PhilSci Archive

Philsci-Archive User Documentation


Browsing is a good way to access documents if you don't have a specific idea of what you're looking for. There are three ways to browse the repository, by subject, by year and by conference/volume.

To browse the repository either select Browse from the front page or from the navigation bar at the top of the screen. Then choose which property you wish to browse by eg. "subject".

You will be presented with a list of possible values, select one of these, and you will be given a list of references to documents in the repository (if any) which match this value. To access a paper, simply click on its reference in the display.

On the abstract page, you should be able to see what subjects are pertinent to the current document. Clicking on one of those subjects will take you back to the relevant browse by subject view.


The repository offers two levels of searching, simple and advanced. They are similar, but the advanced form lets you perform a finer-grained search using more fields. Access the simple search using the Search the Repository link on the front page, or using the navigation bar at the top of the screen. To perform an advanced search, use the advanced search link at the top of the simple search page.

Text Search Fields

These are used to search fields like abstract or author. These are the fields where there is a text entry area, and a popup menu just to the right of it. Type your search terms into the box. You can decide how the system will use your search terms by selecting one of the options from the popup menu just to the right of the input box. Here are some examples for the search term "quantum gravity":

All of

In the example shown, the system will search for records in which any of the title, abstract or keywords fields contain both the word "quantum" and "gravity."

Any of

In the example shown, the system will search for any record with either the term "quantum" or "gravity," in any of the title, abstract or keywords fields.

To search for an exact phrase

o search for an exact phrase, choose "all of," and enclose your search in single quotes, e.g. 'quantum gravity'. The system will search for your terms appearing exactly as you type them. In the example, the system will return any record with the exact phrase "quantum gravity" appearing in the title, abstract or keywords.

Lists of Values

With these you can select one or more values from a list of values for the system to search for. If no value in the list is selected, the system will ignore this field (i.e. it will retrieve records with any value of this field.)

In cases where each individual record may have more than one value attached to the list, you can also change search behavior by selecting "Any of these" or "All of these" from the popup menu on the right of the list.

Any of these.

If this is selected, any record which has any of the values you select will be retrieved.

All of these.

If you select this option, a record must have all the values you choose associated with it to be retrieved.


When you're searching a year field, you can specify a single year or range of years that you're interested in:

retrieves only records where the year is `1999';
retrieves records with years between 1987 and 1990 inclusive;
retrieves records with years of 1995 or later;
retrieves records with years up to and including 1998.

Yes/No Fields

Some fields can have the value yes or no, for example the "Refereed" field. In this case, the search field lets you specify whether you want retrieved records to have the value yes or no for this field, or whether you have no preference, in which case the field isn't used to find records.

Receiving Archive Updates

You can subscribe to new posts on PhilSci-Archive through email or RSS.

Updates by email to all new posts

  1. Login to PhilSci-Archive, or Register to create a new account.
  2. Follow this link to do an advanced search for all items posted on PhilSci-Archive.
  3. In the window that appears, click the "Save Search" link at the top. An image of the link is shown below.
    Save Search button
  4. Select your email preferences (Once per Day, Once per Week, etc.), and click "Save."

Update by RSS

Follow the instructions above to subscribe by RSS, but instead of clicking "Save search," choose one of the RSS (RSS feed icon) links. Then copy the URL of the resulting> page, and add it to your RSS reader (Google Reader, Bloglines, etc.).

Customize or delete updates

You can create a custom subscription by following the instructions above, but replacing the suggested search with your own Advanced Search. For example, you could search for articles posted under the subject Specific Sciences > Biology. Then follow steps 3 and 4 above to create a subscription to only those posts.

To stop receiving updates by email, click the Saved Searches link in the red navigation bar (you must be logged in to view it). You will be brought to your list of saved searches. Click the "Remove" button to remove a search, or click the "Settings" button to edit your email subscription settings.



Certain services require you to register with the system so that it can identify you, such as the document depositing services. When you register with the system, you can register a username, email address and password which must be confirmed. The system will email you a confirmation URL to visit to enable the password. To register, go to; you will be prompted to enter your name, a valid email address, a username, and a password. When you are done, click "Register." This will generate a verification email that will be sent to the email address you entered. Once you confirm, you'll be taken to the "Manage deposits" page (


Manage Deposits

The "Manage deposits" page serves as your home screen. From this page you can create new deposits and edit previous deposits.

Create an Item

There are two ways to create a new item to deposit into the archive: Either click the "New Item" button or select a source for "Import" from the drop-down menu. Items can be imported using either BibTeX, DOI, DSpeace Metadata, PubMed ID, PubMed XML, or XML data. For any import type, you can then import one or more items. Once an item is imported, you'll proceed with the creation process described below for new items—the only differences being that many of the fields will have been populated for you by the import process!

Clicking on "New Item" will begin the creation sequence. In this sequence you'll specify the item type, the item details, select a conference or volume for the item (only applicable for papers being given at a conference or workshop that the event organizer has invited you to post under a PhilSci-Archive heading), select subject categories, upload the document(s) and enter metadata, and finally deposit your new item. At each stage you can either save your item for later ("Save for Later"), cancel the item ("Cancel"), or continue to the next stage ("Next >"). For each page and field there will be a help icon (the question mark) that you can click to get more information.

Item Type

Select the option on the list that describes your paper—either "preprint," "conference paper," or "other." The option you choose here will affect what bibliographic information about your deposit the system will collect in later stages.

Item Details

On this page you'll enter key details about your item, including the title, authors, and date. You'll also enter optional details such as the abstract, keywords, the date for this item, any DOI or other unique handle associated with it, any official URL for the item, other related URLs, additional information, and any comments or suggestions that you have for the editor. For each field there is a help icon that you can click on to get more information.
PhilSci-Archive can link a new version of your paper to the old version. This allows readers and search engines with links to the old version to find the newest version. This is done on this page through the "Later Version of" field by entering the ID code for the item being updated.


Conferences and Volumes

This page is only available for items of the "Conference or Workshop Item" type. This is for papers that have been or will be given at a conference or workshop for which he event organizers have invited you to post under a PhilSci-Archive heading. On the Conferences and Volumes page you'll find a list of events that the archive is hosting headers for. Select the event that your paper is for and click the "Add" icon next to it. Note: Some events have multiple sub-categories, distinguishing contribute papers from symposia for example; click the "+" icon to expand these lists.

Subject Categories

In the subject categories stage, you should select the subject or subjects that best represent the content of your paper. The subjects are divided into two areas—"General Issues" and "Specific Sciences." You can also select "Out of Print" for books that are out of print. Please try and be as accurate as possible here, and please don't just select lots of categories if you're unsure, just pick the categories you are sure of.


On this page you'll upload the documents for this file. You'll upload files one at a time by selecting "Browse," locating the file you want to upload, and then clicking "Upload." Once the file is uploaded you will be able to set the metadata for that file, including specifying the content of the document (draft version, submitted version, supplemental material, etc.), the format (PDF, RTF, Microsoft Word, etc.), who the document will be visible to, the license for the document (if applicable), and the embargo period for the document if you would like to set one. After changing any of the metadata fields for a document, click "Update Metadata."
Setting an Embargo Period
PhilSci-Archive has the capacity to upload a paper in a way that makes the record visible for all to see, while hiding one or more uploaded documents until the end of an embargo period that you specify. This allows for easy compliance with journal embargo periods. It is also an easy way to comply with institutional requirements like that of HEFCE in the UK, which demands that all REF-eligible publications be posted in an institutional or subject repository like PhilSci-Archive within 3 months of acceptance, setting an embargo period if necessary.

To set an embargo period, scroll down to the Metadata tab for an uploaded document and fill in an "Embargo expiry date," then click "Update Metadata" as illustrated below.



On this final page you'll deposit the item by clicking on the "Deposit Item Now" button. By doing so you indicate your agreement to the terms listed on this page. Please read them carefully before proceeding.
Once you deposit the item, you'll be taken to the "View Item" page for this deposit, described below. Your deposit will not appear on the public website until it has been checked by an editor.

Manage Items

On the "Manage deposits" page you will also see a list of items you have created. You can use the checkboxes to select whether you want to see the items in your "User Workarea," items that are "Under Review," items in the "Live Archive," or items that have been "Retired." To the right of each displayed item will be one or more icons depending on whether the item is in your User Workarea, Under Review, or in the Live Archive. For items in your User Workarea (i.e., items that have not been deposited yet) you can view the item, delete the item, edit the item (returning to the process described above), or deposit the item.

View Item

If you click the icon to view an item, you will be brought to the "View Item" page. For live items, this page will display the URL for your item. In addition there are a number of tabs on this page. The first—Details—will display information about your item. The second—Actions—is especially important. From this tab you can click "New version" to submit a new version of this item (as shown below), click "Use as template" to create a new item using this item as a template, click "Request deletion" to ask that this item be removed from the archive, or click "Edit item" to edit your item.