PhilSci Archive

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a preprint server?

A preprint server is used by scholars to circulate new work. A preprint is an early version of new work often in preliminary form. The archive is intended to supplement or replace an older mechanism for circulation of new work. An author used to prepare multiple copies of a new manuscript and mail it to scholars for their information and for response. Greater circulation can be achieved by posting on the archive at no cost to the author. Individual scholars can then be alerted efficiently to the preprint by informing them in a brief email of the preprint's unique ID code. Alternatively, scholars may subscribe to receive regular email updates of postings to the archive in areas of the philosophy of science of interest to them.

May I submit an incomplete paper or paper sketch?

While submitted work may be preliminary, it is expected that material posted forms a complete paper with all sections present, the language carefully edited and all footnotes, references, figures and other supporting material in place.

How does the archive differ from a journal?

A journal publishes material that has passed scrutiny by referees and has been edited by the editorial staff to bring it to the journal standards. The archive does not referee postings and does not edit them. The archive merely filters minimally to assure relevance to philosophy of science.

May we submit material to the archive that has appeared elsewhere?

The archive does not require or expect that material has not appeared elsewhere. However, if it has appeared elsewhere, the author must determine whether copyright was transferred from the author and whether the copyright agreement allows posting on the archive. While we do not object to duplication, the other source may.Authors can check a journal's copyright policy by visiting Sherpa/Romeo.

Do I lose copyright privileges when I submit a document to the archive?

No. Works contributed to the archive remain fully protected by US and other copyright laws. Under US copyright law, your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form. Even though the copyright for your work may not be registered, you are encouraged to assert your copyright on the title page of your work. For more information, see (

Will posting on the archive affect subsequent attempts to publish in a journal?

This is a matter for the individual journals to decide. Our impression is that these policies are in flux with the trend towards greater tolerance. The precedent of the physicists' enormous LANL archive ( is strong. Papers posted there routinely proceed to refereed journals.

If I post a preprint on the archive and then publish it in a journal or volume, can I leave the preprint on the archive?

Individual journal policies vary on this question. Whatever the policy, the authoritative document is the copyright agreement you sign with the publisher. If that agreement requires you to remove the posted preprint, you should. Not all agreements require this. The current copyright agreement used by Elsevier for the journal Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics reads in part:

"...Posting of a preprint version of this work on an electronic public server is permitted. Posting of the published article on a secure network (not accessible to the public) within the author's institution is permitted. However, posting of the published article on an electronic public server can only be done with Elsevier's written permission."

This is an enlightened policy that we endorse.

Kluwer and Springer have announced a similar policy and explicitly encourages authors to post their pre-press articles to publicly accessible servers. Authors can check a journal's copyright policy by visiting Sherpa/Romeo

To see the policies of some common philosophy of science journals, visit the Journal Eprint Policies page.

Can I submit a record with a link to a publication in place of a preprint?

Yes, as long as it is a later version of a preprint that has already been posted. The PhilSci-Archive "Publication" record type can be used for this purpose; select this option under "Item Type" when you begin your submission.

How should I link to preprints on PhilSci-Archive?

Links to preprints in PhilSci-Archive should always be directed to the metadata record (DO link to this), rather than the final full text document (DON'T link to this). This allows readers following the link to find important information such as the abstract, reader rights statement, and alternate locations, which may not be accessible from the full text document directly.

How should I cite articles on the archive?

Individual records contain links to export their reference in a variety of formats. Just choose one of the Export/Citation options on any given record.

May I remove a preprint once it is posted?

Yes. Papers can be removed. Unfortunately the EPrints software does not allow you to remove papers automatically. Removal is initiated with a removal request, accessible through the links "Deposit Papers" --> "Review your documents in the archive".

Archive staff will then remove the paper as quickly as possible, typically within one business day. All requests for removal will be honored, although we encourage you to leave preprints posted for stability of the archive's contents. Note that most journals do not require the removal of a preprint upon publication. Authors can check a journal's copyright policy by visiting Sherpa/Romeo.

Is there any special connection between the archive and the journal Philosophy of Science?

The archive and the journal are both sponsored by the Philosophy of Science Association. Otherwise there is no direct connection.

How long does it take after a preprint is deposited with the archive for the preprint to become available to the public?

Allow until the end of the next business day following the day the deposit is made. When a preprint is deposited, it immediately gets sent to our "submission buffer" where a staff member does a quick routine check of the preprint's suitability for PhilSci-Archive. The paper is then publicly accessible via a search, though it may not appear immediately in the "browse tree" (which is updated only twice daily, at 1pm and 1am).

Why can I not post a paper to a category in "Conferences and Volumes"?

These categories are dedicated to particular conferences and volumes. Only contributors designated by the conference organizers or volume editors may post papers.

If your conference organizer or volume editor has invited you to post, you may access the instructions for doing so here.

How can I help spread the word about the PhilSci-Archive?

Tell your friends! We've even made a poster to help.

These slides can also be used to introduce the archive to an audience.

Can rocks think?