When journals don’t follow their own procedures

Many of us have put a lot of effort into getting journals to use double-anonymous review practices. Even those who don’t think that’s necessary probably do think review by someone who isn’t,say, the author’s supervisor is necessary. Things like this are what make it so important to appreciate the many ways that journals (even top ones) may fall short of even halfway decent practices. This needs to be noticed and paid attention to. So go check out this post at DailyNous, and some of the comments (esp. number 21).

3 thoughts on “When journals don’t follow their own procedures

  1. I have a lot to say about this issue and I’ve decided I don’t want to say it at Daily Nous so I’m glad to see it raised here. I’ll try to be brief.

    I think there are two kinds of problems that have to be handled separately. One is the possibility of explicit corruption. Maybe some editors (or referees) deliberately try to get their friends, or their friends’ students, etc., into their journals as a perk, for example. The other is the threat of implicit bias: reviewing really must be as anonymous as possible because even perfect good faith won’t stop us from being biased against women authors, non-white authors, and as Tom Hurka pointed out other more idiosyncratic biases are apt to influence us too.

    I am a lot more worried about the second class of problem. What has struck me in the Daily Nous discussion is that there seem to be philosophers who are more worried about the first class. I wonder how widespread this is, and whether I should be more worried about the first class of problem, the explicit kind of bias or favoritism, than I in fact am.

    How do others here feel? Is the bigger problem the threat of implicit bias, or explicit favoritism?

  2. Hmm, I don’t know which problem is bigger. I have, though, come across a few examples of the first sort in my brief career, so I think it’s optimistic to think that the problem *isn’t* explicit corruption.

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