PhilSci Archive


PhilSci-Archive was conceived in the fall of 2000 on the model of the LANL archive by Rob Clifton (1964-2002), John Earman and John D. Norton, professors in the Department of Philosophy (Clifton) and History and Philosophy of Science (Earman, Norton) at the University of Pittsburgh. It was brought from conception to birth by the active engagement, financial support and endorsement of several groups-- the Center for Philosophy of Science (Jim Lennox, Director); the office of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science (through Dean Dick Howe); the Philosophy of Science Association (John Earman, President); and, through the intervention of Lance Lugar, the University Library System of the University of Pittsburgh (directed by Rush Miller).

PhilSci-Archive was the University Library System's first electronic self-publishing initiative. The task of designing and implementing the archive was undertaken by a team from the ULS Department of Information Systems including Brian Gregg, who was responsible for extensive customizations to the EPrints 1.0 software, Fern Brody, Timothy Deliyannides, Delvon Anderson and Jeff Wisniewski.

Preparatory work for the archive was undertaken in the Fall of 2000. The archive was officially opened for submissions on January 26, 2001.

Academic and minor operational matters were the responsibility of Kevin Davey (Department of Philosophy) as part of his responsibilities as Editorial Assistant in the journal offices of Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. This position of Archive Manager was supported through the journal offices until the journal relocated to Utrecht in August 2003. At that time, support for the Archive Manager continued through an allocation to the Department of History and Philosophy of Science by the Dean of Arts and Sciences. That allocation was discontinued in August 2009 and support is now provided for this position by the Center for Philosophy of Science.

The archive software was upgraded and adapted to EPrints version 2.2.1 by Brian Gregg and Demetrios Ioannides in May 2003, and is fully compliant with the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting v. 2.0.

On October 7, 2010, PhilSci-Archive was relaunched with a new user interface running Eprints 3.2. The project was initiated by the University Library Systems (ULS) team at the University of Pittsburgh, in consultation with the Executive Committee: Zvi Biener, John Earman, John Norton, Bryan Roberts, and Justin Sytsma. The ULS team was led by Timothy Deliyannides, and supported by Electronic Publications Associate Vanessa Gabler. Solutions Architect Brian Gregg developed and implemented many of the Eprints customizations, assisted by Systems Analyst Delvon Anderson. Kari Johnston did the new Web design and development.

In November of 2011, an international Advisory Board was created for PhilSci-Archive, in order to advise operations from a broader perspective.

In June of 2012, PhilSci-Archive added software conceived by John Norton and Bryan Roberts and developed by Michael Miller for automatically collecting preprints in a conference section and turning them into a single PDF volume, which can be freely requested by conference organizers.

On June 18, 2013, with a unanimous agreement of the Executive Committee and Advisory Board, the administrative structure of the PhilSci-Archive was dissolved and replaced by a single Archive Board consisting of the former members of the Executive Committee and Advisory Board. In addition, six officer positions were created:

  • Coordinator: Responsible for the good functioning and coordination of all archive activities.
  • Alternate Coordinator: Serves as Coordinator when the primary Coordinator is unavailable.
  • Conferences and Volumes: Responsible for the soliciting and maintenance of the conferences and volumes section and the preparation of combined volumes as PDF files.
  • Editorial Chair: Chairs the discussion concerning moderation of submissions to the archive.
  • Promotions and Outreach: Responsible for maintaining visibility of the archive and encouraging wider usage in the philosophy of science profession.
  • Website Quality: Responsible for oversight of the academic and editorial content of the PhilSci-Archive and the user experience.

In early 2014, a new function was inaugurated in the archive: It now provides an echo of the content of an open access journal, Theoria. The new function was provided at the suggestion of a consulting editor of Theoria, David Teira, in November 2013. After several months of work on the interface, a new section of philsci-archive, devoted to open access journals, was completed and made live in late April 2014. Library programmers had uploaded all back issues of Theoria from its open access years, 2003-2013, and they are accessible by year. This contributed 315 new postprints to the archive. The articles of future issues will be uploaded to the archive by Theoria editorial staff. We also added a second echo, of Philosophy & Theory in Biology, in June of 2014, and two more, Lato Sensu and αnalytica in July 2016. We intend to continue to expand this service.

In November of 2014, a seventh officer position was created:

  • Open Access Journal Support: Responsible for maintaining relationships with open access journals currently echoed by the Archive and exploring additional journals for inclusion in the Archive.

In November 2015, the Archive Board agreed to extend the scope of suitable archive submissions to include monograph manuscripts.

The eprints software was upgraded to version 3.3.15 on June 2, 2016 by the ULS team led by Timothy Deliyannides. The upgrade included many bug fixes, an improvement to the search engine that allows for more flexibility in searching and a small update to the user interface. The ORCID identification is now supported.

In February 2016, the archive began accepting postprints published under a Creative Commons license.

In June 2016, a proposal to create a new ex officio position on the Board for the Director of the Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh was adopted.

On Thursday May 11, 2017, the PhilMath-Archive section of philsci-archive went live. It is a new section of the archive whose goals match those of PhilSci-Archive, but is dedicated to philosophy of mathematics and is curated by philosophers of mathematics. The new section results from a proposal by Elaine Landry and was brought to fruition by a subcommittee chaired by Tom Pashby and aided by Michael Miller. Elaine Landry is its first coordinator and serves in the newly created board position of “Coordinator of PhilMath-Archive."

At its inauguration, PhilMath-Archive was sponsored by:

  • International Association for the Philosophy of Mathematics (PMA)
  • Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Mathematics (CSHPM)
  • The British Society for the History of Mathematics (BSHM)
  • Association for the Philosophy of Mathematical Practice (APMP)
  • Philosophy of Mathematics Special Interest Group Mathematical Association of America (POMSigma)

In May of 2018, an eighth officer position was created, to be filled when needed: Advisor to the Archive Manager. This position is described as follows:

  • Assists a new Archive Manager in learning the technical details of archive management and consults on any other matters where past experience as an Archive Manager is helpful.

In June 2020, John Earman ended his two decades of service to the archive. He was, with Rob Clifton and John D. Norton, one of the founders of the archive and help craft it in both overall conception and details of implementation. At the time of its founding, he was the President of the Philosophy of Science Association. In that capacity, he established the archive as the official preprint server of the Philosophy Association. The sponsorship of the PSA has strengthened over time and remains of great importance to the archive. In the following years, John made sure that the archive serves the philosophy of science community in the broadest sense. This led to the formation of the present Board structure, with its members drawn widely from the larger community. He served as Alternate Coordinator through this period until his retirement.

In Sept. 2020, John Norton stepped down as archive coordinator, after having led the archive for twenty years. He left big shoes to fill. A transition team, under the leaderships of Kenneth Waters, was created to revise the archive's administrative structure in light of Norton's departure, and to create a new constitution. After significant study, the archive's board decided to replace the role of coordinator by an executive committee. The executive committee was to be constituted by an Editor-in-Chief to oversee all operations, and two additional persons with various portfolios. Zvi Biener was elected as Editor-in-Chief, Sabina Leonelli was elected to oversee coordination of open-access efforts, promotion, and outreach, and Bryan Roberts was elected to oversee website and back-end operations. John Norton remained a board member.

Archive Board History


Archive Manager History

Kevin Davey (Department of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh) January 2001- August 2002
Tracy Lupher (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) August 2002 - December 2003
Zvi Biener (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) January 2004 - April 2005
Justin Sytsma (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) in May 2005 - August 2009
Bryan Roberts (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) August 2009 - August 2012
Thomas Pashby (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) May 2013 - August 2014
Michael Miller (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) August 2012 - May 2013, August 2014 - September 2015, September 2016 - September 2017
Nora Boyd (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) September 2015 - August 2016, September 2017 - August 2018
William Penn (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) September 2018 - September 2019
Nuhu Osman Attah (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) September 2019 -

Consultant History

Michael Miller (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) June 2013 - July 2014, August 2015 - August 2016
Nora Boyd (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) September 2016 - September 2017
Gal Ben-Porath (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) September 2018 -
William Penn (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) September 2019 -