Monday, March 30, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

Recent discussions at Leiter's blog suggest that many of us aren't shouldering our share of the burden as referees. I know this is true in my case as I've only refereed three papers. If any editor is in need of a referee, my services are available and I've not yet turned down a request to referee. If any friend or colleague of an editor reads this, feel free to forward my name. I've previously refereed papers for Synthese and Nous. A recent version of my CV can be found here. In the past I've managed to get my reports in on time and have given what I think are pretty good comments. If anyone has any bright ideas about how to get the attentions of editors in need of referees, leave a comment. I was thinking that we might be able to start some sort of webpage/wiki for folks to volunteer their time to referee. If someone with initiative and web savvy wants to do that, that would be peachy.

Changing topic, I wanted to let readers know about Philosopher's Digest. It aims to give reviews of new articles. Reviewers look for pieces that they find interesting and write up a short review. Readers can comment and I think it might be a really nice place for philosophical discussion. At present, there are only a few reviews available. New reviews should be available soon. John Milliken, Ben Dyer, and Galen Foresman serve as PD's editors and I think they've created something really wonderful.


Joe U. said...


(1) I think your idea about a wiki page for people to volunteer time for refereeing is a good idea.

I'm now the deputy editor for a journal, and much of my time will be consumed by finding competent referees for submitted manuscripts.

If I had a wiki page to check for people willing to review, I think the review process would be shortened slightly. (Of course that might be a slight overestimation of a wiki's effect, but you never know.)

Great suggestion! I wish I knew how to set up a wiki page to do it.

(2) Thanks for the Philosopher's Digest citation.

(3) You'll probably be hearing from me soon wrt refereeing a paper. :)

Robert said...

Don't worry. You'll get more than your share, soon enough.

Leo Iacono said...

It seems to me that when it comes to refereeing papers, we have one of those rare situations where we have two problems, each of which is the solution to the other. One problem is that most journals take too long to render decisions. This problem would be greatly alleviated if there were more available referees who were able to return reports in a timely manner. The second problem is that there are lots of smart people with PhDs who don't get asked to referee, but who would like to, if only to put something in the "service to the profession" category of their c.v.'s. The reason these people don't get called on, I assume, is that who gets asked to referee largely depends on who they know. I'm quite sure I would do a good job refereeing a paper in one of the areas that I work in, but nobody has ever asked (sniff). So if there were a kind of matchmaker service pairing prospective (and qualified) referees with papers in need of review, it seems that both problems would be drastically ameliorated.