Helen De Cruz posted the following query to Facebook, and I told her I would share it here:
Would there be a potential niche for a specialist x-phi journal? There’s enough momentum – definitely x-phi should still be published in mainstream journals but then, say, philosophers of biology have benefited very much from a journal such as Biology and Philosophy. I see it as follows:
- I think it is a no-brainer that it should be open-access, perhaps along the model of Phil Imprint, with a small submission fee which can be waived for underemployed/unemployed philosophers.
- Authors would be encouraged – but not required given the difficulty with some kinds of research, such as qualitative interviews on sensitive issues, to submit their paper along with a link to the raw data – properly anonymised etc, and ethics approved that would be put on a server such as Github. That would set a good standard for replicability and would increase our knowledge base considerably.
- The board would of course be populated with excellent experimental philosophers, preferably with a broad reach (ethics, epistemology, meta-philosophy, etc).
- Ideally, the journal should be hosted by a wealthy university that can give a long-term commitment to online hosting, etc.
What do people think? (I realize people may have already such a journal in the works, or heaven forbid, there is one I do not know about, or people have already discussed this and dismissed as unviable)
My sense is that the biggest barriers to doing this arise from the costs of hosting and indexing, plus paying for assistance with typesetting and handling referees, and that without doing these things in a first-rate way — along the lines of what’s been done at Ergo and Philosophers’ Imprint — it would be hard for the journal to have enough prestige. There are other models, e.g. the one adopted by the arXiv, that could be far less expensive, but harder to gain prestige for.
We’d be happy to hear other thoughts, questions, suggestions, etc. in the comments.