probably too much of a delay. The main thing is to complete a terrific dissertation.
  • If you’re aiming for schools that hire primarily based on teaching, effort spent on polishing publications rather than on improving your teaching profile (e.g., by teaching more courses and teaching them better) might be counterproductive.
  • Some people have argued that academic philosophy would be better off if graduate students weren’t permitted to publish and maybe if people published fewer philosophy articles in general. I disagree. But even if you agree with the general principle, it would be an excess of virtue to take a lonely purist stand by declining to submit your publishable work.

What Should Be Your First Publication?

Generally speaking, you’ll want your first publication to be on something so narrow that you are among the five top experts in the world on that topic.

Think about it this way: The readers of elite philosophy journals aren’t so interested in hearing about free will or the mind-body problem from the 437th most-informed person in the world on these topics. If you haven’t really mastered the huge literature on these topics, it will show. With some rare exceptions, as a graduate student or newly-minted assistant prof, publishing an ambitious, broad-ranging paper on a well-trodden subject is probably beyond your reach.

But there are interesting topics on which you can quickly become among the world’s leading experts. You want to find something that will interest scholars in your subfield but small enough that you can read the entire literature on that topic. Read that entire literature. You’ll find you have a perspective that is in some important respect different from others’. Your article, then, articulates that perspective, fully informed by the relevant literature, with which you contrast yourself.

Some examples from early in my career:

a. the apparent inaccuracy of people’s introspective reports about their experience of echolocation (i.e., hearing sounds reflected off silent objects and walls);
b. ambiguities in the use of the term “representation” by developmental psychologists in the (then new) literature on children’s understanding of false belief;
c. attempts by Anglophone interpreters of Zhuangzi to make sense of the seeming contradictions in his claims about skepticism.

These topics were each narrow enough to thoroughly research in a semester’s time (given the tools and background knowledge I already had). Since then, (b) has grown too large but (a) and (c) are probably still about the right size.

The topic should be narrow enough that you really do know it better than almost anyone else in the world and yet interesting enough for someone in your subfield to see how it might illuminate bigger issues. In your introduction and conclusion, you highlight those bigger framing issues (without overcommitting on them).

The Tripod Theory of Building Expertise

Now if you’re going to have a research career in philosophy, eventually you’re going to want to publish more ambitiously, on broader topics — at least by the time you’re approaching tenure. Here’s what I recommend: Publish three papers on narrow but related topics. These serve as a tripod establishing your expertise in the broader subarea to which they belong. Once you have this tripod, reach for more general theories and more ambitious claims.

Again, from my own career: My paper on our introspective ignorance of the experience of echolocation ((a) above) was followed by a paper on our introspective ignorance of our experience of coloration in dreams and a paper on the weak relationship between people’s introspective self-reports of imagery experience and their actually measured imagery skills. Each is a small topic, but combined they suggested a generalization: People aren’t especially accurate introspectors of features of their stream of conscious experience (contra philosophical orthodoxy at the time). (N.B.: In psychology, critiques of introspection generally focused on introspection of causes of our behavior, not introspection of the stream of ongoing inner experience.) My work on this topic culminated in an broad, ambitious, skeptical paper in Philosophical Review in 2008. These articles then were further revised into a book.

Simultaneously, I built a tripod of expertise on belief: first, a detailed (but unpublished) criticism of Donald Davidson’s arguments that believing requires having language, relying on a “dispositional” approach to belief; second, a dispositionalist model of gradual belief change in children’s understanding of object permanence and false belief; third, a discussion of how dispositional approaches to belief neatly handle vagueness in belief attribution in “in-between” cases of kind-of-believing. These culminated in a general paper on the nature of belief, from a dispositionalist perspective.

Imagine a ship landing on an alien planet: It sets down some tiny feet of narrow expertise. If the feet are a little separated but not too far apart, three are enough to support a stable platform — a generalization across the broader region that they touch (e.g., empirical evidence suggests that we are bad introspectors of the stream of experience; or dispositionalism elegantly handles various puzzles about belief). From this platform, you hopefully have a new, good viewing angle, grounded in your unique expertise, on a large issue nearby (e.g., the epistemology of introspection, the nature of belief).

Writing the Paper

A typical journal article is about 8000 words long. Much longer, and reviewers start to tire and you bump up against journals’ word limits. Much shorter, and you’re not talking about a typical full-length journal article (although some journals specialize in shorter articles).

Write a great paper! Revise it many times. I recommend retyping the whole thing from beginning to end at least once, to give yourself a chance to actively rethink every word. I recommend writing it at different lengths: a short conference version that forces you to focus efficiently on the heart of the matter, a long dissertation-chapter version that forces you to give an accurate blow-by-blow accounting of others’ views and what is right and wrong in them. Actively expanding and contracting like this can really help you corral and discipline your thoughts.

Cite heavily, especially near the beginning of the paper. Not all philosophers do this (and I don’t always do it myself, I confess). But there are several reasons.

First, other scholars should be cited. Their work and their influence on you should be recognized. This is good for them, and it’s good for the field, and it’s good for your reader. If you cite only a few people, it will probably be the same few big names everyone else cites, burying others’ contributions and amplifying the winner-take-all dynamics in philosophy.

Second, it establishes your credibility. It helps show that you know the topic. Your great command of the topic shows in other ways too! But the reader and the journal’s reviewers (who advise the editor on whether to accept your article) will feel reassured if they can say to themselves, “Yes, the author has read all the good recent literature on this topic. They cite all the right stuff.”

Third, one of the ways that journals select reviewers is by looking at your reference list. Your citations are, in a way, implicit recommendations of other experts in the field who might find your topic interesting. Even if you disagree with them, as long as you treat them fairly and respectfully, reviewers are generally happy to see themselves cited in the papers they are reviewing. Citing helps you build a pool of potential reviewers who might be positively disposed toward your topic and article.

Your introduction and conclusion help the reader see why your topic should be of broad interest among those in your subfield. The body of your paper lays out the narrow problem and your insightful answer. Keep focused on that narrow problem.

If the topic is narrow enough that your friends can’t imagine how you could write 8000 words about it, while you are expert enough that it’s hard to imagine how you could do it justice in only 8000 words, that’s a good sign.

Choosing a Journal

You needn’t write with a particular target journal in mind. Just write a terrific philosophy article. (Lots of professors have circulating draft papers on their websites. Typically, these are in something pretty close to the form of what they submit to journals. Use these as models of the general form.)

In choosing a journal, you probably want to keep in mind three considerations:

i. Prestige of the journal, either in general or in your subfield.
ii. Response time of the journal (some data are available here) and possibly other editorial practices you care about, such as open access or anonymous reviewing.
iii. Fit between the interests of the journal’s readers and your article.

(Wow, I’m really digging threes today!)

On iii, it can help to note where recent work on the topic has been published. You also want to consider whether your topic is more likely to be appreciated in a specialist’s journal.

On i vs ii: Here you need to think about how much time you have to see the paper through to publication. If you’re near the job market or tenure, you might want to focus on journals with quicker response times and less selective journals that are more likely to say yes. You might not want to wait a year for Journal of Philosophy to very likely tell you no. I recommend creating a list of six journals — one aspirational journal that’s a bit of a reach (if you have enough time), three good journals that you think are realistic, and two fall-back journals you’d still be happy to publish in. When that rejection comes, it’s easier to cope if your backup plan is already set. Acceptance rates in the most elite philosophy journals are small, and bear in mind that you’re competing with eminent scholars as well as graduate students and assistant professors.

I usually figure on about two years between when I first submit a paper and when it is finally accepted for publication somewhere.

Submit to only one journal at a time. This is standard in the field, and editors and reviewers will be seriously annoyed if they discover you’re not heeding this advice.

Preparing Your Manuscript

Once you’ve chosen your journal, prepare your manuscript for submission to that journal by creating an anonymized version in a boring font with abstract, keywords, and word count, and any other advice that the journal lists on its webpage under its guide for authors. (One exception: You needn’t spend all day formatting the references in the required way. As long as the references are consistently formatted, no one really cares at the submission stage.)

Boring font: Unless there’s some reason to do otherwise, I recommend Times New Roman 12, double spaced.

Anonymized: Remove the title page and your name. Remove revealing self-references, if any, such as “as I argued in Wong (2018)”. You can either cut the reference, cite it in the third person (“as Wong (2018) argued”), or cite it anonymously “as I argued in [Author’s Article 1]”. Remove other compromises to anonymity, such as acknowledgements.

First page: Title, then abstract (look at the recent issues to see how long abstracts tend to run), then maybe five keywords (these don’t matter much, but look at a recent issue for examples), and word count including notes and references (rounding to the nearest hundred is fine).

Second page: Title again, then start your paper.

Have page numbers and a shortened version of the title in the header or footer.

If your article has notes, I recommend formatting them as footnotes rather than endnotes for the purposes of review, even if the journal uses endnotes for published articles. It doesn’t matter much, but most reviewers like it better and it makes your scholarly credibility just a little more salient up front.

All of the above, of course, would be overridden by contrary instructions on the journal’s website.

If you’re attaching to an email or submitting through a portal that asks for a cover letter, the cover letter need not be anything long or fancy. Something like:

Dear Prof. Lewis:
Attached please find “A Tactile Refutation of Duomorphholismicism” (about 8000 words), intended as a new submission to Holomorphicism Studies Bulletin. The article has been prepared for anonymous review and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Referee Reports

Your article will probably either be desk rejected by the editor or sent out to reviewers.

Desk rejection is a relatively quick decision (within a few weeks) that the article is outside of the scope of the journal, or doesn’t meet the journal’s standards or requirements, or is unlikely to be of sufficient interest to the journal’s readers.

If your article isn’t desk rejected, it will be sent to one or two, or sometimes more, reviewers. Reviewers are chosen by the editor based on some combination of (1) does the editor know of the person as a good scholar working in the field, (2) is the person reasonably likely to say yes, (3) has the person written decent referee reports in the past, and (4) if 1-3 don’t bring anyone immediately to mind, the editor might skim the references to see if any names pop out as potential reviewers. Reviewers receive an email typically containing the title and abstract of the paper and asking if they are willing to review the paper for the journal. If the reviewer doesn’t reply with a yes or a no within a few days, they will probably get a nudge. If the reviewer declines, they will typically be asked if they could suggest a few names of other potential reviewers. Refereeing is thankless work, and it can take a lot of time to do it well, and it doesn’t benefit the reviewer professionally very much — so sometimes it can take several weeks for editors to find suitable reviewers.

In philosophy, reviewers will usually be given at least two months to return a referee report (a few journals try to be faster). The referee report will have a recommendation of “accept”, “revise and resubmit”, or “reject” —sometimes with finer-grained distinctions between accept and R&R such as “accept with revisions” or “minor revisions”. It is rare to get a straight acceptance in your first round of submission. What you’re shooting for is R&R.

After the reviewers complete their reports (sometimes requiring several rounds of nudging by the editor), the editor will make a decision. For the most selective journals, split decisions typically but not always go against the author (e.g., if Reviewer 1 says R&R and Reviewer 2 says reject, the editor is likely to reject). It’s generally considered good practice for journals to share anonymized referee reports with the author, but not all journals do so.

If you are rejected with referee reports:

Remember your backup journal, already chosen in advance with this contingency in mind! Read the referee reports and think about what changes you might want to make in light of those referee reports. If the reports seem insightful, great! If the reviewers missed the point or seem totally uncharitable, maybe there are some clarifications you can make to prevent readers from making those same interpretative mistakes at the next journal.

Don’t linger too long, unless the referee report really causes you to see the issues in a new way, sending you back to the drawing board. In most cases, you want to sling a revised version of your paper to the next journal within a few weeks.

If you get an R&R:

Read the referee reports very carefully. Note every criticism they make and every change they suggest. Your revision should address every single one of these points. You can rephrase things to avoid the criticisms. You can mention and explicitly respond to the criticisms. If the reviewer recommends a structural change of some sort, consider making that structural change. In general, you should make every change the reviewers request, unless you think the change would make your paper worse. Depending on how purist you are, you might also consider making some changes that you feel make your paper just a little worse, e.g., clunkier, if you think they don’t compromise your core content. If you think a recommended change would make your paper worse, you need not make that change, but you should address it in a new cover letter.

You should aim to resubmit a revised version of your paper within a couple of months of receiving the referee reports. (If you send it the next day, everyone knows you didn’t seriously engage with the reviewers’ suggestions. If you send it ten months later, the reviewers might not remember the paper very well or might not still be available.)

Your new submission should contain a detailed cover letter addressing the reviewers’ suggestions, alongside the revised version of your paper. My impression is that at most journals a majority of papers that receive R&R are eventually accepted. Sometimes it requires more than one round of R&R, and rejection after R&R is definitely a live possibility. To be accepted, the reviewers and editor must come to feel that you have adequately addressed the reviewers’ concerns. The aim of the cover letter is to show how you have done so.

In my cover letters, I usually quote the reviewers’ letters word for word (block indented), inserting my replies (not indented). If they have praise, I insert responses like “I thank the reviewer for the kind remark about the potential importance of this work” (or whatever). For simple criticisms and corrections, you can insert responses like “Corrected. I appreciate the careful eye.” or “I now respond to this concern in a new paragraph on page 7 of the revised version of the manuscript.”

For more difficult issues, or where you disagree with the reviewer, you will want to explain more in your cover letter. It might seem to you that the reviewer is being stupid or uncharitable or missing obvious things. While this is possibly true, it is also possible that you are being defensive or your writing is unclear or you are not seeing weaknesses in your argument. You should try always try to keep a tone of politeness, gratitude, and respect — and if possible, think of misreadings as valuable feedback about issues on which you could have been clearer. I try to push back against reviewers’ suggestions only when I feel it’s important, and hopefully on at most one substantial issue per reviewer.

If there’s a strongly voiced objection based on a misreading, this should be handled delicately. First, revise the text so that it no longer invites that misreading. Be extra clear in the revised version of the text what you are not saying or committing to. Then in the cover letter, explain that you have clarified the text to avoid this interpretation of your position. But also answer to the objection that the reviewer raised, so they aren’t left feeling like you ducked the issue and they aren’t left curious. In this case, your response to the objection can be entirely in the cover letter and need not appear in the paper at all. (You might or might not agree that the objection would have been fatal to the position they had thought you were taking.)

Generally, the revised paper and the reply to reviewers will go back to the same reviewers. Typically, a reviewer will recommend acceptance after an R&R if they feel you have adequately engaged with and addressed their concerns (even if in the end they don’t agree), they will recommend rejection if they feel that you didn’t engage their concerns seriously or if your engagement reveals (in their judgment) that their original concerns really are fatal to the whole project, and they will recommend a second round of R&R if they feel you’ve made progress but one or two important issues still remain outstanding.

Some people add footnotes thanking anonymous reviewers. In my view it’s unnecessary. Everyone knows that virtually every article contains changes made in response to the criticisms of anonymous reviewers.

After It’s Accepted

  • Celebrate! Yay!
  • Put it on your c.v. as “forthcoming” in the journal that accepted it. Yay!
  • Keep your eye out for page proofs. Some journals give you just a few days to implement corrections after receiving the proofs, and it’s not uncommon for there to be screwy copyediting mistakes that it would be embarrassing to see in print. You can also make minor wording changes and corrections during proofs. Journals discourage making big changes at this stage, such as inserting whole new paragraphs, though if it’s important you can try to make the case.

Discussion welcome.

The post How to Publish a Journal Article in Philosophy: Advice for Graduate Students and New Assistant Professors (guest post) appeared first on Daily Nous.

National Civic Review Fall Edition Recently Released with Kettering Foundation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 09/11/2020 - 11:30pm in

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research

NCDD member org, The National Civic League released the 2020 Fall Edition of the National Civic Review, published in collaboration with NCDD member, the Kettering Foundation. This esteemed quarterly journal offers insights and examples of civic engagement and deliberative governance from around the country. Friendly reminder that NCDD members receive the digital copy of the National Civic Review for free! (Find the access code below.) We strongly encourage our members to check out this great resource and there is an open invite for NCDD members to contribute to the NCR. You can read about NCR in the post below and find it on NCL’s site here.

National Civic Review Fall Edition 2020 – Access Code: NCDD20

As this edition of the National Civic Review goes out, our nation is approaching a crucial presidential election, dealing with a terrible pandemic and grappling with vexing racial disparities. An article by Martín Carcasson discusses approaching the challenge of public deliberation as a “wicked problem,” in other words, an issue or challenge with conflicting underlying values and no technical solution. Perhaps at this juncture we are in a wicked time, a period with similar attributes of conflicting values and complexity. This edition of the Review was published in collaboration with  Charles F. Kettering Foundation. We hope the articles in the edition will provide some ideas and tools to rally communities across the country to address complex issues and thrive.

You can access this edition by going directly to the table of contents and entering your access code (NCDD20) when prompted.

One of the Nation’s Oldest and Most Respected Journals of Civic Affairs

Its cases studies, reports, interviews and essays help communities learn about the latest developments in collaborative problem-solving, civic engagement, local government innovation and democratic governance. Some of the country’s leading doers and thinkers have contributed articles to this invaluable resource for elected officials, public managers, nonprofit leaders, grassroots activists, and public administration scholars seeking to make America’s communities more inclusive, participatory, innovative and successful.

Council for European Studies conference, June 2021

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/10/2020 - 4:04am in

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News, research

Call for Papers: Panel on the politics of Universal Basic Income. What role for activism(s)? This Call for Papers (CFP) is interested in empirical studies that look at the social and political processes related to the growing interest in universal basic income (UBI), including recent pilot tests and experiments, their design and implementation, either at […]

We’re starting a new journal!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 09/10/2020 - 4:27am in

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Academia, research

Does the world really need yet one more academic journal? It does when there is an unmet need for disseminating certain types of work. Andy Guess, Kevin Munger (two political scientists) and I (a communication scholar/sociologist) are starting the Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media (link to temp Web site while the permanent one gets set up). The journal publishes quantitative descriptive social science. It does not publish research that makes causal claims. Descriptive work can be very important and also very resource-intensive to produce, yet notoriously hard to publish in existing outlets. We want there to be an outlet where people can free up the tremendous amount of information residing on their machines from data sets they have collected, but that they don’t write up and disseminate, because there is currently no place to do so. Thus our journal. JQD:DM is an open-access no-fee publication (for at least the first two years, ideally indefinitely). Check out the journal site for more on the motivation and more thoughts from Kevin on where he sees it fitting into the scientific enterprise.

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