Waiting for months to get a desk rejection or a couple of brief and dismissive comments is frustrating, especially for job market candidates and early career faculty who have much riding on getting published quickly. To help ancient philosophy scholars considering which journals to submit to, I thought it would be good to highlight what recent public surveys submitted to the APA Journal Surveys project indicate about the editorial experience at journals that specialize in ancient philosophy and the history of philosophy. I am not including generalist journals that also publish some articles in ancient philosophy, both because there are a large number of these and because the survey aggregates may diverge from the experience of those submitting ancient philosophy papers (there’s no way to filter experiences based on topic).
First, a couple of caveats: 1) many ancient philosophy journals from my journals listing are not included because they have no submitted surveys 2) even for those that are represented, there are a limited number of data points, especially for some journals (e.g. Classical Quarterly) and 3) we do not know how representative those submitting entries are in comparison to all authors submitting papers to these journals. However, the reported response times and comments numbers do closely track publicly available data where available (for example, with the Journal of the History of Philosophy and the British Journal for the History of Philosophy). These statistics also fit with the experiences that I have heard from others in the ancient philosophy community. They will also hopefully get more accurate as more people submit to the APA Journal Surveys project, and I will revisit this topic as the data warrants. Also, if you are part of the editorial staff at one of these journals and think that the data about your journal is misleading, please contact me. I would be happy to share more complete information about submission statistics with readers.
JHP and BJHP, which are among the most transparent about their editorial practices, lead the way in editor experience scores. The APA journal surveys site asks respondents to rate the overall editorial experience from 1-5 and these two are the only ones with ratings in the 4.5-5 range, with JHP averaging 4.71 and BJHP averaging 4.6. Unsurprisingly, they also have some of the quickest turnaround times with BJHP averaging around 3 months and JHP averaging under 2 months. However, it’s also worth noting that JHP has the highest overall rating, even though at least 1/3 of the authors reporting were rejected without being sent out for review (usually within less than a month). Authors don’t seem to mind desk rejections if they’re really quick and allow them to move on to the next journal. The other two journals that did well on editorial experience, with scores in the 4-4.5 range, are Classical Quarterly and Phronesis with 4.33 and 4.05 respectively. These journals are also among the quickest, with Phronesis averaging a little over 2 months and Classical Quarterly under 4 months.
At the other end, the two journals with overall editorial experience scores under 3 are Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy and Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science. Time under review had a big influence here too. These two were the slowest of all the journals considered, with average time to decision of almost 8 months (OSAP) and 8.5 months (Apeiron). A large number of submissions also had to wait even longer, with 9 of the 15 reported submissions at OSAP having to wait at least 8 months for a decision and 6 out of the 20 reported submissions to Apeiron taking a year or more to receive a decision. OSAP‘s low score was also affected by the fact that 3 of the 4 submissions that did not receive reviewer comments still had to wait for at least 6 months. Desk rejection with a long wait is the worst combination.
The chart below lists the relevant journal surveys statistics for all the ancient and history of philosophy journals with at least 4 reviews. Where a decent number of surveys were available I used surveys from 2015 on, since the most important thing for potential authors is the current editorial situation. Where there were not as many surveys available, I went back to 2011. The full spreadsheet with all the records assembled from the publicly available APA Journal Surveys data is available here.
|Journal name||Number of Surveys||Comment count||Comment quality||Editor experience||Response time
Geschichte der Philosophie
|British Journal for the
History of Philosophy
|Classical Quarterly||12||1.09||3.50||4.33||3.88||2011 on|
|History of Philosophy Quarterly||18||2.00||4.00||3.94||5.58||2015 on|
|Journal of the
History of Philosophy
|Oxford Studies in
Full disclosure: At the time of posting, I have personally submitted to, published at, and/or refereed for all of these journals except for Classical Quarterly. The basis for this post is not, however, my personal experiences, which do not always match the overall trends. For example, my last submission at Apeiron was looked at within two months and received excellent comments (leading to acceptance after revision and resubmission) and my last submission at OSAP got two sets of helpful comments within a reasonable timeframe (though it was rejected).