Frequently Asked Questions

Publishers and journal editors, please see this page on feeding content to PhilPapers.

Content-related questions

Should/can I archive my papers on PhilPapers?

PhilPapers has both links to external copies of papers and local copies (normally pre-prints) of papers uploaded by the authors. It is both an index and an archive. Most publishers allow authors to self-archive at least pre-prints of their papers. You can check your publisher's policy as part of the upload process. You can also do so on the Sherpa/Romeo database. You can upload an existing paper by going to its Details Page and clicking the link next to "PhilPapers Archive." New papers can be archived as part of the submission process.

It is highly recommended to archive your papers if permitted by the publisher. Not only does this support a transition towards open access publishing, but this significantly increases the accessibility of your work to users without institutional access, be it due to travel, mobile browsing, a lack of affiliation, or just a lack of organization. People often turn around when they hit the "pay wall" even if they could in principle access the article through their institution. In addition, we are currently developing new features such as citation linking and keyword extraction that will allow us to better link archived papers to one another. We cannot apply these techniques to papers for which we do not have the text.

How can I add a paper (to PhilPapers, to such and such list)

If you want your paper to appear anywhere on PhilPapers, you must first add it to the index by clicking "Submit material" -> "Submit a book or article" in the menu at the top of the page.

Then whether your paper appears in any search results, category listings, your personal bibliography ("my works" in your profile"), or any other kind of listing will depend on several factors which vary with the type of listing (some of which are described below). For "my works", name matching is performed based on your aliases. You can also use a tool provided at the top of the list to explicitly add an already indexed paper to "my works".

I can't find such-and-such work, but I know it's there

Not all indexed works appear by default in search, category listings, reading lists, and other listings. By default, only works which have professional status and are available online are displayed. You can adjust display filters using the options on the right hand side of all paper listings.

What works do you accept?

Works of all types (articles, books, dissertations) in all areas of academic philosophy, so long as they are of professional quality. Typically works are available online, but we also accept references to offline works.

What sources are monitored by PhilPapers? We monitor a large number of journals, archives, and personal pages. See the lists below. We also monitor new books through the catalogues of participating libraries.

Could you monitor such-and-such journal?

If you are an editor or publisher, see this page.

Please contact us.

We will only monitor professional-quality philosophy journals. It is difficult and time-consuming to write a separate crawler for every journal website, so we are moving toward a model on which journal editors and publishers will supply information to us in a regimented format.

Could PhilPapers monitor my personal website?

Please see the database of monitored personal pages. You can submit a new website for consideration there.

What about other sources of philosophy?

PhilPapers started life as a gateway to online papers in philosophy. As such, it is not intended to cover all philosophy material. Still, as more material becomes available online, the scope of PhilPapers will increase. It is already the case that the great majority of journals in philosophy are available online, and their online coverage of back issues is constantly increasing. We also cover many books, using the Library of Congress catalog (to find books in philosophy) and Google Books (to link to them where available).

Eventually, PhilPapers should cover the bulk of material published in philosophy. The main exception will be philosophy articles published in journals and books that are not primarily philosophical journals and books. For material of this sort, we rely on users to submit the relevant information, and we encourage users to do so.

How can I add large numbers of articles to PhilPapers.

If you would like to add many papers to the directory (for example, if you edit a relevant journal or have a relevant bibliography), we can enable your account for batch submissions of papers. Contact us to enable this feature.

Do you respect copyright?

Yes, PhilPapers fully respects all applicable copyright laws. See our terms and conditions for information on our copyright compliance policy.

How can I access subscription-only journals?

To access papers in most journals (except free e-journals and occasional free papers in other journals), you need to belong to an institution with a subscription to that journal. If you don't, we can't help you. If you do, then typically you will be able to access that journal directly from on-campus computers, and indirectly from off-campus computers via proxy browsing. To set up automatic proxy browsing, use the proxy browsing box in the right column of most browsing pages.

How do I know if a work belongs to a category?

Every paper should eventually be assigned to 1-3 leaf-level categories. Higher-level categories can contain entries temporarily, but these should eventually be moved to the leaf level. There are miscellaneous categories at most levels to collect entries which do not belong anywhere else.

A work belongs to a leaf category when the topic is the main focus of the work, or is at least one of the main foci of the work. That a work bears on a topic or discusses that topic is not sufficient for it to qualify. Our expectations is that non-historical, analytic papers will usually be classified under one or two topics, and under three topics just occasionally.

How can I increase my downloads?

Make sure that your works all have associated abstracts, categories, keywords, and links. Automatically indexed papers often lack some of this information. This tool can help you discover incomplete records.

Upload your papers to PhilPapers' open access archive (using the entry editor). Most publishers automatically grant permission to authors to archive pre-prints. By uploading a copy of your work to our archive, you will allow us to better index your paper, making it easier to find.

What is a professional author?

An author is considered professional if he/she either a) has a doctorate in philosophy or b) is the author of an article on our list of most popular journals. Conditions (a) and (b) are checked algorithmically based on the data we have about you in our database, so make sure your profile contains all your credentials and articles if you are entitled to professional status. It can take up to several days for your status to be updated and the effects of the change to become visible.

I meet the criteria, but my papers are not considered "pro"

In most cases this is due to PhilPapers not having associated your papers with you. And this in turn is normally due to discrepancies between an author's publication name and his or her profile name. Your papers are associated with you only if they appear in your "my works" list in your profile. See the next two questions below.

Account-related questions

How can I make "my works" appear in my profile?

The "my works" section appears automatically when works matching your name in the index are detected. Add your works to the index, and a "my works" section containing them should appear automatically.

How can I add/remove something from "My Works"?

The "my works" list in your profile is populated automatically by matching variations on your name against the authors of papers in PhilPapers' index. The variations used are computed automatically based on your account name. You can adjust the variations used by clicking "Aliases" in the "Preferences" box in your profile.

If works you have written do not appear in "my works", then either there is no record for the work in the PhilPapers database, or the record in the database does not match your name or aliases.

To add a new work to the database, choose "Submit material" in the main menu, and select either "Submit a book or article" (to submit details for one item at a time) or "Upload a bibliography" (to upload a whole list). To add a record that is already in the database to the list in your profile, you can either adjust your aliases to correspond as closely as possible to the name used in that article, or you can manually add the article using the "Add to this list" feature at the top of your works.

To remove items (typically items that are not by you) from the list of your works, click "Remove from this list" under the item. If you would like to delete items of yours from the entire database, you can recommend them for deletion by clicking the title to research the record page then "Remove from index" under the item. We will not usually delete records for published works, but we will usually delete records for unpublished works at the author's request.

What is the purpose of user accounts?

User accounts enable many useful features such as personal reading lists, journal filters, content alerts, customized forum subscriptions, and so on. They are also needed for posting to discussion forums, and for editing/categorizing entries (this way, if we find vandalization, we can roll back all changes by a given user).

We encourage all frequent users to create an account, but it is perfectly possible to use PhilPapers without an account. Without an account, you can still use most of the primary browsing functions, but the user-specific functions will be unavailable.

How can I change my password, email, or name?

Log in and go to your profile, then click "Email, identification and password" under "Preferences".

Why do you want to know my affiliations and background?

PhilPapers uses affiliation and background information to maintain a balance between a focus on professional academic philosophy and accessibility to all interested parties. This information helps to determine which submitted papers will be displayed under the default "professional authors only" filter (this requires a doctorate in philosophy or relevant publications), and it helps to determine posting privileges in the forums (posting is unlimited forphilosophy faculty/PhDs and graduate students and restricted for others). Please be honest. The information is easy to check.

There is no obligation to enter affiliation and background information. If you enter this information, you can keep the information private by adjusting privacy settings if you choose. Even if you're not planning to submit papers or take part in discussion forums, though, we encourage you to submit the information to provide a rounded picture of who is using PhilPapers.

How reliable are the attributions in "My Works"?

"My Works" (in a personal profile) is generated automatically based on one's name, so the attributions in these lists are not very reliable as a general rule (depending on how common the name is). However, each profile owner can add or remove entries from their "My Works" list as needed.

How do you protect my email from spammers?

PhilPapers' email protection scheme combines the three best known approaches to this problem. First, your email is encoded as a small Javascript program instead of being transmitted "in clear" over the Internet to browsers. Second, your email is rendered partly as an image in the browser instead of text. Third, the text that is rendered as text uses a special encoding for additional safety. We have tested this approach and no spammer appears to have broken our protection.

Something is wrong with one of my papers. Can you fix it please?

Please use the "edit" link under the entry to fix it.

Editors' tools

What is an exclusion list?

Each category has an exclusion list. A category's exclusion list is used to keep track of entries which are not relevant to it in order to exclude them when trawling. Manual trawling and automated trawling use the same exclusion lists. That is to say that material you exclude while trawling manually will be excluded from your automated trawler's future results as well. If you picked up a category from another editor, it is a good idea to inspect its exclusion list (you can do this from trawl result pages).

What is a timemark?

Each category has a timemark. A category's timemark determines how recent entries must be to turn up in automated trawling (timemarks do not affect manual trawling). If you set a timemark on a category, you will ban all PhilPapers entries existing at the time from showing up in trawl results for the category. Timemarks should be used with caution and should always be reset when changing a trawler's configuration in order to discover previously missed entries.

Questions about other features

How does forum moderation work?

The philosophy forums are moderated. The forums for discussion of PhilPapers itself are not. Moderated posts will not show in public forums until approved by an editor. Although we try to approve posts as fast as possible, this can sometimes take several days.

How does searching on PhilPapers work?

See our search help page for details.

How do RSS feeds work?

RSS feeds are pages meant to be monitored automatically by feed reading services such as Google Reader. Click on the "RSS feed" link usually found on the right hand side of a page on PhilPapers will add the feed corresponding to the page to your RSS reader. You will then be able to see all the new material arriving on this page.

How do email alerts work?

An email alert is a service that will notify you of new material on a page. Your alerts can be seen and modified from your profile.

How do PhilPapers categories and categorization tools work?

See our categorization page for details.

How does relevance work in advanced search?

In "more advanced" mode, the relevance of an entry is the number of times search keywords appear in it weighted according to the specified relevance of these keywords. An excellent indicator weights 3, a good one 1, and an indicator of irrelevance -1. An occurrence of a keyword in an article's title counts for twice as much.

The minimal relevance parameter is mainly useful for fine-tuning searches linked to categories (here the "show low threshold entries" link on the category's option page is helpful).

In "normal" mode, relevance is computed in part as a function of word frequency in the database and can range from very low to very high. You will get a feel for how it works by using it.

Where can I get more help?

If you can't find the answer to your question here or in the other entries under the Help menu, feel free to post a question to the PhilPapers help forum.