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07 July 2011


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Maria Carla Galavotti

Just a brief comment on the queries raised regarding ERIH and my own behaviour in that connection: (1) the updating of the ERIH lists was done in obedience of the ESF rules about conflict of interest, which means that I abstained from taking part in the discussion regarding Erkenntnis, and Stadler did the same when the discussion regarded the IVCYB. (2) Erkenntnis was ranked A in the ERIH initial lists by both the HPS and the Philosophy panel. During the updating process, the Philosophy panel decided to promote other journals into the first category (which was renamed INT1 instead of A) and to downgrade Erkenntnis to INT2 (formerly category B); while the PS panel, working totally independently, decided to confirm the former evaluation. There is nothing strange in the fact that the same journal is ranked differently by different panels: in the case of Erkenntnis it just means that it fares better in philosophy of science than in general philosophy. Not surprisingly, I suppose. (3) If there are people who think that the ERIH PS panel is not representative, they should raise this topic with the ESF, more particularly with the ERIH Steering Committee. I myself have tried to have a stronger panel including more people, but the ESF did not accept my proposal in that connection.

Let me just add that in my capacity of Chair of the PS panel I have done my best to do a fair job, and I find very encouraging the extremely positive feedback that I received from very many people.

As to my own presence in the panel, I can only reply to those who apparently think that it might be due to my "connections", that they should also consider the possibility that it is due to my CV, which includes more than 150 publications and an intense research activity, much of which is devoted to the promotion of philosophy of science in Europe.

Eric Schliesser

I thank Prof. Galavotti for her quick and detailed response!

1. Nobody implies that the three members of the philosophy of science panel are not distinguished philosophers. (Recall Steven French's comments here.)

2. The ERIH Steering Committee has been VERY unresponsive to earlier protests (by leading journal editors in History and Philosophy of Science and leading scholarly communities, including the British Academy.)

3. The sub-panels in philosophy have a history of NOT responding to criticism and for lacking transparency.

4.I find it discouraging that rather than responding with detailed account of the metrics and criteria her panel used, Prof. Galavotti says, in effect, 'trust us.'

Perhaps others have a different opinion?

Catarina Dutilh Novaes

I guess what we all really want to know is what criteria were used to decide whether a journal is A or B etc. -- or INT1 and INT2 etc. in their new names (Eric's point 4). Even if not in any way suggesting that the panel members acted in ways that could be characterized as 'bad faith' (e.g. favoring the journals they are themselves associated with), I should hope that the criteria would consist in more than simply their subjective judgment on the quality of a journal. We all know how hard it is to 'quantify' such things (the usual candidates such as impact factor can also be criticized on several grounds), but at least it should be clear what the methodology is.

Thom Brooks

How did the ESF select this panel? Why so small?

Eric Schliesser

This diagram answers all.

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