How to Avoid a Desk Rejection | Steven French

This is the first in our new ‘how to’ series. Various members of our editorial team will be sharing their dos and don’ts for authors hoping to have their papers published with us, or elsewhere. Along the way, the mechanics of academic journals in general, and the BJPS in particular, should become plain. In this series, we’ll cover common questions we are asked, and we welcome suggestions for topics you would like to hear more about. Our first installment comes from Co-Chief Editor Steven French, with advice on how to dodge the dreaded desk rejection.


The lone philosopher, working in a dingy attic by the scrap end of a guttering candle might have some cultural purchase, and certainly the working conditions might sometimes be a little Dickensian, but what’s apparent from working behind the curtains at the BJPS is that good philosophy is not the result of the heroic efforts of single individuals. We are lucky enough here to receive submissions from the best and brightest in our field, but the distance between that first submission and the finished product should not be underestimated. That gap is bridged by the time, hard work, and thoughtfulness of our referees, in conversation with our authors. For myself, I have learnt more about how to do philosophy in reading the back-and-forth between author and referee than I could ever have imagined, and it has been a huge privilege to be able to eavesdrop on these conversations.

The Sir Karl Popper Prize for 2014

The decision of the Co-Editors of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science is that the Sir Karl Popper Prize for 2014 should be awarded to Rachael L. Brown for her paper ‘What Evolvability Really Is’ (Br J Philos Sci [2014], 65, pp. 549-72).

Weekend Reading

If our new virtual issue on the philosophy of psychology and cognitive science wasn’t enough to keep you busy, here are more new things for your reading pleasure.

Dark Matter: The New Neptune or Vulcan?

BJPS Co-Chief Editor Michela Massimi and Professor of Astronomy Ofer Lahav have written a piece for Astronomy & Geophysics on the Standard Model. Just how many anomalies are necessary for a paradigm shift?