Institutional Subscriptions

For PhilPapers to survive and thrive, it needs financial support. We have considered many different models, including asking for donations and requiring subscriptions. After much consultation, it has become clear to us that the best way forward is a model involving annual subscriptions for large institutions.

Since July 1, 2014, the PhilPapers Foundation requires that research and teaching institutions located in high-GDP countries and offering a BA or higher degree in philosophy subscribe to PhilPapers in order to have the right of access to its index. Access to certain services, such as the public API and the Open Access Archive, remains free, as does access to PhilEvents and PhilJobs: Jobs for Philosophers. Access also remains free for individuals accessing PhilPapers from home.

We believe that this model provides the right balance of open access and financial support. PhilPapers remains a noncommercial enterprise administered by the nonprofit PhilPapers Foundation as a service to the philosophical community.

What is PhilPapers?

PhilPapers is an online research hub in philosophy that combines the following four services:

  • A publication index of philosophy journal articles, book reviews, books, and book chapters in all languages.
  • An open access aggregator that indexes open access philosophical content found on over one thousand open access archives and three thousand personal pages maintained by professional philosophers.
  • An open access archive that hosts the largest collection of open access philosophical material on the Internet (OAI-PMH handler here).
  • A structured bibliography comprising nearly five thousand subcategories covering all subjects in philosophy.

PhilPapers allows philosophers to search, browse, and monitor the above content seamlessly through a unified interface. PhilPapers also supports hundreds of independent sites that draw on its content through its open access Application Programming Interface (API).

The contents of PhilPapers' indexes and bibliographies are maintained by thousands of academics who volunteer their time. Over six hundred academics are officially appointed as Category Editors.

Who is using PhilPapers?

The majority of professional philosophers active in research, from graduate students to faculty members, have PhilPapers accounts and use them regularly. There are currently 399,604 registered PhilPapers users, most of whom are either faculty members or students in philosophy. PhilPapers serves millions of pages per month.

See who is using PhilPapers at your institution

Why should my institution support PhilPapers?

There are four main reasons why university libraries and other major institutional users should support PhilPapers:

  • PhilPapers plays an important and unique role as the main hub of research in philosophy.
  • PhilPapers is the best search index for philosophy. See why.
  • PhilPapers makes economic sense. PhilPapers replaces traditional citation indexes that are several times more expensive, and it does more.
  • PhilPapers is an investment in open access. We promote open access archival both on PhilPapers itself and on institutional repositories.

See how PhilPapers compares to other services

PhilPapers' financial situation

PhilPapers was initially developed (2006-09) by David Bourget and David Chalmers on their own time. From mid-2009 to mid-2011, we benefited from a JISC grant managed by the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London, and from other resources provided by the Institute of Philosophy. Since mid-2013, PhilPapers has a new home at the University of Western Ontario, where Bourget holds a tenure-track appointment in philosophy, with teaching, service, and research duties in addition to his work on PhilPapers.

To maintain PhilPapers and related services to their full potential, at least three full-time staff members are needed, along with expensive computing resources and an administrative assistant. This requires a budget of over $300,000 per year.

Services included with subscriptions

Institutional subscriptions come with the following services:

  • Access to PhilPapers' index for an unlimited number of affiliated users.
  • Priority technical support for affiliated faculty.
  • Institutional accounts enabling librarians to configure PhilPapers to work with their institution's OpenURL resolver (e.g. SFX, WebBridge) or reverse proxy (e.g. EZProxy).
  • Counter-compliant usage statistics

See this page for the full details on subscriptions terms and conditions.

Who has to pay to use PhilPapers?

Only qualifying institutions are required (or allowed) to subscribe. A qualifying institution is an institution that grants a BA in philosophy or similar degree (or higher degree) and is based in a country with a 2009-2013 GDP per capita of at least 30,000 Int$ according to the World Bank.

Individuals who are not accessing PhilPapers from a qualifying institution are not affected and do not have to pay. PhilPapers editors are also exempt from having to subscribe, in all circumstances.


Except for UK universities, the annual rates for qualifying institutions are based on the highest degree in philosophy offered:

Tier Highest philosophy degree offered Annual rate
Tier 1 BA or equivalentUS$605
Tier 2 MA or equivalent (e.g. M.Phil)US$972
Tier 3 PhD or equivalent (e.g. D.Phil)US$1509

In consultation with JISC, UK universities are assigned tiers based on the number of full-time faculty members specializing in philosophy (relevant faculty size). The minimum relevant faculty size for tiers 2 and 3 is 6 and 13 (inclusive), respectively. We provide estimates of UK tiers on this page. These estimates are derived from PhilPapers user statistics. UK universities are billed based on the tier estimates on this page at the time of invoicing. It is the responsibility of subscribing universities to inform us of tier corrections as required. If an invoice recipient does not correct the tier used by the due date on the invoice, the tier will be deemed correct for the period covered by the invoice. The cutoff points are calibrated to yield a price structure comparable to that in place for US universities.

Please note that while non-qualifying institutions have free access, we cannot currently provide them with institutional accounts. We are working on low-cost subscriptions for non-qualifying institutions that would like to have the benefits of institutional accounts.

Multi-campus universities and consortia are required to purchase a subscription for each campus that is an institution in its own right. A campus is considered an institution in its own right for subscription purposes if it appears on this list, which we reserve the right to amend at any time. If your organization is not accurately represented in this list, please contact us at to request an amendment.

Canadian subscribers are invoiced in CAD; other subscribers are invoiced in US dollars. HST/GST applies for Canadian subscribers.

Can I donate to PhilPapers?

Absolutely. Please write to us at .

How can I help?

If you are a regular faculty member, please show your support by contacting your librarian (click here to find their contact details). We accept subscriptions purchased by departments themselves, but PhilPapers is the kind of service that is normally funded by libraries.

If you are a librarian, please subscribe your institution.

Why am I seeing a pop up "Notice" about subscriptions?

You are seeing a pop up notice because you are browsing PhilPapers from a Qualifying Institution that has not subscribed. We are not currently blocking access from such institutions, but some users from these institutions will see banners like this one once per day, with an associated delay. The frequency and the delay period may increase in the future.

Purchasing a subscription

You can purchase a subscription for your institution or consortium by filling out the application form and forwarding the appropriate payment via check or wire. Institutional accounts will be issued once the payment has cleared. Each institutional account comes with a management console where institutional representatives can configure IP addresses and proxy/openURL access.