MOVING TO THE FRONT FROM MAY 18 GIVEN THE LIVELY AND INFORMATIVE DISCUSSION
This week I've gotten questions from three different graduate students (not here at Chicago) related to publications, so I thought I'd bundle them for discussion. Here they are:
(1) I am a doctoral student in a top-25 ranked program and it has been made extremely clear to us grads that publications are one of the strongest predictors of job market success. Recently, I have written several very short papers (around 1,000 words) that I am proud of. I think it would be a waste of space to flesh them out to a standard article length, but I have also been told there are several journals that will publish short "notes" in these cases. However, it's been hard for me to find a list of such journals in my area (besides, say, Analysis). I'm interested in journals that would publish notes in history, religion, and ethics, although I'm sure your readers would also be interested in publishing notes in other fields. Is there any chance you could create an open thread to solicit recommendations from the brain trust for journals that publish shorter papers?
(2) Recently I have received conflicting advice on best strategies for publishing papers as a PhD student if one plans to seek academic employment. On the one hand, I have been told that having one or two strong full-length publications in good journals is better than having the same plus one of two solid, but shorter and less exciting, reply pieces. On the other hand, I have also been told that additional reply pieces will only add value. I (and I expect others) would be interested to hear what your readers think about this issue in particular, and the broader issue of just what publishing strategies are optimal for graduate students (e.g. is it better to try to get multiple good, but not great, articles out there, or is it better to try for one standout piece?)
(3) I hope that you might publish my question anonymously on your blog. I am wondering how wise it is for graduate students to submit to new journals? I was particularly curious about Thought. The editorial board is impressive and a journal that competes with Analysis is long overdue, but I fear that submitting here will be at best a wasted paper and meaningless line on my CV, and at worst a wasted paper and a stain on my CV.
On (1), I'm not sure, but hopefully readers will have ideas. On (2), I have a few thoughts: first, don't spend time on publications that could be spent on the dissertation; second, publications generally help the vast majority of candidates for the vast majority of jobs; third, a reply piece in J.Phil., say, is, all else being equal, going to be worth more than a full-length article in a relatively weak journal; fourth, when things aren't equal, go with the real article, not the reply piece. On (3), one certainly gets more mileage out of publishing in established fora over new ones, but a journal that has a distinguished editorial board is likely to get off the ground quickly--Philosopher's Imprint, for example, in a decade has managed to crack roughly the "top ten" in the polls we've run here in the past. The distinguished editorial board helped bring in high-quality contributions, and those in turn have turned the journal into a desirable place to publish for both junior and senior scholars. PI, to be sure, had two advantages: being on-line, thus guaranteeing wide visibility for its publications, and also publishing across a wide range of sub-fields, including history. Thought enters a field already overloaded with journals publishing in what appear to be its main areas, though as I understand it much or all of the content will be free on-line initially.
Comments welcome--faculty must sign their name, students may post anonymous, but have to include a valid e-mail address (which will not appear).