Philosophy Journal Rankings

Important update: Thom Brooks, in comments has alerted me to the fact that the ESF is soliciting feedback about this list. I hereby urge you all to go give them some!  As noted below, they’ve changed the list before in response to feedback, so this is well worth doing. 

I’m a little late to this one– sorry– but it’s well worth noting here anyway. The European Science Foundation has come up with a ranking of philosophy journals, which you can check out here. There’s a lot for feminist philosophers to be annoyed about, perhaps most notably the ranking of Hypatia, the top English language feminist philosophy journal, as a B. This is particularly important because it is very difficult to publish feminist philosophy in other journals. (For some statistical evidence of this, see the stats in Sally Haslanger’s paper here, “Changing The Ideology and Culture of Philosophy”. For a bit of anecdotal evidence, at least re analytic feminism, try thinking about where you see analytic feminism papers appearing– overwhelmingly feminist journals, invited volumes, or invited journals. Or, if it’s appropriate to your case, compare your rejection rates for feminism papers with your rejection rates for others.) It can also be difficult to get publications in Hypatia taken seriously by one’s department: I know of at least one junior faculty member who was told that she needed to get some more ‘mainstream’ publications, despite her publication in Hypatia, the top journal in her field. A high ranking for Hypatia in a list like this could really help feminist philosophers struggling to get their work taking seriously. It’s worth noting, though, that Hypatia had originally not even been included on the list. SWIP UK and lots of others raised an outcry about this and other omissions to the provisional list, the British Philosophical Association took up the cause, and the new list is substantially improved, despite its flaws. For more discussions of these rankings, see Lemmings, Leiter, Brooks Blog, and Gone Public.

12 thoughts on “Philosophy Journal Rankings

  1. It is well worth noting, too, that it is far from over. The new second ‘initial’ list is not the final list. Readers are able to send comments electronically to the ESF to comment on rankings. I would certainly encourage many to do this for a variety of journals…just making the list for several would be a good start.

    All in all, I deeply regret such metrics and the enthusiasm that too many show to them.

  2. I don’t know Hypathia very well, but they say in the Editor’s page that they follow a blind reviewing process, and that the acceptance rate for 2003-2004 was 9 percent, which is good! Can anybody provide more recent figures?

    (I was surprised, however, that a causal look at the list of people in the editorial board as well as authors in the recent issues seems to reveal a percentage of “one-gender” apparently as high as the most extreme cases in Haslanger’s recent reportmentioned by Jender—only with majority of women this time. Can anyone confirm this?)

  3. Really interesting point about the editorial board, Anon. My first thought was “Yes, well of course. Feminist philosophy is overwhelmingly female, so that’s what we should expect.” But then I realized what a bad response that would be to pointing out overwhelmingly male editorial boards in other areas. Now, there are differences– much feminist philosophy draws on personal experience as a woman, which men don’t have. But much of it *isn’t* like this, and in fact feminists should (and increasingly are) be interested in masculinity as well. I think maybe we *should* view getting more men into feminist philosophy as an important goal– certainly we should be aware of the difficulties that men in feminist philosophy may have, and try to do something about them. There are still feminist philosophy conferences to which they’re not allowed to submit papers, and they may also encounter more subtle forms of hostility to their work. Perhaps some pro-men efforts in feminist philosophy would be a good idea.

  4. It seems to me to be an admirable goal to try and get more men interested in and working in feminist philosophy. In some ways, it’s more important that men be feminists than it is that women be. (For the same reasons that the people you’d *really* like to convince that blacks aren’t inferior to whites are white supremicists, not black people who most likely believe that anyway.)

    I think men can very often be discouraged from working on feminist topics, often by female feminists. It’s as if feminism is a ‘female topic’ and men shouldn’t presume to comment on it. Which is, I think, nonsense: feminism is a human topic! Making men more welcome in the field would seem to me to be a good thing; although I guess I’m biased.

    On the journal issue. Has anyone considered setting up an equivalent of the ‘Oxford Studies in . . .’ volumes for feminist analytic philosophy? That would afford a lot of scope for controlling the quality of the papers and perhaps ensuring a higher profile than things like Hypatia.

  5. I think the only solution is for feminist philosophy to separate itself from mainstream philosophy; otherwise it stays under the control and demeaning judgment of the old boys. Forgive me the stretch in metaphor–but the relation between the two reminds me of the previous Soviet occupation of Lithuania. Lithuania, a powerful country, fought hard for its independence, and for the preservation of its unique culture and pagan history. Now Lithuania is independent and free. Currently, given the domineering influence of traditional philosophy affecting feminist philosophy, feminist philosophy is not as powerful and as creative as it could be. Once it cuts completely from traditional philosophy it can be free to be powerfully creative.

  6. I have to say, ‘B’ seems like a perfectly reasonable ranking for Hypatia, and it’d be a stretch to argue for an ‘A.’

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