Publishing in special issues of lower-ranked journals, or not all?




In our October “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:

If you have an article/paper/chapter that you are never going to publish elsewhere, is it better to publish it in a special issue of a lower-ranking journal than not publishing it at all? I’ve heard mixed advice on this.

For context, I’m thinking of special issues of journals most people haven’t heard of, but that semi well-known philosophers have published in, or will also be publishing in in the special issue.

I’m thinking well-known philosophers being in the special issue (or in previous issues) kind of “legitimizes” the journal, but when looking at a CV, you don’t get to see that, which can potentially be seen as a negative by search committees.

This question is also applicable to “non-elite” edited books (e.g., not Cambridge Companions).

This is a good question. My attitude on this is: if you think it’s good work, publish it. There are several reasons why I think this:

Empirical evidence suggests that search committees actually look favorably on a CV with ‘weak’ publications, provided the candidate also has good publications. 
My own informal data collection on the job market years ago coheres with this, as did my own experience as a job candidate–particularly for jobs at ‘teaching schools’, which in my experience care far less about where you publish and more about how consistently you do. In fact, nothing in my experience as a job candidate or thereafter supported the advice that I too was given in grad school to “avoid publishing in bad journals.” The more publications in lower-ranked journals I got, the more interviews I got. They also helped me to get tenure, and since getting tenure, I’ve been able to publish more consistently in better journals.
In addition to probably helping rather than hurting job candidates, publishing in lower-ranked journals can build confidence. They certainly did for me. It feels good to get work out there rather than have one’s hard work stuck unpublished in a computer folder.
Recent evidence suggests that articles in lower-ranked journals are cited quite a bit, which can only help on the market and in a tenure and/or promotion case. Here again, this coheres with my experience. Some of my most-cited work is in lower-ranked journals.
It’s your damn work! If you think it’s good, get it out there. If it is good, then good, openminded philosophers will notice and not care about where it’s published. 🙂

But, of course, these are just my thoughts. What are yours?

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More