Editorial Policies

Peer Review Process

All submissions are initially assessed by an Editor, who decides whether the article is suitable for peer review. Submissions considered suitable for peer review are assigned to two or more subject experts, who assess the article for clarity, validity, and sound methodology. If suitable experts external to the journal cannot be found then members of the Editorial Board may be asked to complete a review task.

Authors are invited to make suggestions as to who would be appropriate experts to peer review your submission. Suggested reviewers should not be at the author's current institution or otherwise have a conflict of interest. For each suggested reviewer, authors must include the institutional affiliation, an institutional email address, and a brief note as to why they would be an appropriate choice. If making any recommendations, please make at least three recommendations. Philosophy of Physics does not make any commitment to use reviewers whom are suggested and will normally seek at least one review from a reviewer not on this list.

In exceptional circumstances you may also give names of reviewers who you think should be avoided. Only do so if there are specific and significant reasons (which you should briefly state) why a reviewer would be inappropriate and if those reasons will not be apparent to the editors. Philosophy of Physics does not make any commitment to honor requests for exclusion.

The journal operates an anonymous peer review process, meaning that authors and reviewers do not know each other's identities during the review process. The review period is expected to take around six to eight weeks, although this can vary depending on reviewer availability.

Based on the reviewer reports the editor will make a recommendation for rejection, minor or major revisions, or acceptance. Overall editorial responsibility rests with the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, who is supported by an expert, international Editorial Board.

Members of the editorial board (excluding the editor-in-chief) are permitted to submit their own papers to the journal. In cases where an author is associated with the journal, they will be removed from all editorial tasks for that paper and another member of the team will be assigned responsibility for overseeing peer review. A competing interest must also be declared within the submission and any resulting publication.

Reviewer Guidelines

Reviewers are asked to provide comment on the below topics and guidelines:

  • Content: Does the article fit within the scope of the journal? Is the submission original, relevant and rigorous? Is the author’s depth of understanding of the issues researched adequate? Are the sources and references adequate? Has the existing knowledge base been explored and built upon? Are the chosen methodologies appropriate and have they and the evidential base been appropriately used? Does the conclusion reflect the argument in the main body text and bring something new to the debate.
  • Structure and argument: Does the abstract summarize the arguments in a succinct and accurate way? Is the manuscript logically structured and do the arguments flow coherently? Is there enough reference to methodology in the introduction and are the arguments fully evidenced and substantiated? Does the introduction signpost the arguments in the logical way and does the conclusion adequately summarize them?
  • Figures/tables: Does the author’s use of tables, charts, figures or maps illustrate the arguments and support the evidential base? Is the quality of the formatting and presentation adequate?
  • Formatting: Does the submitted file adhere to the general author guidelines listed for the journal? Are the citations and references formatted to house-style?
  • Language: Is the text well written and jargon free? Please comment on the quality of English and need for grammatical improvement.
  • Data availability: Has data used in the study been adequately described and made available? Is the data curated in a usable format? Is there a 'Data Availability Statement' providing information on how to access the data?

Prior Publication

The journal is happy to accept submissions of articles that have been loaded onto preprint servers or personal websites, have been presented at conferences, or other informal communication channels. These formats will not be deemed prior publication. The journal accepts submissions that have been published within formal conference proceedings, provided that the article provides substantially more data, analysis and/or discussion than the original conference publication. If the article was presented but not formally published then more overlap is permitted. The accepted manuscript may also be uploaded to an open platform, under a CC BY licence. Authors must retain copyright to such postings.

Authors are encouraged to link any prior posting of their article to the final published version within the journal if it is editorially accepted and published.

Preprint Policy

The journal allows authors to deposit draft versions of their article into a suitable preprint server, on condition that the author agrees to the below:

  • The author retains copyright to the preprint and developed works from it, and is permitted to submit to the journal.
  • The author declares that a preprint is available within the cover letter presented during submission. This must include a link to the location of the preprint.
  • The author acknowledges that having a preprint publicly available means that the journal cannot guarantee the anonymity of the author during the review process, even if they anonymize the submitted files (see review policy).
  • Should the submission be published, the authors are expected to update the information associated with the preprint version to show that a final version has been published in the journal, including the DOI linking directly to the publication.

Authorship

All listed authors must qualify as such, as defined in our authorship guidelines, which have been developed from the ICMJE definitions. All authors must have given permission to be listed on the submitted article.

ORCID

The journal strongly recommends that all authors register an account with Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID). Registration provides a unique and persistent digital identifier for the account that enables accurate attribution and improves the discoverability of published articles, ensuring that the correct author receives the correct credit for their work. As the ORCID remains the same throughout the lifetime of the account, changes of name, affiliation, or research area do not effect the discoverability of an author's past work and aid correspondence with colleagues.

The journal encourages all corresponding authors to include an ORCID within their submitting author data whilst co-authors are recommended to include one. ORCID numbers should be added to the author data upon submission and will be published alongside the submitted article, should it be accepted.

Reproducibility

Open Data

The journal strongly encourages authors to make all data associated with their submission openly available, according to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). Data should be cited and referenced within the manuscript and should be linked to from a Data Accessibility Statement, which must describe how the data underlying the findings of the article can be accessed and reused. If data is not being made available with the journal publication (e.g. legal constraints) then a statement from the author should be provided within the submission to explain why. Data obtained from other sources must be appropriately credited. All data should be curated in a format that allows easy understanding and analysis (e.g. sensible column headers, descriptions in a readme text file). This help will ensure its reuse potential.

Structured Methods

As the traditional Materials and Methods section often includes insufficient detail for readers to wholly assess the research process, the journal encourages authors to publish detailed descriptions of their structured methods in open, online platforms such as protocols.io. By providing a step-by-step description of the methods used in the study, the chance of reproducibility and usability increases, whilst also allowing authors to build on their own works and gain additional credit and citations.

Open Code

If research includes the use of software code, statistical analysis or algorithms then we also recommend that authors upload the code into Code Ocean, where it will be hosted on an open, cloud-based computational reproducibility platform, providing researchers and developers with an easy way to share, validate and discover code published in academic journals.

For more information on how to incorporate open data, protocols.io or Code Ocean into a submission, please visit our reproducibility page.

Competing Interests, Funding and Ethics

To ensure transparency, authors, reviewers and editors are required to declare any interests that could compromise, conflict or influence the validity of the publication. Competing interests guidelines can be viewed here.

In addition, authors are required to specify funding sources and detail requirements for ethical research in the submitted manuscript, ensuring that ethical approval and consent statements are detailed within the manuscript (see Author Guidelines).

Corrections and Retractions

The publisher handles different kinds of error in accordance with guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (where applicable). All articles have their proofs checked prior to publication by the author/editor, which should ensure that content errors are not present. Please contact your the journal or publisher if an article needs correcting.

Post-publication changes are not permitted to the publication, unless in circumstances relating to factual inaccuracies that affect the data or conclusions being drawn. If an error is discovered in a published article then the publisher will assess whether a Correction article or Retraction is required. Visit our Correction Policy page for more information.

Appeals, Complaints & Misconduct

Appeals, complaints, or allegations of misconduct will be taken with utmost seriousness, regardless of whether those involved are internal or external to the journal, or whether the submission in question is pre- or post-publication. If an allegation is made to the journal, it must also be passed on to the publisher, who will follow guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) on how to address the nature of the problem.

Should an individual wish to submit an appeal, complaint or raise an issue of potential misconduct regarding the journal or its content, they should first read the full Appeals, Complaints, and Misconduct policy and then contact that editor in chief and/or the publisher to explain their concerns.

Expected behavior

The journal does not tolerate abusive behavior or correspondence towards its staff, academic editors, authors, or reviewers. Any person engaged with the journal who resorts to abusive behavior or correspondence will have their contribution immediately withdrawn and future engagement with the journal will be at the discretion of the editor and/or publisher.