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Philosophy, Ethics, and Emerging Scholarship

Richard Paige — It sounds like a pretty big deal.

Philosophy professor Adriel Trott is among a six-person team charged with developing a code of ethics for publishing in the field of philosophy through a $75,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant awarded to colleagues at Fairfield University and other locales.

Adriel Trott.

In addition to encouraging better and more concrete guidelines for citation practices (Wabash Always Cites!), such a code could lead to the field improving efforts of inclusion and who gets tenure.

“One goal is to make publishing for people outside of research institutions more accessible,” Trott said. “My involvement shows the extent to which Wabash is involved in efforts to improve the scholarly environment in ways that ultimately serve our students.”

While the field actively seeks the work of more women and scholars of color, Trott feels this effort is about how philosophy accepts and shares important new work. This group’s charge will be to think about how scholarly journals direct and make judgments about emerging scholarship and how that literature is actively referenced.

Led by principal investigator Kris Sealey, Trott and her colleagues hope for a change of thinking, where scholars cite based on relevance and broad attention to an issue leads to more inclusive citation practices.

Why does this matter? The numbers of citations a work receives can influence the tenure process. This effort hopes to better identify which scholarly works are influential and driving the discipline forward. Trott says a goal is to encourage scholars to take these questions more seriously as well.

“The long-term hope is that such an effort encourages more students from marginalized groups to pursue philosophy majors, when they see themselves better reflected in the scholarship that is taught,” Trott says.