Review Process

Timeline: The target turnaround time is 3-4 months. 

First step: initial assessment by the editors

Upon receiving a new submission, the editors will provide an initial assessment of the submission to ensure that the draft received is ready for external review. At this stage, the assessment will focus primarily on readability (style, basic argumentative structure) and academic soundness (references, engagement with existing literature). If the editors judge that the paper is not ready to be sent to external reviewers, editors will reject the submission and communicate their decision, with a short explanation, to the author within 4 weeks of submission. A desk-rejected paper may be resubmitted to the journal, but not within 6 months of the first attempt.

If the submission is written in a language neither editor can read, the editors will consult with members of the Scientific Committee who do read that language. 

Second step: double-anonymous peer review

Submissions that have passed the first step are sent in a fully anonymized form to two external referees. In consultation with the members of the scientific committee, the editors will try to choose referees who are representative of different philosophical audiences, with at least one referee working in the same philosophical tradition as the author. Referees will not be graduate students and will have a PhD, DPhil, or equivalent.

Invited essays for special issues will also go through this second step. In this case, the guest editor will arrange for suitable referees in compliance with the journal’s mission and values.

All referees will be expected to follow these guidelines:

Third step: feedback to the author

If both referees are highly critical or identify problems that would require extensive rewriting in order to be rectified, the editors will reject the submission. If both referees are ambivalent or strongly disagree on the scholarly value of the paper, the editors will ask a member of the scientific committee for a third assessment and report. If two referees issue positive assessments, or only one referee is ambivalent, the editors will encourage the author to revise the piece in light of the referees’ suggestions. In some cases, the editors will point out which questions or objections the author should be especially careful to answer or address. The editors, in consultation with the referees, will make the final publication decision.

Review form:

Referees will be asked to answer the following questions: 


What is the main contribution of the paper to the existing scholarship?

How novel, original, or innovative is this contribution?

How urgent or needed is this contribution given the current state of the discipline or sub-discipline?

Does the paper have the potential to be relevant for scholars who do not specialize in Spinoza studies?


Does the paper communicate its main point(s) in an accessible and reader-friendly way?

Is the overall thread of the argumentation easy to follow and compelling?


Does the paper sufficiently engage with the relevant primary sources?

Does the paper engage with a sufficiently broad and diverse spectrum of relevant scholarly debates and traditions?

Does the paper discuss any scholarship published in languages other than the language in which the paper is written?

Would you recommend this paper to a colleague working in the area?


Given the paper’s scope and aims, what should the author try to improve or change? Are there any issues or objections that absolutely must be addressed?

Do you have any suggestions for how the author might make the needed improvements or changes?