These days I rarely visit the philosophy news website Daily Nous. But my eye was caught by a recent post (or in fact, a re-post) inviting readers to report markedly good experiences with journals — to counterbalance the frequent complaints about various journals for the slowness of getting any decision, and worse. And in the replies, the journal Ergo comes in for a lot of praise as outstanding in handling submissions. That had to be a surprise to me, because (ok, I’m obviously way off the pace here!) the journal had previously never crossed my radar.
So I took a look, here. And at one level I’m hugely impressed. It’s a genuinely open-access journal; its procedures seem quite exemplary in principle, and by all accounts work excellently well in practice. The online reading experience is terrific, with a well-designed look’n’feel. And if you download a PDF of an article, it is also very decently designed. (Someone with a good eye was involved in tweaking the under-the-bonnet engines driving the site.) As you will probably know, I’m all for open-access, and Ergo seems a splendid model for journals. All credit to those involved.
When I looked at the abstracts of the forty pieces published last year how many did I actually want to read?
Pretty much zero. I did try dipping into a few on topics that I could perhaps have mustered some interest in but (no names, no pack drill) I found them laboured and unexciting, and I just wasn’t drawn in at all. What did I overlook?
Now I’m well aware that this could indeed reflect much more on my increasing distance from the fray than on the quality of the papers. But equally, I really had little sense that I was missing out on a scene of bubbling intellectual ferment. I’m almost tempted to add: not like the good old days, eh?
(Oh, and I did notice that Analysis still comes in for praise in the Daily Nous comments. That’s good to hear.)