With the first issue of volume 35 (2021), KRITERION – Journal of Philosophy teamed up with the renowned publishing house De Gruyter. We think that this is a perfect opportunity to (1) briefly outline the aims and scope of the journal, (2) to have a look at its history, and (3) to present information on its current development.
1 Aims and Scope of the Journal
KRITERION – Journal of Philosophy provides a forum for rational discussion in any field of philosophy. As dedicated to the analytic tradition, it publishes highly understandable and criticisable work making use of clear and thorough argumentation. We believe that this is the only possible way of contributing to progress in philosophy, which is the journal’s main objective. In order to contribute to this goal, all submissions go through a double-blind peer review process. Usually, we aim at providing two reviews per paper, however, occasionally also a single review is sufficient for making a decision. In problematic cases with too diverging reviewer suggestions, a third reviewer is asked to provide a further report. For this purpose, particularly members of our advisory board are consulted. For taking on these tasks, we would like to thank all members of our advisory board.
Since KRITERION – Journal of Philosophy wants to encourage especially early career authors and oftentimes timing is what matters most at this stage, the journal’s policy is to reach a decision on submissions within five weeks of receipt. With an average turnaround time from submission to the first editorial decision of about 5.5 weeks over the past decade, we are, in fact, able to keep up with this aim. The journal is known for providing friendly and helpful reviewer comments and constructive suggestions of how to improve manuscripts. This becomes manifest also in our current statistics: Although the initial acceptance rate is currently at 5%, the overall acceptance rate is a bit below 30%. In toto, 90% of our authors receive reports from external reviewers. We would like to take this opportunity to also thank our reviewers for their very valuable contributions.
The only cases of submissions without reports are desk rejections due to the fact that a paper does not satisfy the formal requirements of the journal, a paper is not within the tradition of analytic philosophy, or a paper is underdeveloped to a degree such that constructive suggestions cannot be provided in form of a reviewing procedure.
In line with our aim of particularly supporting early career authors, KRITERION – Journal of Philosophy contributes to the annual international SOPhiA graduate conference series (http://www.sophia-conference.org/) and sponsors the SOPhiA best paper award for young analytic philosophers.
2 A Very Brief History of the Journal
The aim and scope of the journal, as outlined above, has not changed a bit since its establishment in 1991. In this sense, we pay tribute to the journal’s history and tradition. Back then, a group of early career philosophers and lovers of the love of wisdom – one might also speak of “philophilosophers” – of the University of Salzburg’s philosophy department (humanities) founded the journal as a “general forum for rational philosophical discussion”. The first issues and volumes covered in particular a broad range of meta-philosophical topics and assembled contributions of early career and well-established philosophers. Among those philosophers who served already in the first issues of the journal as exemplars and role-models for doing philosophy were, e.g., Karel Lambert, Peter Simons, Peter Singer, Achille Varzi, and Jan Woleński. Also, the journal’s motto “per partes explicate”, roughly: to explicate by division – to analyse – dates back to this time and highlights an important key aspect of the methodology of analytic philosophy. Over the years, the editorial board of the journal underwent frequent and extensive changes. As it comes naturally with the reliance on the workforce of early career philosophers, there was quite some fluctuation of members of the board, also regarding the position of the editor(s) in chief. However, due to a great deal of enthusiasm, diligence, tenacity, and certainly not the least due to the very positive homogenising effect of Salzburg’s philosophy department in the background, the endeavour did not share the fate of so many other early career projects, namely to simply vanish. Rather, KRITERION – Journal of Philosophy is alive as never before and is even able to celebrate its 30th birthday this year. We would like to take this opportunity to express our great gratitude to all past editors of the journal for helping to make this happen: Albert J.J. Anglberger, Wolfgang Berger, Peter Brössel, Hanspeter Fetz, Nicole Furlan, Dorothea Gmeiner-Jahn, Florian Greinecker, Alexander Hieke, Laurenz Hudetz, Wolfgang Huemer, Margret Karlegger, Christoph Landerer, Christoph Leitner, Pascale A. Lötscher, Maria Maier, Ronald Ortner, Philippe Patry, Niki Pfeifer, Bernhard Sams, Christine Schurz, Marc-Oliver Schuster, Michael Sedlaczek, Melanie Stefan, Alexander Stein, Alexander W. Ungar, Matthias Unterhuber, and Christian Wallmann.
In the first decade of its existence, the journal’s issues were published most of the time biannually. Afterwards, issues appeared, with some exceptions, annually, and from 2015 to 2019, the number of issues per volume/year increased to three. Since last year, KRITERION – Journal of Philosophy is a quarterly. From the very beginning on, all publications were made available as open access articles. The language of publication was English and German, however, due to the international readership of the journal these days and, to a lesser extent, also to the facts that reviewers are increasingly overcommitted and that the pool of possible reviewers is drastically narrowed down for German submissions, we decided to switch to allow for English submissions only.
The current editors in chief took the office in 2013/2015. Since then, also the number of submissions tripled. Due to the implementation of a more efficient reviewing system, the average turnaround time could be reduced by more than two-thirds. Though the number of submissions increased significantly, the workload per submission remained, of course, constant. The editorial office was concerned not only with the organisation and evaluation of reviews, but also with type-setting, proof-reading, the publication of accepted manuscripts and their coverage in philosophical archives, and even with the shipment of issues. Since the acceptance rate remained almost unchanged, this meant that in absolute numbers also the workload increased significantly. For this reason and to further advance the journal’s reputation and visibility, the editors decided to look out for a professional partner.
3 Current Development of the Journal
It is our great pleasure to announce that since January 1, 2021, KRITERION – Journal of Philosophy is published and distributed as an open access journal by De Gruyter. We are convinced that this collaboration will further increase the quality and visibility of the journal. A new webpage (https://www.degruyter.com/KRT) as well as a professional submission platform (https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/kriterion/) are already set up by De Gruyter. We are well aware that some might consider the shift of an open access journal to a publishing house in the era of open access publication as an unexpected move. We are also aware that other journals look out for teaming up with alternative partners like university libraries etc. in order to keep up with the organisational tasks of publishing a journal. Though we think that such concerns and alternatives are perfectly valid, we also think that our choice is. The main reasons for us to believe so are, first, that by partnering with De Gruyter, all past and future publications of KRITERION – Journal of Philosophy are still open access, though, of course, at some cost, the so-called “article processing charge” (APC, a non-recurring fee for authors/their institutions in case of publication). Second, general developments in the field of open access publishing with frameworks such as Plan S and initiatives such as cOAlition S and their guidance will set new broadly accepted standards that help to transform the scientific publication landscape to open access with fair and transparent pricing and funding by “encouraging competition for the benefit of all” including all stakeholders and service providers. Clearly, lots of things are still under change and many questions are still unsettled. This makes particularly the transition period not that easy. However, we believe that the needs and the distribution of competences guided by thoughtful general regulations will result in an optimal interplay. We think that in this way, KRITERION – Journal of Philosophy can benefit from the infrastructure and competence of the publishing house De Gruyter, backed by centuries of experience, and will be able to continue to keep up with its aim to increase its level of quality and service for authors and the profession, also for an ever-increasing number of submissions. In this sense, we are convinced that KRITERION – Journal of Philosophy cannot only look back at a very successful past, but is also looking forward to a bright future!
© 2021 Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla and Alexander Gebharter, published by De Gruyter, Berlin/Boston
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.