In response to the earlier thread on publishing while in graduate school, a student at a PGR top 40 department wrote me as follows:
I’m likely to go on the job market in two years, and as such, I was particularly interested (and helped!) by your advice on publishing while in graduate school. I have a few papers that I hope to submit for publication within the next few months, but having read your advice, I now realize I ought to be more careful as to where I submit the papers.
I had hoped, especially given your interdisciplinary interests, that you might be able to add another discussion on the blog:
*How do philosophers view publications in journals outside of philosophy?*
This question is important for many graduate students who work at the intersection of philosophy of science and the special science in which they are interested. For me, given that some of my work is rather technical (and as result, seems more suited for journals in machine learning and artificial intelligence), I’d like to know whether my chances of employment in a philosophy department would be hurt by, say, having two squarely philosophical publications and one publication in a journal devoted to artificial intelligence, when I go on the job market.
One publication in an artificial intelligence or other special science journal combined with two in philosophy journals would not hurt you, I believe. It may even help you by enhancing your bona fide scientific/technical credentials. But if the ratios were reversed, or worse, if all your publications were in non-philosophy journals, then some people might raise their eyebrows.
Caveat 1: for present purposes, I think we may count even highly technical logic journals as among the philosophy journals. Philosophers seem to think that logic, including highly technical mathematical logic, is still a branch of philosophy.
Caveat 2: what I am saying applies only to publications derived from your graduate work in philosophy; if you publish in some other discipline based on work you did prior to or parallel to your graduate work in philosophy (e.g., while pursuing a MA in a special science), that should not hurt you at all.
In my experience, interdisciplinary reach is easy to praise but difficult to reward. If you publish in other disciplines, in principle everyone thinks you are great. In practice, however, your publications outside your discipline may fail to be counted towards your advancement within your discipline (hire, tenure, etc.). If you publish too much outside philosophy (or whatever your discipline is), you may even be suspected of not being a *real* philosopher (or whatever your discipline is). This seems to be even more true in the sciences than in philosophy.
A related example: when I went on the job market in 2003, a rumor got back to me that I was not perceived as a *real* philosopher of mind but more of a historian. This in spite of the fact that I had three publications in philosophy journals and none in history journals! (However, two of my three publications did have a somewhat historical theme, for somewhat accidental reasons, and my Ph.D. was from a History and Philosophy of Science department. Those were the likely sources of me being perceived as a historian.) This perception might have hurt my chances to get philosophy of mind jobs, which is what I was applying for. I am not complaining about my job market experience, where I turned out to be quite lucky and very satisfied with the outcome. The point is simply that these effects based on your early publications do seem to occur and may distort how people perceive you as a job candidate.
Can you do anything to offset these phenomena? Here are a few tips (as usual, these are not written in stone):
1. Aim for a healthy ratio of, say, 2 philosophy publications to each nonphilosophy publication.
2. Even if you have a somewhat “non-purely-philosophical” article, consider submitting it to a philosophy journal that is open to interdisciplinary research (many philosophy of science journals are like that) or to a logic journal before you submit it to a non-philosophy journal.
3. When you submit to non-philosophy journals or non-purely-philosophical journals, consider aiming for journals that are interdisciplinary or are known to publish philosophy articles (e.g., a philosopher of mind might consider a journal like Behavioral and Brain Sciences, although that would require having quite a spectacular article).
Who else has thoughts on this? How do philosophers examining job candidates view publications outside philosophy?