Australasian Journal of Philosophy

Editorial Policy and Procedures

Editorial Policy

Scope and Approach

The Australasian Journal of Philosophy aims to publish original contributions of high quality and broad interest in any area of philosophy and its history. The current balance of the Journal's contents is not prescriptive.

In the first issue of the Journal, the then-editor wrote

The Journal will not be the organ of any particular school of philosophical thought. It will not be made the vehicle for any kind of propaganda. It will not scorn the old fogey in Philosophy, or disdain the new faddist, although it may criticise both. (Francis Anderson, ‘From the Editor’s Chair’, AJP 1(1): 59)

This ecumenical approach to the topics covered in the Journal continues to the present day. Nevertheless the Journal has long been associated with a particular methodological approach to philosophical argument that continues to be exemplified within its pages and desired by its readers, and we are mindful of this tradition in our editorial judgments.

The Journal is edited in Australasia, and its editorial team and board are drawn substantially from Australasian philosophers and the Australasian philosophy diaspora. But the journal is proud of its international standing and aims to publish high quality philosophy from philosophers around the world. The Journal is committed to implementing the Barcelona Principles for a Globally Inclusive Philosophy.

Unsolicited Contributions

The Journal welcomes unsolicited contributions of two types: Articles and Discussion Notes. These differ in their aims and length, detailed below.

The Journal considers all unsolicited manuscripts on the strict condition that they have not been published in whole or substantial part already, and that they are not under consideration for publication or in press elsewhere. We are willing to consider manuscripts that have been posted to a preprint server, such as PhilArchive or PhilSci-Archive. Please note, however, that in our attempts to minimise bias and favouritism in our refereeing process, we attempt to ensure the mutual anonymity of authors and referees, as described in our Editorial Procedures. Referees are instructed not to attempt to identify authors, but a diligent referee who keeps up to date on the preprints in their field may inadvertently deanonymise the review process. This may or may not be to the advantage of the author. Authors are urged to bear this in mind when considering whether to post preprints before submission. (The Journal encourages authors of accepted submissions to post preprints to appropriate servers, in line with guidelines provided by our publisher.)

The word counts mentioned in these policies are must be genuine counts of words, exclusive of any formatting codes. Attempts to obscure the true word count will be frowned upon. Word counts include footnotes and bibliography: basically, anything that must be copy-edited and typeset must be counted.

The journal welcomes submissions of original philosophical articles in all areas of philosophy, including the history of philosophy. Articles should aim to advance philosophical knowledge and understanding.

Articles should develop a relatively independent line of argument, even if theybuild on a particular philosophical or methodological tradition.Accordingly, the Journal will not consider unsolicited articles which are, in effect, a kind of ‘Critical Notice’ of a single author—a single non-GREAT author. (Aristotle, Plato, etc.: yes. Even the most prominent contemporary philosopher: no.) Obviously there is room for disagreement on how this criterion applies, but the editor's verdict on such matters will be final.

Articles must be at least 4500 words long, and they are also normally no longer than 8,000 words (in each case, including notes, abstract, acknowledgements, and references). Longer pieces of exceptional significance will be considered, up to a maximum length of 15,000 words (including notes, abstract, acknowledgements, and references). Please note the following points, however.

  • We want the things we publish to be read. In many cases, shorter papers are more effective and their ideas more readily disseminated. The Journal does not want to prohibit ambitious papers that might take a considerable time to develop their argument, but we hope that by encouraging authors to aim at concision, the Journal will foster uptake and engagement with the articles it publishes.
  • Once a paper is longer than 8,000 words the standard required for acceptance rises; and it continues doing so, the longer the paper is beyond that norm of 8000 words. So, for example, a 10,000 word paper needs to be better than an 8000 word paper, all else being equal, if it is to be accepted by AJP—indeed, if it is even to receive an invitation to revise and resubmit. A 12,000 word paper needs to be even better still. And so on, in that vein.
  • A paper’s being longer than 8000 words long will not prevent its being considered, unless we believe that it is needlessly much longer than 8000 words. The longer the paper, the greater the chance we might regard its length as inessential. In that event, either we will reject the paper without seeking a referee’s report, or we will ask the author(s) to shorten and resubmit the paper before it can be sent to a referee.
  • We acknowledge that some topics tend to require longer submissions. For example, papers in the history of philosophy often require extensive quotation of primary sources to support their arguments; papers in a more mathematical vein might involve proofs to establish the main results; and papers reporting experimental work might need to detail the experimental results and methods. We are generally willing to be tolerant of papers with these special requirements in going to some extent over our target word limits. Note however that this provides no blanket exemption from our word limits, and that where possible such additional material as is needed should be relegated to appendices to preserve the argumentative flow of the main paper.
  • Apart from Discussion Notes described below, the Journal will not consider extremely short papers (for example, of the kind or length published by Analysis and Thought). The minimum length for an Article is 4500 words (including abstract, notes, and references).
  • Our word limits reflect in part the costs to the editorial office of copyediting and production of accepted manuscripts.
Discussion Notes

Discussion Notes are at most 3000 words long (including notes, abstract, acknowledgements, and references). There is no lower bound on the length of Discussion Notes, but we would expect that it would be rare for a discussion to satisfactorily deal with an argument developed in a full-length article in under 1000 words. They must engage with and/or respond to articles recently published in the Journal (generally, within the last 3 years). The Journal will not consider Discussion Notes whose primary focus is the criticism of papers not previously and recently published in the Journal. (Discussion Notes of papers published elsewhere might be suitable for Philosophical Exchange.)

Limits on Unsolicited Submissions
  • The Journal will not consider more than one submission at the same time by a given author (including when the author is a co-author or not the corresponding author). Authors must note that, if they have received a 'revise-and-resubmit' verdict from the Editor on one paper, then that paper, for the Journal's purposes, counts as still under consideration until the notified period for resubmission has run out. If an author wishes to submit a new paper after having received a 'revise-and-resubmit' verdict and before the resubmission period has passed, the earlier paper must be formally withdrawn before the newer one will be considered.
  • The Journal will not consider more than two submissions from any one author in any given twelve-month period. This limit includes co-authored papers, but excludes revisions. The journal considers a paper to have been under consideration if it has been given an editorial verdict, rather than a merely administrative verdict.
  • The Journal will not consider revised versions of previously rejected papers, unless the previous paper had been given an explicit verdict of ‘reject with the possibility of resubmission’. The verdict of the editor on whether a submission is a revision of a previously rejected paper or a new paper is final.
  • The Journal will not consider proposals for special issues devoted to conference (including workshop) proceedings. (This does not preclude the Journal's publication of occasional special issues based on calls for papers.)
    • The Journal has in the past been willing to consider submissions from organizers of symposia (of, say, two or three closely-related papers, to be reviewed en bloc and with referees asked to comment on the merits both of individual papers and of the symposium as a whole). However the pressure of submissions now precludes our considering such submissions.

Solicited Contributions

  • The Journal will solicit (invite) contributions of three types: Critical Notices, Book Reviews, and Book Notes (brief reviews).
    • Sometimes an Editor or Associate Editor of tjhe Journal may suggest that an author may consider submitting an article or discussion note to the Journal. This is not sufficient to make this a solicited contribution: all manuscripts submitted as Articles or Discussion Notes are treated as Unsolicited Contributions and double-anonymously refereed in accordance with the Editorial Procedures.
  • A Review Editor will normally initiate the review process, but individuals are welcome to make contact with the Journal so as to nominate themselves as reviewers. No book reviews, book notes, or critical notices are to be submitted without a prior invitation from a Review Editor.

  • There is no guarantee of review of any given book, even if a copy is supplied. While we review books from all over the world, we make a special effort (although we do not promise) to cover books authored or edited by philosophers resident in Australasia. Decisions about reviews are made by the Editor on advice from the Review Editors. Every effort is made by Review Editors to secure qualified and expert reviewers for any book.
  • Book Reviews are to be between 1500 and 1800 words; Book Notes are to be no longer than 400 words. Neither Book Reviews nor Book Notes may include notes. Sometimes, a short bibliography is needed in a Book Review but never in a Book Note. (If a citation is needed within an AJP Book Note—a combination that is, we stress, rare—the details must appear in the body of the Note.) Book Reviews and Book Notes are to be submitted in an editable format, not as a pdf.
  • Reviews and Book Notes will not be externally refereed, but a Review Editor or Editor may require or suggest changes to a Book Review or Book Note before it is to be published.
  • Critical Notices will be of important works in philosophy. They will not normally exceed 5,000 words (including notes and bibliography). Critical notices are sent for anonymous review, though this review is to elicit comments, not to request a recommendation on publication.
  • The final decision on publication of a solicited review rests with the Editor on advice from the Review Editors, and we may decide not to proceed with publication of a review which is at variance with disciplinary norms concerning reviews. In particular, while highly critical reviews are sometimes necessary, the Journal will not publish reviews which are abusive or demeaning.

Feedback to Authors

While there can be no guarantee which applies to every individual case, it is editorial policy to provide authors with timely decisions and helpful comments. Our team of referees often provide invaluable advice to help authors in improving their thoughts and their manner of communicating them, and we are grateful to referees for their efforts in this regard.

The pressure of submissions is now such that a significant number of manuscripts are rejected after initial consideration by the editorial team without being sent to referees. In this sort of case comments are often brief, and limited to indicating a key weakness of the submission. It is hoped the quick turnaround compensates authors for less detailed comments.

Publication Priorities

The Editor decides the order of appearance of accepted submissions. Priority may be given to Discussion Notes. In these cases, authors of the materials being commented on might be offered a right of reply (subject to the usual refereeing), on the understanding that timely publication of the Note will take priority over the desirability of including both Note and Reply in the same issue of the Journal.

Language and Inclusion

The Journal takes its position as an international journal seriously. The language of the Journal is English, the lingua franca of scholarly communication. In the central loci of philosophical activity in Australasia (Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore), English is also the common language of communication – the principal linguistic marker of the impacts of colonialism on the region. But Australasia also exemplifies a rich formal and informal linguistic diversity, often surviving from the pre-colonial period: te reo Māorii in New Zealand, the official role of Malay (and Tamil and Mandarin) in Singapore, and the more than 250 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

The Journal is thus proud to associate itself with the Barcelona Principles for a Globally Inclusive Philosophy. We recognise the need for a common language of philosophical communication, but we are very mindful of the exclusionary effects of requiring first-language speaker levels of fluency in English as a precondition to publish in the journal. (This ought to be particularly sharply felt in Australia, where a ‘dictation test’ was used for many years to suppress non-white migration.)

In practice, the Journal implements the principles by aiming to evaluate submissions without giving undue weight to linguistic style or fluency. Referees are asked to comment on whether a submission is well-structured and if the ideas are clearly expressed, but are explicitly invited to set aside concerns about minor infelicities and unidiomatic expressions, and never to let such concerns be determinative of a verdict. The Journal is committed to supporting and working with all accepted authors to improve the clarity and effectiveness of their written expression. The Journal editorial office actively copyedits all accepted submissions, and many minor grammatical and stylistic issues are addressed at that stage.

The Journal is not able to implement some of the other principles as effectively. We remain committed to our regional identity, which is today principally expressed through the composition of our editorial team and editorial board rather than in the origins of accepted articles, which are thoroughly international. That limits the scope of our attempts to increase linguistic diversity in the editorial team, though perhaps a quarter of our Associate Editors have English as an additional language. And our publication system remains extremely limited in the demographic information it collects, which means we cannot at this stage track submissions by ‘native speaker’ status.

Editorial Procedures

The Evaluation of Submissions

The AJP prides itself on a thorough, professional, and ethical refereeing process. All submissions are evaluated on their merits, and members of the editorial team strive to demonstrate high standards of honesty and integrity in selecting high quality work of general philosophical interest for publication in the journal. We expect referees to carry out their duties in a like manner.

To foster a fair and honest refereeing process, all Unsolicited Contributions to the AJP should be double-anonymised: neither the names nor institutional affiliations of authors are revealed to referees; likewise, referees remain anonymous to other referees and to the author in each particular case. Without the prior permission of the Editor, referees will not show to other people material supplied to them for evaluation. All published submissions have been anonymously reviewed by at least two referees. On occasion, the editor may call upon the advice of Editorial Board members; in such cases, the above provisions pertaining to referees also apply to Editorial Board members.

The evaluation process has up to eight sequential stages, as follows:

  1. Initial review of the manuscript by the Editorial Assistant for compliance with minimum standards for submissions;
  2. Preliminary vetting by the Editor, and assignment of an Associate Editor;
  3. Initial evaluation by an Associate Editor, and selection of potential referees;
  4. Initial referee evaluation;
  5. Scrutiny of submission and initial referee report by a member of the Editorial Team;
  6. Second referee evaluation;
  7. Recommendation by Associate Editor on the basis of reports and their own evaluation of the submission. Subsequent referee reports may be sought at this stage, including the opinion of Editorial Board members
  8. Final decision by the Editor, and communication of verdict to author.

A paper may be rejected, or returned to the corresponding author for revision, at any stage in this process. Successful completion of each stage will lead to the next. The Editor reserves the right not to proceed with publication of conditionally accepted submissions where the author does not supply a final version conforming to Journal style.

Authors should note that positive referees' reports are a necessary but not sufficient condition for acceptance. The standard of submissions is high, and we do not have space to publish all of the competent papers we receive. Final decisions about acceptance will be taken by the Editor. In reaching a decision, the editor may consider the balance of topics in the journal, patterns in the overall body of submissions, the accessibility and novelty of a submission, and the broader interests of the Journal.

The journal supplies guidance to referees that may also be of interest to authors.

Indicative Acceptance Rates

In recent years the Journal has been publishing only about 7–10% of papers submitted to it. About 60–70% of those submissions are rejected with one or fewer referee reports; about 20–25% of submissions are rejected on the basis of two or more referee reports. About 10–15% of submissions receive a verdict of (major or minor) revisions. The number of submissions that are accepted without a round of revisions is negligible. About 2/3 of manuscripts resubmitted after revision are eventually accepted. These figures are indicative and not updated in real time.

Since 2023, the Journal's contract with the publisher requires us to publish between 19–23 items per issue; we normally aim to publish about 12–15 articles and/or discussions (unsolicited contributions), and 6–8 book reviews or other invited contributions per issue. We receive more than 700 unsolicited submissions per year.

Conflicts of Interest

The Journal's software prevents any person from input to, or even observation of, assessments or decisions concerning their own submissions.

The Editor will not submit Articles or be commissioned to write Critical Notices during their term of office. (They may submit replies to Articles or Discussion Notes which involve their work. In this case, they will not participate in the process of assessment, and an Associate Editor or member of the Editorial Board will serve as Proxy Editor throughout the process.) Members of the Editorial Team may be commissioned to do a maximum of two Reviews and/or Book Notes each per annum.

If an Associate Editor or member of the Editorial Board submits an Article, a Discussion Note, or is commissioned to write a Critical Notice, then they will not be involved, in any way, in the assessment process. The Editor will not participate in the evaluation of material submitted by a close colleague, joint grant holder, former student, etc.

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