Scholarship | Philosophy Faculty Handbook | Kent State University

Scholarship

a.  Evidence of Scholarship

The Department recognizes the following six points when evaluating scholarship activities<>:Breadth and depth of knowledge and scholarship in the field

     ii.Clarity of extended research project

     iii.Use of appropriate methods and procedures

     iv.Effective use of resources

     v.Conveying scholarly contribution clearly

     vi.Significance of the activities and contributions

The Department recognizes that when evaluating scholarship activities:

     i.The activities mentioned will vary considerably across individuals.

     ii.The quality and merit of these activities should be assessed within the context of each faculty member’s area of scholarship.

     iii.The letter of offer will often provide clarity as to the specializations and concentrations of a particular faculty member’s scholarship.

b.     Scholarly Publications

Scholarly publications within the discipline of Philosophy differ as to the mode of publishing. Some Faculty publish single authored books and journal articles/book chapters; others publish exclusively in journals. These criteria apply to both traditional and purely electronic journals. The mode of publication is often determined or influenced by such factors as sub-fields, philosophical methods, and philosophical school or tradition.

It is understood that there is no generally accepted ranking of philosophical journals across the discipline. Rather, journals are often associated with a sub-field, or philosophical method, school or tradition. Nevertheless, not all journals are equal. The quality of a journal can be judged by a range of criteria including but not limited to: the number of submissions received annually, the percentage of submissions accepted, the extent to which a submission is reviewed by established senior scholars in the field, and the membership of the editorial board. In many sub-fields of philosophy, the journals which are a publishing arm of a national or international academic society which has standing as a Learned Society, and which undergo extensive blind review by established senior scholars exhibit one important means of determining scholarly excellence. In other sub-fields few if any top journals are associated with academic societies.

While journals that engage in blind review of submissions are generally to be preferred, it is understood that some top journals in some sub-fields publish only invited articles. It is also understood that some journals that engage in the more standard blind review of submissions may also publish special editions for which submissions are exclusively invited. Being invited to submit an article to a journal or to contribute a chapter for a book, or to serve as the journal’s special editions editor or as the book editor for a publisher is frequently an indicator that a scholar has achieved a substantial reputation in the specific field.

It is understood that the standard length of journal articles varies quite significantly by philosophical subfield. In some philosophical subfields, articles can be quite long and in other subfields strict word limit maximums are imposed. As such, it is never appropriate to simply count pages as a measure of a scholar’s output.

The time it takes from an article’s acceptance to its appearance in print (either in ink or electronic) may take up to two or three years depending on the journal. High quality journals like high quality book publishing houses rarely accept a work without some revisions for publication in response to the comments issued by the editor or external referees. Thus, quality scholarly publishers (of articles and books) normally tend to take longer than less competitive publishers.

It is a mark of the quality of a previously published article that it is selected for inclusion as a book chapter or anthology. In the long term, evidence regarding the quality of a scholarly publication may have more to do with the long term influence of the work upon the field or sub-field. A work which garners significant numbers of citation which employ or engage the work in the projects of subsequent scholars is a clear indication of the influence of the work in the field. It is understood that in many cases it can take as much as a decade for a scholar’s work to receive such influence. Further, the indexing of a work in research databases is an indication of the quality of a work. While many philosophical articles are included in the Philosopher’s Index, works in various philosophical sub-fields or that have inter-disciplinary appeal may be included in other disciplinary indexes.

The criteria for assessing the quality of published books must be assessed employing differentiated criteria. Single authored books published by an established university press is the gold standard by which humanities academic book publishing is assessed. Not all book publications are equal. And not all publishers are equal even within the ranks of University Presses. External blind review of the work by several established senior scholars at research universities in the field is a mark of excellence.

In terms of single authored academic published books in the humanities, the following stratification of quality of book publication serves as a guide for assessment:

     i.Tier One: established university academic presses are the highest standard. Often included within the first tier are academic presses which serve as the publishing arm of an established academic society. A few long established non-university academic publishing houses are tier one. The refereeing of the manuscript at a tier one academic press is conducted by established scholars in the specialization who are senior faculty at research universities. Further, if the manuscript is also considered for a series, a second level of review is often conducted by the top specialists who are senior established scholars at research universities in the sub-field or interdisciplinary area. Each of the levels of review can be intense and time consuming. It is usually the case that at tier one academic presses the review period for a manuscript may be considerably longer than the review period at tier two or tier three academic presses. A specialized “series” at a tier one academic publishing house adds additional value given the added levels of blind refereeing and review of the manuscript for publication in a series. 

     ii.Tier Two: In the second tier are less established university academic presses and non-university publishing houses (free standing or the publishing arm of an academic society) which publish academic works. A quality tier two publisher depends upon scholars external to the press who perform manuscript refereeing and blind review. The reviewers are often senior faculty at research universities, and four-year colleges and universities. Here as well, a specialized “series” adds value depending on the levels of additional blind refereeing and review of the manuscript for publication, and the reputation of the series. The review period for a manuscript at a tier two publishing houses is often times shorter than is customary at a tier one press.

     iii.Tier Three: A third tier publisher would be a commercial house which does all or at least most of its reviewing of a manuscript in-house. Often the review period for a manuscript is considerably less time than the reviews performed in tier one presses or in the better tier two presses. While tier three publishing institutions may present themselves as academic, their contribution to the field of study may be uneven and even at times questionable. Works published by the author, or which the author pays a press to publish are not considered as evidence of scholarship.

In terms of ranking presses, tier one presses are excellent. Tier two presses may rank from good to very good. Tier three presses may range from fair to good at best. A book in the first tier may have an immediate influence upon the field or may be a work which given the quality of review comes to be recognized in the years to follow or even a decade later as a major contribution to the field. In the humanities, a book is not equal to so many articles. Nor should one equate the total pages of a book to the same number of pages published in a collection of articles.

The significance of a scholarly book is often measured by who reviews the work positively and in which journal the review is published. Clearly the more prominent the venue the better, but all reviews are worth something. In the long term, citation of the work and significant discussion of the scholarship in subsequent academic publications by others count as evidence of influence and contribution. Other evidence that a work has made an important contribution may include the author receiving invitations to serve on national or international academic programs, serve as a reviewer of submissions for academic journals and presses, being elected or appointed to a position of leadership in an academic society, being invited to give a named lectureship, or serve in the review and assessment of ongoing work in one’s specialization if such application is appropriate to one’s work. The scheduling of a book for a second printing, reissuing, or second edition is a further testament to its significance and influence.

In countries other than the US, a higher percentage of tier one and tier two presses are not affiliated with universities, but are often independent, for-profit corporations which publish monographs, book series, and journals. This fact should be taken into consideration when evaluating the quality of articles, book chapters, and books published outside the US.

Scholarly translations are vitally important as a means for making important research available to a wider audience, both within and outside of the academic world. They require a deep understanding of the piece being translated, and of the broader field of inquiry of which that piece is a part. In the vast majority of cases, book translations which are published by tier one and tier two presses undergo the same blind review process as the book manuscript itself. Where scholars are invited to translate articles and book chapters, they are generally called on to do so not only because they are recognized as excellent translators but also as prominent scholars by senior academics in their area of specialization. In light of this, translations of previously published philosophical essays and book chapters should be accorded roughly equal weight as a publication in a journal of that quality would be given. A translation of a book, while not as significant an achievement as publishing a singly-authored book, is still a significant act of scholarship and should be weighted heavily when considering a faculty member's publication record.

A faculty member’s publication in a language other than English should, in all cases, be given at least equal weight to one appearing in a comparable journal, or with a comparable press, in English. Further, a candidate's demonstrated ability to compose and publish works in a language of which he or she is not a native speaker provides additional evidence of the candidate's competence as a scholar. A third party translation of a scholar’s work into another language is evidence of the significance and influence of the work.

c.   Scholarly Presentations

Scholarly recognition is evident when a faculty member is invited to give research presentations at national and international meetings of academic societies, at academic conferences and symposiums (often in relation to an academic institutional host such as a university), at universities and colleges as a special guest, as a guest of a professional organization, and by invitation to give a named lectureship at universities and academic societies.

Scholarly recognition is evident when a faculty member has a demonstrated record of refereed presentations at local, regional, national or international meetings of recognized academic societies.

d.   Other Scholarly Accomplishments

Scholarly recognitions from academic societies are often an indication that a faculty member’s scholarly work has achieved national if not international recognition. The documented evidence for such recognition may include, for example, election to office, editorial board membership, editorship, committee leadership or membership, section program chair, section steering committee membership, etc. Scholarly recognition may also come in the form of being recognized as a specialist by federal/state institutions where documented evidence would include, for example, invitation to serve on the membership or in a leadership position on federal/state proposal panels, site visits, research-related service to federal/state organizations, and other research related activities.

Success in being awarded grants (external to the university) in support of research is a rare occurrence in the discipline of philosophy. Thus, a scholar whose work generates external grant support from an academic agency is an important indication of scholarly achievement.

Academic awards (other than grants) by academic societies for scholarly work or works may also be evidence of scholarly achievement.