Research articles must comprise original research. These should make a substantial contribution to knowledge and understanding in the subject matter of the journal.
Submissions are currently restricted to members of the Philosophy of Physics Society. You can join at very low cost here.
This section is peer reviewed.
What we publish
Philosophy of Physics aims to publish the best original work in philosophy of physics, broadly construed. Accepted papers will make a novel and significant contribution to the philosophy of physics that is of direct interest to experts in the field and which explicitly acknowledges and responds to existing work in the area. All submissions are peer reviewed.
Philosophy of Physics does not publish proposals for new physical theories, of the kind that would be more appropriately considered by Physical Review or a similar physics journal.
Articles in Philosophy of Physics are normally restricted to 10,000 words, inclusive of title, abstract, footnotes, and any appendices, but exclusive of the bibliography.
Longer articles will be considered in exceptional cases where, in the editors’ judgements, there is a clear reason for exceeding the 10,000 word limit. Authors should enclose a note on submission explaining that reason.
Preparing your paper for anonymous review
To mitigate bias, Philosophy of Physics makes every effort to review papers without communicating the author’s identity to the reviewers. To facilitate this, please ensure to the greatest extent possible that the paper does not contain information that identifies you to reviewers. This must be satisfactorily carried out before we are able to send the paper out for review.
- Your name should of course not appear as ‘author’ in the paper.
- Omit acknowledgements and, where possible without compromising scholarship, personal communications with other academics
- Where possible, you should refer to your own published work in the third person, e.g., ‘As (Smith, 2020) argues’, not ‘as I argue (Smith.2020)’.
- Where this is not possible without compromising the scholarly argument of your paper, use the form ‘As I argue [omitted for blind review]’.
- You should not significantly distort the argumentative structure of your paper in order to facilitate anonymous review. (An argument, for instance, should never be omitted even if it risks compromising your anonymity).
- You are permitted and encouraged to place your submitted article to philsci-archive.org, arxiv.org, philpapers.org, and similar online preprint repositories. The editors’ view is that the scholarly benefit of doing so substantially outweighs the disadvantages for anonymity.
The names of all authors, affiliations, contact details, biography (optional), and the corresponding author details must be completed online as part of the submission process. All authors must fit within the journal's definition of an author, available here.
Author names should include a forename and a surname. Forenames should not consist only of initials.
- J. Bloggs is not preferred. The full name, Joe Bloggs is required (this will enhance the 'findability' of your publication).
The affiliation should ideally include ‘Department, Institution, City, Country’. However, only the Institution and Country are mandatory.
Formatting of submissions
Submitted articles must have the main text prefaced by an abstract of no more than 250 words summarising the main arguments and conclusions of the article. This must have the heading ‘Abstract’ and be easily identified from the start of the main text.
A list of up to six key words may be placed below the abstract (optional).
The Abstract and Keywords should also be added to the metadata when making the initial online submission.
Otherwise, initially submitted papers may use any reasonable formatting style; they need be reformatted according to the journal’s requirements only upon acceptance.
Manuscripts must be prepared as LaTeX, though original submissions should be in PDF form. In exceptional circumstances where authors are unable to prepare LaTeX, they may submit in alternative form at the review stage, but should explain that they are doing so in the cover letter.
The body of the submission should be structured in a logical and easy to follow manner. A clear introduction section should be given that, insofar as possible, allows non-specialists in the subject an understanding of the publication and a background of the issue(s) involved.
Up to three level headings may be present and must be clearly identifiable using different font sizes, bold or italics. We suggest using LaTeX’s section/subsection/subsubsection functionality.
Any acknowledgements must be headed and in a separate paragraph, placed after the main text but before the reference list.
Funding Information (if applicable)
Should the research have received a funding grant then the grant provider and grant number should be detailed.
If any of the authors have any competing interests then these must be declared. A short paragraph should be placed before the references. Guidelines for competing interests can be found here.
Authors' contributions (optional)
For joint-authored papers authors are encouraged (but not required) to include a sentence or a short paragraph detailing the roles that each author held to contribute to the authorship of the submission. Individuals listed must fit within the definition of an author, as per our authorship guidelines.
All references cited within the manuscript must be listed at the end of the main text file. The list of references should not include any item not explicitly cited in the body of the manuscript.
The author is responsible for obtaining all permissions required prior to submission of the manuscript. Permission and owner details should be mentioned for all third-party content included in the submission or used in the research.
Language & Text
Title and headings
In the submission title, capitalise all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions (e.g. as, because, although). Use lowercase for all articles, coordinate conjunctions and prepositions.
e.g. Getting Lost in a Dark Wood: the Impasse of the Quantum Measurement Problem
First-level headings in the text should follow the same rule as the main title.
For lower-level subheadings, only capitalise the first letter and proper nouns.
Headings should be under 75 characters.
Spelling and grammar
Submissions must be made in US English.
- The serial comma should be used. E.g.: red, white, and blue
- Use space em-dashes without spaces (not en-dash), in a sentence—like this—when used to denote an interruption in a sentence.
- Follow US conventions for punctuation of quotations. Put the punctuation inside the quote.
- If bracketed text falls within your sentence, write it in sentence case with no punctuation inside the bracket (like this). (If bracketed text forms a complete sentence, the full stop falls within the parentheses.)
- For apostrophes, use the normal possessive ending 's after singular words. Possessive plurals end in s'.
- Hyphenation – words. For hyphenated words, consistency within a title or issue is most important. (For example, either policymaker or policy-maker is acceptable, but apply consistently throughout the issue.
- Hyphenation – compound adjectives. In short, use a hyphen for short compounds, and when the meaning is ambiguous without one. So, use them for: two-tonne vessel, 19th-century politics, world-leading research, but not open access scholarship or civil rights movement. They are not required for adverbs ending in -ly, i.e. a democratically elected government.
- Use a single space (not double space) after a full stop.
The font used should be commonly available and in an easily readable size. This will be changed during the typesetting process.
Underlining and emphasis
Underlined text should be avoided whenever possible.
Bold or italicised text to emphasise a point are permitted, although should be restricted to minimal occurrences to maximise their efficiency.
Use bullet points to denote a list without hierarchy or order of value. If the list indicates a specific sequence then a numbered list must be used.
Use double quotation marks except for quotes within another speech, in which case single quotation marks are used.
Quotations that are longer than three lines in length must be in an indented paragraph separate from the main text.
The standard, non-italicised font must be used for all quotes.
It must be clear from the text and/or citation where the quote is sourced from. If quoting from material that is under copyright, then permission will need to be obtained from the copyright holder.
Acronyms & Abbreviations
With abbreviations, the crucial goal is to ensure that the reader – particularly one who may not be fully familiar with the topic or context being addressed – is able to follow along. Spell out almost all acronyms on first use, indicating the acronym in parentheses immediately thereafter. Use the acronym for all subsequent references.
- Quantum field theory (QFT) has a number of competing formulations …
A number of abbreviations are so common that they do not require the full text on the first instance. Examples of these can be found here. It is also not necessary to spell out abbreviations where the abbreviation itself is the standard way of referring to the entity, e.g. CERN, LIGO.
Abbreviations should usually be in capital letters without full stops: QM, not Q.M.
Common examples from Latin origin do not follow this rule and should be lower case and can include full stops.
- e.g., i.e., etc.
Use of footnotes/endnotes
Use endnotes rather than footnotes (we refer to these as ‘Notes’ in the online publication). These will appear at the end of the main text, before ‘References’.
All notes should be used only where crucial clarifying information needs to be conveyed.
Avoid using notes for purposes of referencing, with in-text citations used instead. If in-text citations cannot be used, a source can be cited as part of a note.
Please insert the endnote marker after the end punctuation.
Symbols are permitted within the main text and datasets as long as they are commonly in use or have explanatory definition on their first usage.
Formulae must be proofed carefully by the author. Editors will not edit formulae. If special software has been used to create formulae, the way it is laid out is the way they will appear in the publication.
- For numbers zero to nine please spell the whole words rather than use numeric figures. Please use figures for numbers 10 or higher, so: this study looked at five case studies; this study looked at 12 case studies.
- We are happy for authors to use either words or figures to represent large whole figures (i.e., one million or 1,000,000) as long as the usage is consistent throughout the text.
- If the sentence includes a series of numbers then figures must be used in each instance, e.g.: ‘Artefacts were found at depths of 5, 9, and 29cm’.
- If the number appears as part of a dataset, in conjunction with a symbol or as part of a table, then the figure must be used.
- If a number is presented with a symbol then the figure must be not separated from the unit by a space.
- You can use % or per cent, but use consistently throughout the title or article (if you use per cent, then % can be used within figures). Use percentage point where necessary, not % point.
- If a sentence starts with a number it must be spelt, or the sentence should be re-written so that it no longer starts with the number.‘Fifteen examples were found to exist …’ or ‘The result showed that 15 examples existed’.
- When a number consists of more than four digits it must be split by a comma after every three digits to the left of the decimal place: 23,654.
- Use a stop for a decimal place. Do not use a comma: 2.43 NOT 2,43.
- Numbers that are less than zero must have ‘0’ precede the decimal point: 0.24 NOT .24
- Do not use superscript for st, th etc, so 50th, 16th century.
- Use N-dashes in number ranges [but see above for hyphens, n-dashes and m-dashes]. No space should be around the dash: 10–25 years, pp. 10–65.
Units of measurement
Symbols following a figure to denote a unit of measurement must be taken from the latest SI brochure. See http://www.bipm.org/utils/common/pdf/si_brochure_8_en.pdf for the full brochure, but the below are the more common examples.
- ampere A
- centimetre cm
- degree (angular) °
- degree Celsius °C
- gram g
- hour h
- kilogramme kg
- kilometre km
- litre l (spell out if confusion is possible)
- metre m
- microgram µg
- milligramme mg
- millimetre mm
- minute (of time) min
- newton N
- second (of time) s
Dates, months and years
Please give dates as: month, day, year (e.g., March 15 2020).
When in the main text, months must be written in full.
If displayed as part of a dataset then a shortened version is acceptable as long as the meaning is still clear.
- January – Jan; February – Feb etc.
Use figures for years, decades and centuries. Do not include an apostrophe before the ‘s’.
- 16th century [but 16th-century building, if used adjectively]. Not superscript.
When presented in the main text, fractions must be written in words, not figures.
- Three-fourths of the study sample….
- The study showed that two-fifths of the population….
- £ for British Pound Sterling, € for Euro, e.g., £50, €100
- US$, C$, NZ$, A$ to distinguish between the different dollar currencies
If the currency is unclear from the symbol then it must be written in full for the first use and then abbreviated thereafter
- 45 Egyptian Pounds (E£ or EGP)
There must be no space between the currency symbol and the number
Time of the day can be given in either 12 or 24 hour clock, as long as the format is consistently used. If using 12 hour clock then ‘am’ and pm’ must immediately follow the digits to denote before (am) or after (pm) midday
Figures & Tables
Figures, including graphs and diagrams, must be professionally and clearly presented. If a figure is not easy to understand or does not appear to be of a suitable quality, the editor may ask to re-render or omit it.
All figures must be cited within the main text, in consecutive order using Arabic numerals (e.g. Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.).
Each figure must have an accompanying descriptive main title. This should clearly and concisely summarise the content and/or use of the figure image. A short additional figure legend is optional to offer a further description.
- Figure 1: 1685 map of London.
- Figure 1: 1685 map of London. Note the addition of St Paul’s Cathedral, absent from earlier maps.
Figure titles and legends should be placed within the text document, either after the paragraph of their first citation, or as a list after the references.
The source of the image should be included, along with any relevant copyright information and a statement of authorisation (if needed).
- Figure 1: Firemen try to free workers buried under piles of concrete and metal girders. Photo: Claude-Michel Masson. Reproduced with permission of the photographer.
If your figure file includes text then please present the font as Ariel, Helvetica, or Verdana. This will mean that it matches the typeset text.
NOTE: All figures must be uploaded separately as supplementary files during the submission process, if possible in colour and at a resolution of at least 300dpi. Each file should not be more than 20MB. Standard formats accepted are: JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, EPS. For line drawings, please provide the original vector file (e.g. .ai, or .eps).
Tables must be created using a word processor's table function, not tabbed text.
Tables should be included in the manuscript. The final layout will place the tables as close to their first citation as possible.
All tables must be cited within the main text, and numbered with Arabic numerals in consecutive order (e.g. Table 1, Table 2, etc.).
Each table must have an accompanying descriptive title. This should clearly and concisely summarise the content and/or use of the table. A short additional table legend is optional to offer a further description of the table. The table title and legend should be placed above the table.
Tables should not include:
- Rotated text
- Colour to denote meaning (it will not display the same on all devices)
- Vertical or diagonal lines
- Multiple parts (e.g. ‘Table 1a’ and ‘Table 1b’). These should either be merged into one table, or separated into ‘Table 1’ and ‘Table 2’.
NOTE: If there are more columns than can fit on a single page, then the table will be placed horizontally on the page. If it still can't fit horizontally on a page, the table will be broken into two.
Every use of information from other sources must be cited in the text so that it is clear that external material has been used. This journal follows Chicago style.
It is not necessary to provide original citations for standard physics or mathematics material. However, it is helpful to the reader in this case to provide references to standard textbooks or review articles. For genuinely elementary and/or standard material (e.g. the Einstein field equations, the definition of a differentiable manifold) no such reference is required.
If the author is already mentioned in the main text then the year should follow the name within parenthesis.
- Both Jones (2013) and Brown (2010) showed that …
If the author name is not mentioned in the main text then the surname and year should be inserted, in parenthesis, after the relevant text. Multiple citations should be separated by semicolon and follow alphabetical order.
- The statistics clearly show this to be untrue (Brown 2010; Jones 2013).
If three or fewer authors are cited from the same citation then all should be listed. If four or more authors are part of the citation then ‘et al.’ should follow the first author name.
- (Jones, Smith, and Brown 2008)
- (Jones et al. 2008)
If citations are used from the same author and the same year, then a lowercase letter, starting from ‘a’, should be placed after the year.
- (Jones 2013a; Jones 2013b)
If specific pages are being cited then the page number should follow the year, after a comma.
- (Brown 2004, 65; Jones 2013, 143)
For publications authored and published by organisations, use the short form of the organisation’s name or its acronym in lieu of the full name.
- (CERN 2000) NOT (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire 2000)
Please do not include URLs in parenthetical citations, but rather cite the author or page title and include all details, including the URL, in the reference list.
All citations must be listed at the end of the text file, in alphabetical order of authors’ surnames.
All reading materials should be included in ‘References’ – works which have not been cited within the main text, but which the author wishes to share with the reader, must be cited as additional information in endnotes explaining the relevance of the work. This will ensure that all works within the reference list are cited within the text.
NOTE: If multiple works by the same author are being listed, please re-type the author’s name out for each entry, rather than using a long dash.
NOTE: DOIs should be included for all reference entries, where possible, as well as URLs for other online sources.
This journal uses the Chicago ‘author-year’ reference system – see below for examples of how to format (for more information, visit The Chicago Manual of Style Online):
Last name, First name. Year. Title. Place of publication: Publisher. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/xx.xxxxxxxx
Pollan, Michael. 2006. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin. Ward, Geoffrey C., and Ken Burns. 2007. The War: An Intimate History, 1941–1945. New York: Knopf.
- Chapters within books:
Last name, First name. Year. “Chapter title.” In Book title, edited by Editor name, Page numbers, Place of publication: Publisher. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/xx.xxxxxxxx
Kelly, John D. 2010. “Seeing Red: Mao Fetishism, Pax Americana, and the Moral Economy of War.” In Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency, edited by John D. Kelly, Beatrice Jauregui, Sean T. Mitchell, and Jeremy Walton, 67–83. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Journal articles:
Last name, First name. Year. “Article title.” Journal title Volume(issue): Page numbers. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/xx.xxxxxxxx
Kossinets, Gueorgi, and Duncan J. Watts. 2009. “Origins of Homophily in an Evolving Social Network.” American Journal of Sociology 115:405–50. Accessed February 28, 2010. doi:10.1086/599247.
- Newspaper articles (online):
Last name, First name. Year. “Article title.” Newspaper title, Month Date. Accessed Month Date Year. URL.
Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, and Robert Pear. 2010. “Wary Centrists Posing Challenge in Health Care Vote.” New York Times, February 27. Accessed February 28, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/us/politics/28health.html.
- Newspaper articles (print):
Last name, First name. Year. “Article title.” Newspaper title, Month Date.
Mendelsohn, Daniel. 2010. “But Enough about Me.” New Yorker, January 25.
- Conference papers:
Last name, First name. Year. “Title.” Paper presented at Conference name, Conference location, Month Date.
Adelman, Rachel. 2009. “ ‘Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On’: God’s Footstool in the Aramaic Targumim and Midrashic Tradition.” Paper presented at the annual meeting for the Society of Biblical Literature, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 21–24.
- Organisational publications/Grey literature:
Organisation. Year. “Title.” Series/publication number. Retrieved from (if online).
World Bank. 2008. “Textbooks and school library provision in secondary education in Sub-Saharan Africa.” World Bank Working Paper No. 126. Africa Human Development Series. Retrieved from EBL database.
- Theses and dissertations:
Last name, First name. Year. “Title.” PhD diss., University name. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/xx.xxxxxxxx
Choi, Mihwa. 2008. “Contesting Imaginaires in Death Rituals during the Northern Song Dynasty.” PhD diss., University of Chicago.
Author/Organisation. Year. “Title.” Accessed Month Date. URL
McDonald’s Corporation. 2008. “McDonald’s Happy Meal Toy Safety Facts.” Accessed July 19. http://www.mcdonalds.com/corp/about/factsheets.html.
Submission Preparation Checklist
- All third-party-owned materials used have been identified with appropriate credit lines, and permission has been obtained from the copyright holder for all formats of the journal. Authors acknowledge their responsibility to gain all permissions prior to submission.
- All authors qualify as authors, as defined in the authorship guidelines, and have given permission to be listed on the submitted paper. Every effort has been made to ensure that the submission is ready for peer review according to the journal's review policy. The author acknowledges that they are responsible for anonymizing their submitted files.
- The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.
- All funding statements and acknowledgements have been added to the manuscript.
- The corresponding author is submitting an ORCID identifier in their author data and co-authors have been recommended to also provide an ORCID, as per the journal policy.
- The submission has not been previously published in a journal, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor). Philosophy of Physics welcomes papers that have previously been published on a preprint server
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms. If a submission is rejected or withdrawn prior to publication, all rights return to the author(s):
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
Should any author(s) require that the published article deviate from the above (e.g. copyright needs to reside with your employer or an alternative license is required - e.g. authors who are Crown employees), you must add this request to your cover letter to the editor. The submitting author is responsible for requesting (and following up) this deviation from the standard licensing agreement. All deviations from the above must be agreed in writing as early as possible in the submission process and must be in place before the article is sent for typesetting.
The Philosophy of Physics Society is grateful for the financial support from institutions and individuals which has made the launch of Philosophy of Physics possible. The journal does not currently charge authors for processing and publishing articles.