JISC 10: Demo: PhilPapers

Philpapers is the the only research index for philosophy content only – a crucial service since searching for philosophy content on platforms like Google scholar very rarely works effectively.

David Bourget from the School of Advanced Study, University of London led the early morning demonstration of PhilPapers its benefits and uses.

Philpapers provides:

  • An index of research content from all sources (journals, books, personal pages, Open Access archives)
  • An Open Access archive for philosophy
  • A growing number of VRE services


  • It’s got its own search index with a category system that can brings up topics related to searches. (So if you do a search on “Socratic”, the categories of pre-Socratic philosophy and Ancient Greek Philosophy will be suggested.) There are 3,000 of these topics managed by a board of editors.
  •  It also allows academics to stay up to date. There’s a function that allows them to monitor new papers (filtered by topic, etc) and they can also be alerted to new material in fields they are interested in via email and RSS.
  • There are 200,000 items in the site archive.
  • There are also 3000 personal pages relating to individuals who use and contribute to the site.
  • There are opportunities to contribute content – full fledged open access archive.
  • Users can edit and help categorise papers.
  • It provides bibliographic management software.
  • Papers can be discussed in discussion forums – and the authors of papers will receive automatic notification that their papers are being discussed.


  • There are now 15,000 registered users with profiles since launch in 2009 – 50% of whom are faculty or graduate students in philosophy.
  • The site also receives 10,000 visitors per day.
  • Although that doesn’t seem a huge number in Google terms, it is a big number in philosophy terms. Especially since it’s not much more than a year since launch.

In short, PhilPapers is already a highly valued and well-used resource within the philosophy community.