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Editorial

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 June 2015

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As a reader of the Journal of the American Philosophical Association, you might have wondered what measures are in place to ensure that submissions are evaluated impartially. The Journal deploys a ‘triply anonymous’ reviewing process. Editors handling papers do not know the identity of authors, nor do referees, and authors are not given referees’ names. And referees? Referees are selected on the basis of their expertise, with an eye toward the promotion of diversity to the extent possible.

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Editorial
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Copyright © American Philosophical Association 2015 

As a reader of the Journal of the American Philosophical Association, you might have wondered what measures are in place to ensure that submissions are evaluated impartially. The Journal deploys a ‘triply anonymous’ reviewing process. Editors handling papers do not know the identity of authors, nor do referees, and authors are not given referees’ names. And referees? Referees are selected on the basis of their expertise, with an eye toward the promotion of diversity to the extent possible.

But now a puzzle. Given our commitment to impartiality, what explains the fact that only three papers by women philosophers have appeared in our first two issues?

One answer is that, while the acceptance rate for women has been about the same as it is for men (around 10 percent), the ratio of men to women submitting papers is more than 6:1 (256:42 as of April 2015). These figures are in line with those of other nonspecialist journals, but they do not reflect the overall ratio of men to women philosophers as evidenced by APA membership (about 3:1). If women are submitting papers to journals at a much lower rate than men, it is less surprising that journals are publishing fewer papers by women.

But—another puzzle—why would the submission rate be lower for women than for men? One prominent philosopher suggested to the Editor—as she was being badgered for a paper—that women might be ‘victims of their own success’. Women are increasingly targeted by editors of anthologies intent on inclusiveness. Papers that once might have been submitted to journals are taking alternate routes to publication.

For now, this is no more than speculation, but it is worth pondering. If women and perhaps members of other underrepresented groups are indeed forsaking journals for anthologies, is this in their—and philosophy’s—best interest?

Whatever your views on this topic, we, the editorial team, welcome this chance to renew our call for submissions from all underrepresented groups and to reaffirm our commitment to evenhandedness and to serving the interests of the philosophical community worldwide.

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