The Editor’s Hard Knock Life

I am currently editing, with Gregory Landini, a centenary volume of papers on The Philosophy of Logical Atomism. The volume is under contract with Palgrave Macmillan and should appear in Michael Beaney’s History of Analytic Philosophy series.

All this is super exciting! It is wonderful to facilitate what I view as a substantive intellectual contribution to the history of philosophy. And I believe that logical atomism has been widely misunderstood and has tremendous merits as a philosophy, so I am eager to see what the reaction to my contribution to the volume will be.

However, on my first co-editing project, I did notice a number of editorial things that I did not expect to need to do:

  1. Contributors to a volume may be asked for biographies.
  2. Contributions to a volume should include abstracts.
  3. Contributors to a volume may be asked for address, phone, institution, and other quasi-geographical information, which can be important for copyright purposes.

Now the contributors to my volume were wonderfully responsive and quickly sent stuff when I asked for such information. But collecting all this would be made much easier, and could be done without editors bothering folks for it, by having a community-wide, profession-wide decision to all put on our websites the following information:

  1. Paragraph-length biographies on our websites for professional purposes and use by editors, and conference or talk organizers, as needed.
  2. Abstracts for all papers on our webpages.
  3. Institution, postal address, and phone information in one place, like a contact page. A department address and phone would do, as folks may have privacy and safety concerns, but all the information in one spot, please!

As it stands, a lot of the time this information seems to require construction from folks’ CVs and other website information, like their publications. To extract some of this information, I have to open a separate file and search for it instead of just looking to a professional webpage, which is fine, but slightly inconvenient.

All this might be unique to my first editing experience, but I suspect this is fairly wide-spread. And copyright permissions are a totally different animal!

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