Case 4. Thin referee reports or fewer reports than expected
Given our efforts at a quick turnaround and at finding expert referees, we do not insist that reviewers return lengthy or detailed reports with their recommendations. Thus, it is not out of the question that the author of a manuscript that has, in fact, been read by referees would receive a rejection accompanied by very little feedback. Almost all referees do, however, submit substantive reports, and so the author of a manuscript that has been sent to referees can expect to receive at least one meaty report; bear in mind, though, that if exactly one such report is received, that doesn’t mean the paper was sent to only one referee. Thoroughness and mixed reviews sometimes demand that we expand on the two-referee standard and solicit additional opinions. It is not uncommon, then, for authors whose papers are rejected to receive more than two substantive referee reports, as well as comments from an Associate Editor who has read the manuscript carefully.
We hope that this post does not discourage authors from submitting their work to BJPS. Making it through the review process at a highly selective journal promises significant rewards, such as a robust readership. Papers appearing in BJPS get read and cited. The Journal’s current Impact Factor is nearly twice that of its nearest general competitor (Synthese) and over double that of its best-known, specialist competitor (Philosophy of Science). By Google’s metrics, BJPS has the fifth highest h-5 index in all of philosophy, and the second highest for a quarterly, behind only Noûs (which is relevant because a journal’s h-5 index is driven partly by the sheer number of papers it publishes). Bear in mind, too, that BJPS uses a triple-masked review process; no one but the Deputy Editor knows the identity of an author unless and until the submission in question has been definitively accepted. So, please do keep the manuscripts coming! It is our pleasure to sort through a surfeit of high-quality work, even though it is regrettable to have to reject a significant portion of it.