Guidelines for Journals
Journals should give detailed and up-to-date information on their areas of interest and review practice on their
websites. This information should include:
- Statistics on
submissions and acceptances.
- Areas of
philosophy and the types of essays
(stand-alone essays, discussion notes, replies to essays published
in the journal) in which
the journal is especially interested.
- Any special requirements for acceptance, e.g. maximum word count.
- The average review
time and average
time from acceptance to publication.
- The journal’s practice
regarding desk rejections.
- The journal’s policy
for reviewing resubmitted papers.
- The journal’s policy
on allowing authors to self-archive their work
once it has been accepted/published.
In acknowledging receipt of a manuscript for review, journals should make clear
the expected review time and the point
at which the author may appropriately inquire
as to the manuscript’s status. When a review is taking considerably longer than an author
has been led to believe
would be the case, the author should
be kept informed of the
progress of the review.
Journals should ideally
provide comments for authors when the review time significantly exceeds
their own stated norms.
As noted above, journals
should describe their practice regarding
desk rejections on their websites.
All submissions should be read anonymously on their
first reading before a decision to desk reject
is made. Journals
should give at least a brief explanation for desk rejections that take longer
than their own stated norms.
It is strongly
recommended that journals
use triply anonymous
refereeing: the author’s name and institutional affiliation should not be revealed
to the editor or to the referees, and the names
of the referees and their institutional affiliations should not be
made known to the author. At a minimum,
doubly anonymous refereeing, in which the author and the referees
are ignorant of each
other’s identities, should be practiced. While any acknowledgements included
in a manuscript may help editors identify
appropriate referees, they should
be deleted from the essays
sent to referees.
Potential referees should be asked if they have any conflicts of interest with regard to
the paper they are being
asked to referee.
If they do, another referee
should be used,
if at all possible.
There may be good
reason for editors to send papers
for review to referees whose work the papers discuss.
These reasons may include an interest in hearing from those written about whether
an essay offers
a fair and honest critique. Plus, comments from such persons may be of great
use to authors. Nevertheless, their comments should always be read in context, with editors left to the use of their
discretion, and substantial efforts
should be made to have at least one reader
who has no potential conflict of interest. Although the practice
of having authors recommend referees may help save editors time, it should
not be used. The potential
for conflicts of interest outweighs the benefits.
Invitations to review
should be very clear about the expectations and work involved. At a minimum,
referee requests should note the title of the
submitted piece (and preferably include the abstract
where possible) and some information about what would be required from a potential referee if this person were to accept
the invitation. For example, the journal should
be clear as to whether
or not there is a specific
form that must be completed. Referees
should be asked to complete
a review within
a specified timeframe, ideally
one month. In certain instances—such as the review of papers on specialized topics—referees may be few and additional time may be required.
should be asked to report
on submissions in a civil manner and base their
recommendations on the quality
of the submission and the journal’s standards. Where
appropriate, referees should be asked to redraft
comments or editors should edit reviews to best serve the interest of authors.
It is likely
and appropriate that different journals
will have different practices with regard to recommendations that an author
revise and resubmit
a paper. It is important in every case, however,
that referees be given guidance
on when such a recommendation is appropriate. Authors should also be given a clear indication of just
what a revise and resubmit recommendation means and informed
of the required timeframe, if any, for submitting revisions. As already noted,
editors should describe
on the journal’s webpage their general policy for reviewing resubmitted papers.
Time to Publication
Journals should strive to avoid a delay of
more than a year from acceptance to publication. Journals should keep in mind the possibility of publishing papers online prior to their appearance in print.
Editors should keep in mind that the profession benefits
from a rich and diverse body of philosophical research.
Guidelines for Authors
Prior to submitting a manuscript to a journal
for review, an author
should check the journal’s website. There one can normally
find relevant information, such as:
- The journal’s stated
interests as to areas of philosophy, types of essays (stand-alone essays;
discussion notes; replies
to essays published
in the journal) and essay length.
- The journal’s guidelines for manuscript preparation, especially those on how to prepare
the manuscript for anonymous review.
- The journal’s acceptance rate, average time for
manuscript review and average time from acceptance to publication.
Authors should make use of such
information to ensure
that their choice of
a journal is appropriate and that they have properly prepared
their manuscript for anonymous review.
In submitting a manuscript for review, an author
is indicating that it is not under review or forthcoming in any other publication. Journals will not review papers
whose content, either in full or in
substantial part, is already under
If a manuscript receives
a revise and resubmit recommendation, the author should promptly inform the editor
of his or her intentions in this regard.
Requests for Information
While frequent requests
for updates on the review
of a manuscript can retard the review process, authors should
not hesitate to confirm the status of their
manuscript’s review after a period of four months, unless the journal
has already specified that the review process
is likely to take longer.
Preparation for Publication
Once a manuscript is accepted for publication—and indeed
throughout the review process—the author should carefully
heed the editor’s
guidelines on manuscript
preparation and respond
promptly to inquiries.
In preparing a final version of the
manuscript, the author
should follow all instructions provided by the journal,
copy-editing and proofreading the work promptly
and with great care.
Guidelines for Referees
The professional responsibility to referee falls on
all members of the profession.
Potential referees should respond to invitations to review within
one week at most.
Taking longer prolongs
the review process
Referees should agree to review
a submission only if they believe they are likely
to complete the review in the requested timeframe. If a review
is likely to take more than
the time requested, the referee
should inform the journal editor
of that fact so that
the editor has the opportunity to arrange for an
Civility and the Promotion of Quality Research
Referees should keep in mind that their role is to support
the development and publication of quality research by providing comments that will not only guide the editors
in their decisions but also aid the authors in improving their papers. Reviews
lacking in civility or failing to respond to the quality
of the research may be counterproductive.
Standards for Review
While referees must ultimately rely on
their own professional judgment
in evaluating any manuscript, their evaluation should be informed
by the journal’s standards for publication. They should also decline to review manuscripts that are beyond
their expertise or for which they cannot provide
a fair, unbiased
Conflicts of Interest and Anonymity
Referees should identify
any potential conflicts
of interest to editors.
They should, in particular, tell editors when they know the
identity of the author.
Editors can then make an informed
judgment on whether to proceed with the review.
Since many philosophers post their papers
on the web prior
to submitting them for
publication, referees are often able to identify
authors by a web search. Referees
should not attempt to identify the authors of papers they are reviewing.
General advice for referees is offered by Thom
Brooks in "Guidelines on How to Referee.”
Related to Copyright and Publication
Consideration of Previously Posted Papers
It is common
in some disciplines for scholars and scientists to post their papers on the
web prior to submitting them for
consideration by a journal,
for example by releasing them to electronic archives
like http://arxiv.org or http://www.ssrn.com. This practice
is becoming more common
among philosophers. In philosophy of science, Pitt provides
an electronic archive for preprints, the PhilSci Archive. The
purpose of these archives
is to facilitate rapid distribution of new work. Provided that
these papers are not subject
to copyright restrictions deriving from this web posting
and provided that the web posting
does not effectively amount to publication in an online journal (for example, because the posting is controlled by a peer-reviewed selection process), journal
editors should, in general, be willing to consider papers
which have been released
to pre-print archives.
Journals exhibit a range of policies for permitting authors to self-archive their published work on their own
websites. Some have no
conditions on self-archiving, some require acknowledgment of
the published version and a link to the journal’s typeset PDF, some permit only the "penultimate” version
of the paper, some ask that no
version of the paper which
has had any editorial input be posted.
For example, the University of Chicago Press, which publishes Ethics, encourages authors to post the final PDF, subject only to comporting with the embargo
period imposed by archives such as JSTOR
and "provided that the server
is non-commercial and not
intended for the systematic storage, retrieval, and delivery of scholarly material” and that appropriate credit is given to the journal. Another example is the policy
for Springer journals:
An author may self-archive an author-created version
of his/her article on his/her own website and/or
on his/her institutional repository. He/she may also deposit
this version on his/her funder’s or funder’s designated repository at the funder’s request or as a result
of a legal obligation, provided it is not made publicly
available until 12 months
after official publication. He/she may not use the publisher’s PDF version which is posted on
the purpose of self-archiving or deposit. Furthermore, the author
may only post his/her version provided acknowledgement is given to the original
source of publication and a link is inserted
to the published article on Springer’s website. The link must be accompanied by the following text: "The original
publication is available at springerlink.com.”
Journals should make clear to authors what their policies
are about the post-acceptance
and post-publication posting
of their own articles. Policies
significantly more restrictive than the examples above should be avoided, absent some special
Permissions to Reprint
Journals and publishers are generally willing
to allow authors
to reprint (without charge) their published work in
their own books/collected papers.
Such a policy is to be
favored. By contrast, it is common for publishers and journals to reserve the right to charge a fee for republication of work in an anthology which is not edited by the
author him or herself. Such a policy
is not unreasonable.
Prepared by Thomas
Baldwin, Thom Brooks, Stewart Cohen, Matti Eklund,
Susan Feagin, Leslie Francis, Carol C. Gould,
Sally Haslanger, Katherine
Hawley, Hilary Kornblith, Peter Markie, Henry S. Richardson, Ernest Sosa, John Symons, Robert Basil Talisse. Approved by the APA board of officers at its November 2011 meeting.