Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy Online

by Harry on April 15, 2005

As far as I know the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy is the first online journal in moral philosophy. The first issue has interesting-looking contributions by Raz, Gideon Yaffe, and John Brunero. The team has obviously put a lot of work into providing authors with the assurance that this is as permanent as paper. In the editorial policy they say:

The Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy website has been designed by the Annenberg Center at the University of Southern California and is maintained by the Center for the indefinite future. The website is guaranteed by a double back-up system, and it is designed to accommodate future upgrades and modifications. The journal is fully committed to maintaining the website and its entire database for the indefinite future and has taken every possible measure to that effect.

This is a pretty good guarantee, and authors may find the idea of having their work completely available instantly to anyone with a modem very appealing.



Simstim 04.15.05 at 10:11 am

How important is permanency anyway? Aside from intellectual historians, who’s going to want to look up an issue say 150 years from now. Anything worth saving would have been reprinted anyway. The oldest thing I’ve ever looked up on paper was Carroll’s “What the Tortoise Said to Achilles” in the 1895 volume of Mind, and I very much doubt that’s the only place it exists.


djw 04.15.05 at 12:02 pm

Permanency is great, but what really excites me is this:

The Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy does not require exclusivity in submission for review. However, if you have submitted your article to another journal, we do require that you let us know about it, and notify us without any delay about other journals’ decisions about your article.

About time.


Matt 04.15.05 at 12:48 pm

I found the bit about multiple submissions interesting, too. My guess is that right now it’s primarily designed to help get submissions from law professors and others would submit to law reviews, since it won’t matter much with philosophy journals since they all (as far as I know) require exclusive submissions. I think that the reasons for the difference between law reviews and philosophy journals for this policy are not without merit, so I’ll be interested to see what ends up happening here.


djw 04.15.05 at 8:52 pm

Yeah, as long as there are no other philosophy/political theory journals that allow multiple submissions, it’s not much good to a lot of us. Still, a step in the right direction…


Neil 04.15.05 at 10:52 pm

Well, I doubt its ethical, but it seems to me that with JESP’s help, it possible to have multiple submissions without breaking any explicit rules. Most journals ask you to declare that the paper isn’t under submission elsewhere at the time of initial submission. They don’t ask you to withdraw it if it is later submitted elsewhere. My guess is that they think the situation can’t arise, because all journals have the same requirement, meaning that if you were later to submit it to another journal, you would have to withdraw the paper (or lie). But it seems that it is now possible to submit a paper to a journal, affirming that it is not under submission elsewhere, and then submit it to JESP. Indeed, I wonder if that isn’t what the journal editors envisage: they ask that you notify them without delay of other journals’ decisions regarding any paper submitted to them. So it is possible to submit to JESP, and withdraw the paper if it is accepted elsewhere. You’re only pissing off JESP if you do it this way, and they’re giving you permission.

This would work best if you submitted to JESP and some other journal which is (even) higher quality – say Ethics. In that case, you would withdraw the paper from JESP if it is accepted elsewhere, but not vice-versa (on the assumption that JESP will allow you to wait until a rejection from Ethics before you accept an acceptance – as it were – from them).

Is this ethical? Is it practical?


Harry 04.16.05 at 7:00 pm

I was curious about Neil’s question, so I asked the editor: their acceptance lapses after 10 days, so you would have a very narrow window in which to hope for a better acceptance. It would, I think, be unethical to do as Neil suggests, but ethicists are, of course, very clever about these kinds of thing.


Neil 04.16.05 at 7:57 pm

I’m not certain about the ethics of the idea (which, I hasten to add, I have no intention of acting upon). If more journals turned papers around in the 6-8 weeks that JESP promises, than there wouldn’t be a need for this kind of action. As someone who has 2 papers under submission with journals that have, so far, taken longer than 3 years to make a final decision, I won’t condemn anyone for wasting *journals’* time.

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