The poll is now closed, after 925 votes (there were only a dozen or so votes each of the last two days, so I think the poll has exhausted itself at this point).
71% of the 925 respondents report that their opinion of Synthese under the current editorship is now lower because of this scandal, a pretty dramatic result. 39%, or 359 philosophers, report that they are either less likely to submit to or referee for Synthese now or certain that they will not do so; 185 philosophers, or 20% of the total number of respondents, report that they are in the latter camp.
Are these numbers representative of philosophers at large? Probably not, even though this blog is quite widely read. But one suspects that those with the strongest interest in this matter--both the supporters of the EICs and the critics--probably voted disproportionately. (There were a relatively large number of votes, for example, from IP addresses in two relatively small Northern European countries with strong connections to Synthese.) If that's right, then there are probably a goodly number of philosophers with no opinion either way. Even if there were only 185 philosophers who were now going to boycott Synthese, that will still have a significant impact for the obvious reasons: what journal could survive unscathed the loss of 185 potential contributors and referees? (Recall that the poll distinguished between those who had a lower opinion of Synthese but who don't contribute to it and those who do.) And, of course, some number of the 174 who declare themselves "likely" to stop submitting and refereeing will presumably do so as well. Even if we assume that fewer than 39% of all the philosophers in the Synthese community feel similarly, the numbers are going to be substantial, and some decline in quality is inevitable.
Now for reasons Eric Schliesser (Ghent) pointed out, Synthese will fare better with its European contributors, meaning more of the loss of contributors will come from the Anglophone philosophical community. But if that happens, the international profile of the journal will recede and, at some point, that will even affect the ESF rating of the journal. Of course, time will tell whether or not those committed to a boycott maintain their resolve for long enough. I hope they will (though, of course, I hope even more that Synthese or Springer will rectify the situation long before that time).
A number of philosophers who have already begun boycotting (withdrawing papers and/or declining to referee) have communicated that fact to me, but some of them prefer to do so privately, rather than in public. At this point, therefore, I am leaning against asking boycotters to sign a petition to that effect, though I'm happy to hear from boycotters who think it a better strategy to go public.
Here are the full results from the 925 votes cast over the last five days:
|How has the controversy surrounding the special issue of Synthese on "Evolution and Its Rivals" affected your view of the journal under its current editorship?