Open Access in 60 Seconds

Video about Open Access. (CC BY 3.0 DE)
Source: Brinken, H., Hauss, J. &  Rücknagel, J. (2021). Open Access in 60 seconds,

Open Access in Philosophy

In philosophy, green open access predominates. Whereas the traditional scholarly journals of philosophy do not yet allow free access, it is becoming increasingly common for authors to make their papers accessible in repositories (especially in PhilPapers). Green open access has thus greatly improved the accessibility of scholarly literature in philosophy. By contrast, open access journals that levy article processing charges (APCs) have been less well received. For example, in 2018, the British Philosophical Association came out in favour of green open access and against gold open access with APCs. A number of recognised open access journals that do not charge publication fees are listed below. The publication of preprints is not very widespread in the discipline to date.

Open Access Journals

As of July 2021, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) listed 304 entries in the sub-disciplines of philosophy under the rubric “Philosophy, Psychology, Religion”. Some of these open access journals charge authors publication fees.

Influenced by the open access idea and the development of free digital publishing software, over three dozen open access journals of philosophy have been established in recent years. Although these journals are sometimes narrow in scope, they complement the dominance of broad-scope journals from familiar sub-disciplines of philosophy. The following overview provides an impression of the range of these new journals.

Important open access journals of philosophy include:

Besides journals published by non-commercial bodies, this list also contains open access journals from conventional publishers. Most open access journals are young, and established journals are rarely converted to open access. An exception is Faith and Philosophy, the leading journal of analytical philosophy of religion.

A list with an extended selection of younger open access journals can be downloaded here.

Financing of Open Access Articles. [german] (CC BY 3.0 DE)
Source: Brinken, H. (2020). Finanzierung von Open-Access-Artikeln,

Open Access Books

As of July 2021, the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) listed 208 titles under the keyword “Philosophy”. A further 10 sub-disciplines of philosophy are captured with their own entries, which are not included in the main category. The OAPEN Library listed over 200 titles under the rubric “Philosophy” (as of July 2021).

The Publishers of OA books list, which is part of the Open Access Directory, includes publishers whose portfolios include philosophy titles. University presses usually offer the possibility of publishing books open access. Whereas, conventional publishers generally require authors to grant them exclusive rights of use, university presses and other open access publishers content themselves with non-exclusive rights of use.

A considerable number of conventional publishers also offer open access options. The financial framework conditions of such offerings vary greatly.

Noteworthy among the publishers and book series are:

Disciplinary Repositories

The most important repositories in philosophy include:

  • PhilPapers: a comprehensive text archive and bibliographic search instrument
  • PhilSci: an archive for natural philosophy and philosophy of science
  • HAL-SHS: an archive for human and social sciences
  • Cogprints: an archive for cognitive sciences
  • Sammelpunkt: a repository for electronically archived theory

An overview of relevant repositories is also provided by the Open Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR).

In practice, scholars are happy to use para-academic publication platforms that require readers to register, and that restrict the rights of the authors who publish their works on the platform. However, the long-term availability of the materials is not guaranteed by publishing them on such platforms or on private websites.

Source: Brehm, E. (2021). Zweitveröffentlichungsrecht für Wissenschaftler*innen [german], Brinken, Helene. (CC BY 3.0 DE)

Other Offerings

The platform Euporia aims to increase the discoverability of open science offerings in philosophy. It hosts open access primary and secondary literature in the field of philosophy as well as thematic collections and blog discussions.

On the platform Humanities Commons, there are philosophy publications, topics, and working groups.

The Radical Open Access Collective, a community of scholar-led not-for-profit publishers, journals, and other open access projects, was founded in 2015. The Collective also provides an Information Portal with general technical and bibliographic resources and radical open access literature. 

The online archives JSTOR and Project MUSE now also provide open access content relevant to philosophy.

Further Reading

Content editors of this page: Prof. Dr Herbert Hrachovec (Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna) and Prof. Dr Dr Daniel von Wachter (Internationale Akademie für Philosophie im Fürstentum Liechtenstein) (Last updated: July 2021)