On January 13th 2012, a workshop took place in London bringing together the editors of some of the most prestigious philosophy journals as well as others involved in philosophy publishing (such as the area editors for CUP and OUP, among others). Podcasts of the talks and discussions have been made available here, and should be of interest to the NewAPPS readership at large.
One of talks (and accompanying Q&A session) has been quite extensively discussed since yesterday on Facebook and at a post over at the Feminist Philosophers. Thomas Baldwin, the editor of Mind, makes some statements concerning the ratio of women publishing in Mind which are worrisome, to say the least. Here are some passages (more passages transcribed here, courtesy of Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa).
[Mind gets] slightly more than 500 submissions a year. We publish about 33-35 papers or articles. Some of them are solicited, because they’re either critical notices or they’re responses by authors whose earlier paper has attracted critical discussions. So even of the 33-35 published papers most years, only about 30 in fact are unsolicited submissions. So 30 over 500 … that gets you to about 6%. …
And the sheet that’s gone round … also has the male/female ratio [of submissions to Mind]. And you will see that we have about 10% — I mean I put that in because the Society of women philosophers [he probably means the Society for Women in Philosophy] is very twitchy about the fact — the thought — that women are a little perhaps underrepresented in the profession and the thought might be that journals like mine perhaps discriminate against them or at any rate raise problems, and you know, I’m pleased to say that it turns out in a way not to be true. 10% of our submissions are from women, but if you look at the acceptance rate which is the row one up from the bottom the acceptance rate in 2010 for F for women is higher than that for M for men. So I think women are doing quite well in terms of their ratio of… well, in terms of their getting material published in Mind.
Later on, when questioned about the perception that Mind is an in-crowd journal.
I think there are plenty of younger women who have entered the profession in the last ten years who are just as punchy, if I can put it like that, as the young men who entered. I think it’ll change.
'Twitchy' and 'punchy', I see… Perhaps not the most felicitous terms to describe your colleagues. It seems that he intended ‘punchy’ to be a compliment, but it is somewhat disheartening to hear that a woman has to be ‘punchy’ (as her male colleagues) to publish in Mind. Perhaps even more offensively, the implication seems to be that the (older) women who were/are not publishing in Mind only have their lack of punchiness to blame.
Mind has a long history of problematic refereeing procedures (takes too long, short/unsubstantial reports etc.), and recently it came to light that it does not systematically forward referees’ reports to authors. While Thomas Baldwin claims to have worked substantially to redress the long turnover problem and has recently responded positively to requests for more transparency, it would seem that inclusion of under-represented groups is still not very high on his agenda. (In fact, he says in all words: “I’m very unwilling to engage in a kind of affirmative action in this area”. That’s his right, of course, not to be sympathetic to the idea of affirmative action.)
(I realize that writing this post probably makes my chances of ever publishing in Mind drop from 0,01 to 0,0001 -- twitchy and punchy, but in the wrong way. Actually, to be fair I've recently been asked to write a book review for Mind, which I am very happy about.)
UPDATE: My joke in the parenthesis just above is admittedly unfair; it suggests not only that Mind does not practice anonymous editing, contrary to Baldwin's own statement, but also that the editors might be inclined to retaliate. Apologies.