It is my understanding that philosophy papers have less chance of being published if they are over 7,000 or 8,000 words long. But at the same time we philosophers often complain that a given author's work was not considered in a manuscript. So what should one do when a reviewer asks for consideration of a whole additional facet or philosopher in a paper? Is it understood that in that case, the author can substantially increase the wordcount of her manuscript? Even over the limit stated in the submission guide? (I've seen published papers of 13,000 words in a journal that indicates a limit of 10,000).

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    Nice to see a non-STEM question Commented Sep 21, 2019 at 20:20

3 Answers 3


This is the kind of thing you ask the editor about. "If I include this philosopher's view, the manuscript's length will increase by roughly 40%. Are you sure?" If the editor says yes, you're in the clear - they are clearly going to waive the word limit. If the editor says nevermind, you're also in the clear - even if the reviewer objects, the editor's on your side and can overrule the reviewer's objections if the reviewer recommends reject.

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    You can also offer to note the omission, which might please the reviewer more than doing nothing while not adding to length substantially.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Sep 21, 2019 at 13:59
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    I have seen ‘supplementary materials’ (such as large dataset or proofs) available on authors webpage or repository.
    – user199
    Commented Sep 21, 2019 at 18:17
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    What about a middle path: very generally and overarchingly mentioning, in no more than 7/8 lines, my approach's position with respect to the work that the reviewer asks me to consider? Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 11:10
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    @DamiánBeanato you can certainly do that too - in my experience the editor is usually willing to consider the authors' opinion on where to take the manuscript. Just be sure to give your reasons in the cover letter to the editor.
    – Allure
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 11:58

You can ask the editor for advice, but you probably can't force your will on any journal. Ignoring reviewer advice is risky. Going over the page/word limit is risky.

So, acceptable, yes. But it may not result in an outcome you would favor. Only the editor can say what will be accepted when all is done.

An alternative, perhaps, depending on what you have, is that the original together with the reviewers suggestion is enough material for two papers if things are moved around a bit. I can't judge that, of course, but it might be worth a look.


This largely depends on if you think that addition is useful or valid or if you think that the addition is unneeded or will detract from the focus of the paper.

If you think that the addition is valid and useful, one way forward is to reduce words elsewhere: cut was is less important, restructure, and be more concise to fit this new information in. You can also contact the editor directly and ask about additional words. If the journal still produces print versions you might be bound by the stated word limits. If they've gone entirely digital, there are no physical constraints so it is just what the editor will allow. Usually there's a bit of wiggle room for articles post review and many of them must grow a bit.

If you do not think the addition is useful and valid, then the fact that inclusion will significantly increase the length of your paper can be put in the response letter as a reason that you will not be taking on board that particular suggestion. If you are going to do this, do think of a way you can nod to this philosopher/corpus of research/whatever in a sentence or two, if only to explain that they will not be discussed here but further work to include them in the analysis could be interesting in the future. That often gives the editor what they need to allow your paper to continue. This won't always work, especially if the reviewer said that your paper is invalid without the addition, but if it was more of a suggestion than a mandate it tends to be enough.

Good Luck!

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