My book, A Philosophy of Cover Songs, was published by Open Book Publishers. They are, as their website says, “a not-for-profit Social Enterprise run by academics who are committed to making high-quality and prize-winning research available to all, and… the hub of choice for a rapidly increasing international network of scholars who believe that it is time for academic publishing to become fairer, faster and more accessible.” They were my first-choice publisher for the book, and my experience with them has been great.Continue reading “Why I love my publisher”
It feels a bit cringe to think in terms of professional networking, but a few recent posts have me thinking about the personal and professional connections that maintain philosophical life.
TL;DR: 1. I should be better about keeping in touch and attending on-line events. 2. If you feel like you’d benefit from being in touch with me, feel free to reach out.Continue reading “Presumptuous invitation”
It’s been a while since I’ve complained about the narrow understandings of open access that too many people have got, but I’ve been meaning to post about Keith Burgess-Jackson’s provacatively titled Why I Publish in “Predatory” Journals—and Why You Should, Too. He argues rightly that open-access journals have several advantages over traditional journals, but fails to imagine relevant alternatives. To summarize the advantages he discusses:
- Audience: More people will read a freely available article than one that’s only available to subscribers and pirates.
- Publication speed: Traditional journals can be slow both to review an article and to put it into print.
- Length: Traditional journals often won’t publish papers longer than 7-8,000 words.
- Ownership: Traditional journals often require authors to relinquish copyright.
- Referees: Journal referees often respond in obtuse ways. They either reject a paper for weird reasons or demand unnecessary changes.
On the basis of these reasons, he argues that (a) we should stop publishing in traditional journals and (b) we should start paying open-access journals to publish our papers.
This is the falsest of false dilemmas, and the recommendation he arrives at is pretty bad.Continue reading “Open access and the falsest of false dilemmas”
Via Kevin Zollman, I recently learned about the work Elisabeth Bik and her team have done to identify what they call the Tadpole paper mill, an operation responsible for “over 400 [papers] from different authors and affiliations that all appear to have been generated by the same source.” The image forensic techniques that Bik and colleagues use have no ready application in philosophy. Still, there are dubious publications.Continue reading “Non sequitur references and possible paper mills”
Continue reading “The mysterious island”
Deep within these grooves of Academe,Edith Eliot1
In quiet cubicles, white and bare,
Hunched homunculi strain and labor
(Like monks of old in cloistered cells
Balancing angels on needles’ points)
At tasks bizarre with tools outrageous
Through days and nights of anguish unrelenting.
At The Splintered Mind, Eric Schwitzgebel gives what he describes as “a rough measure of current influence in … ‘mainstream Anglophone philosophy’.” His method starts with citations in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Considering only authors born after 1900, he tallies up the number of distinct articles in which they are cited.
The highly-influential Hilary Putnam is cited in 168 articles. Using that to ostensively define a unit, identify that as 1 Putnam of influence.
Putnam is in third place on the list, behind WVO Quine (1.14 Putnams of influence) and David Lewis (1.59 Putnams).
The inevitable vanity search and a little math reveals that I have 77.4 milliPutnams of influence.1 Should I be chuffed about that? Can I put it on my CV?
I’ve run into lots of posts and news about The Journal of Controversial Ideas, both from philosophers who you’d expect to be talking about this thing and elsewhere.1 The journal, organized by Jeff McMahan, Peter Singer, Francesca Minerva and others, is meant to be a forum for scholarly papers which scholars would be afraid to publish elsewhere. To shield authors from blowback, all the papers will be published anonymously.
A. Lots of people have commented that the new journal is likely to be a cesspool of racism, sexism, and other terrible views which people like to pretend they can’t talk about. I suggest this modest principle: If the president can tweet a view, then there are already sufficient venues for its expression.Continue reading “Hot takes on Controversial Ideas”
I started to write a short post about blind peer review, but it fragmented into a bunch of barely-related musings.
TL;DR: Something something peer review.
Over on Facebook, Matt Brown linked to my previous post and some interesting discussion ensued.1 In one sub-thread, Matt makes some distinctions between different types of OA. He mentions one I hadn’t seen before, Copper OA, coined by Egon Willighagen and defined this way:
1. the author(s) remain copyright owners,
2. the work is made available under an Open license to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, right of access to and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works in any digital medium for any purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship, as well as any further rights we associate with Open as outlined by, for example, the Debian Free Software Guidelines.
This is kind of a mess, resulting in part from the collision between the push for open access in academia and the older open source software movement. When I wrote forall x, back in 2005, most people could only understand it on analogy with open source software. Now, more people know about Creative Commons licenses. And CC licenses are just a better framework for licensing text than free software licenses are.
It’s important to note that there are at least two dimensions of ‘open’ which are getting conflated here.Continue reading “Flavours of Open Access”
There are lots of times that I find a reference or a link to a paper that looks like it could have something to do with a topic that I’m researching. If there is a readily-available version of the paper, then I read it. If it is in a closed-access journal, then I may check to see if I have access through my university library. Especially for recent or on-line first papers, the answer is often no.
At this point, I could request a copy by interlibrary loan or e-mail the author to ask for a copy. Sometimes I do these things, but only sometimes. There isn’t time to chase down copies of every possibly-relevant paper. So there are papers I never read that would be useful if I did look at them.
I used to feel guilty about this, but I’ve decided that I’m over it.Continue reading “I’m not going to feel guilty about not reading your closed-access paper”