Philosophy Compass

Cover image for Vol. 11 Issue 5

Edited By: Elizabeth Barnes

Online ISSN: 1747-9991

Author Guidelines

Click here for pdf version.

What is Philosophy Compass?

Philosophy Compass ( offers the quality of a scholarly journal combined with the speed and functionality of the Web. 

Philosophy Compass publishes peer-reviewed survey articles on a continuous basis, with new articles appearing as soon as they are ready.  All articles are listed in the major abstracting index for the relevant discipline.  Compass operates the same quality control procedures as for any Wiley-Blackwell journal, both in terms of editorial and production standards.


Philosophy Compass articles allow scholars and advanced students to: 

• keep up with new developments and trends in research
• teach in a new or unfamiliar area outside of their speciality
• ensure that students are exposed only to quality-controlled online content (as opposed to unvalidated content from search engines)

Encompassing all areas across the discipline, Philosophy Compass publishes original, peer-reviewed survey articles on a continuous basis. Articles are indexed in The Philosopher’s Index.

In addition, the journal also offers select Teaching & Learning Guides, and VLE / CMS compatibility (e.g. Blackboard, WebCT, Moodle).

Author Benefits

Benefits for authors include:

• Article published within 6-8 weeks after acceptance of final copy
• A citable, peer-reviewed article, with a permanent DOI
• Indexing in The Philosopher’s Index
• International exposure / broad readership
• PDF offprint
• Free personal access to Philosophy Compass for 1 year
• Online biography detailing your publications and research interests
• 5% off a subscription for your institution

In addition, you will receive free Wiley-Blackwell books of your choice to the value of £30/$50, if your manuscript is submitted by the agreed deadline.

The Compass Audience

The Compass audience consists of research and teaching faculty, graduate students and advanced undergraduates – from potentially any area of the discipline.  This is a distinguishing feature of the journal, and a benefit to authors in terms of enhanced exposure.  You are writing for your peers, but also for researchers and students from unrelated areas. It is therefore crucial that Compass articles always remain accessible to non-specialists. The writing should be authoritative and lively.

Philosophy Compass readers will be able to cite your article in their publications, email details of the article to their colleagues, or use it in their class reading lists.

Article Length and Scope

In general, articles should run between 3000-5000 words.  Longer articles can be considered at the Section Editor’s discretion. The Section Editor will agree the topic of your article with you before you begin to write your piece.

The writing style should be crisp, concise and informative, and livelier than a research paper. Remember: you are writing for non-specialists from many different areas. Your article will be their gateway into a new subject. Your aim is to engage as well as inform the reader.

Articles will fall into at least one of the following three categories and will answer one or more of the questions below:

1) Recent research and debates in your field – What debates are driving your field? What new research has been published? What does it add to these debates or the field more generally? Can you put that new research in context? Does a new school of thought or paradigm seem to be developing? Has a new controversy erupted?

2) Comparative look across sections or boundaries – Are there related things happening in different fields? Can you suggest comparisons that have not been fully explored? Can one area provide an insight into another when used in teaching or research?

3) State of the field – Can you offer a fresh perspective on developments in your field? Perhaps there are arguments or fads drawing attention away from what you think are the critical points? Perhaps the field is stagnating? Are students and teachers flocking to or fleeing from your field? Is your area well and fairly covered in the media? Are there resources or archives that are new or underused and are worthy of attention? Has the field been affected by or is it impacting on current affairs?

Articles submitted to Compass should not have been previously published or accepted to be published elsewhere. Papers presented at a conference or symposium may be accepted for publication by agreement with the relevant editor.

Examples of Compass Articles

If you have not already done so, please feel free to visit the site, where you can see the kind of articles already published: The most popular articles are available free on the right-hand side of the homepage. Sample articles can also be found on the Blackwell Compass portal:  

Writing Your Article

Journal Style: MLA

MLA style should be used for inline citations and the list of Works Cited. Examples can be found towards the end of these guidelines.

Optimising Your Title and Abstract   Many students and researcher looking for information online will use search engines such as Google, Yahoo! or similar. By optimizing your title and abstract, you will increase the chance of someone finding it. This in turn will make it more likely to be viewed and/or cited in another work. In order to optimise your abstract, we recommend you
• Ensure the key phrases for your article’s topic appear in the title and abstract e.g. ‘postcolonial history.’
• Use the same key phrases, if possible, in the title and abstract. Note of caution: unnecessary repetition will result in the page being rejected by search engines so don't overdo it.

Example of Well-Optimised Title/Abstract
Genocide and Holocaust Consciousness in Australia
Ever since the British colonists in Australia became aware of the disappearance of the indigenous peoples in the 1830s, they have contrived to excuse themselves by pointing to the effects of disease and displacement. Yet although 'genocide' was not a term used in the nineteenth century, 'extermination' was, and many colonists called for the extermination of Aborigines when they impeded settlement by offering resistance. Consciousness of genocide was suppressed during the twentieth century ? until the later 1960s, when a critical school of historians began serious investigations of frontier violence. Their efforts received official endorsement in the 1990s, but profound cultural barriers prevent the development of a general 'genocide consciousness'. One of these is 'Holocaust consciousness', which is used by conservative and right-wing figures to play down the gravity of what transpired in Australia. These two aspects of Australian public memory are central to the political humanisation of the country.
This article appears on the first page of results on Google for ‘holocaust consciousness Australia.’

Poorly Optimized Title/Abstract
Australia's Forgotten Victims
Ever since the British colonists in Australia became aware of the disappearance of the indigenous peoples in the 1830s, they have contrived to excuse themselves by pointing to the effects of disease and displacement. Many colonists called for the extermination of Aborigines when they impeded settlement by offering resistance, yet there was no widespread public acknowledgement of this as a policy until the later 1960s, when a critical school of historians began serious investigations of frontier violence. Their efforts received official endorsement in the 1990s, but profound cultural barriers prevent the development of a general awareness of this. Conservative and right-wing figures continue to play down the gravity of what transpired. These two aspects of Australian public memory are central to the political humanisation of the country.

• People tend to search for specifics, not just one word - e.g. “women's fiction” not 'fiction'. So use key phrases rather than individual words in your article title and abstract.
• Key phrases need to make sense within the title and abstract and flow well.
• It is best to focus on a maximum of three or four different keyword phrases in an abstract rather than try to get across too many points.
• Finally, always check that the abstract reads well - remember the primary audience is still the researcher, not a search engine, so write for readers not robots.  

Figures, Illustrations & Multimedia
Since Compass is online-only, there are almost no significant printing costs for colour visual material, and we have exciting opportunities to include supporting video and audio files. Supplementary files are an effective way to support your article, and they add valuable texture and interest to your article. However, please be aware of the guidelines below.  

NOTE: Authors are responsible for obtaining copyright permissions and paying any related fees for any supplementary material they wish to include, be it images, video or audio. Please confirm with the Compass Editorial office that the supplementary material can be included before paying any such fees.  

Figures and Illustrations   Authors are strongly encouraged to include as many illustrations, photographs, maps and diagrams as they wish. These are all referred to as ‘figures’ and should be numbered consecutively using Arabic numerals (Figure 4, etc.). You can see examples of possible visualization methods here:   All figures should be computer generated. The figure should be submitted in EPS, TIF or JPG format at 300 dpi. If exporting to EPS all fonts should be embedded. The maximum image size that can be loaded onto Manuscript Central is 40 Megapixels. Detailed guidelines may by found here:   Captions should be concise but as informative as possible, and must be typed double spaced and listed on a separate sheet. Titles should be incorporated into the figure caption. Captions should not be a part of the figure and should include any acknowledgements necessary.   Video   Compass encourages authors to submit supplementary video files. We can accept a wide range of video file formats such as .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, and .MPG. If your video is not in one of these formats we may still be able to accept it - please let us know before submitting.   Videos should have a maximum length of 10 minutes and maximum filesize of 1024 MB. If you have larger files for inclusion, they should be split into two or more separate videos. All video files should be in their final form upon submission. The maximum filesize that can be uploaded to Manuscript Central is 100 MB. If your file exceeds this, please email the Editorial Office for details on how to submit larger files through our FTP site.   Audio   Compass encourages authors to submit supplementary audio files. Audio files can be submitted in .aif, .aifc, .aiff .asf, .au, .mp2, .mp3, .mpa, .snd, .wav, or .wma format. All audio files should be in their final form upon submission.  

Tables and Figures
For each table or figure is to be followed by a number (Figure 1, Table 1, etc). Provide a caption for each table or figure, set in boldface. Ensure that tables and figures are numbered consecutively ( one series for tables and another for figures). Place them at the end of your manuscript, and indicate the main article text that is expected to follow:

Table 2: Laboratory findings in common disorders

Insert Table 2 here

According to …

Short Biography / Biographies
Authors should include a short biographical paragraph about themselves (and for co-authors where applicable). The Biography should be submitted as a separate document and contain a few sentences about each of the following: educational history, recent professional/teaching history, research interests and some information about recent or forthcoming publications.

Here is an example of a well-written biography:   John Doris' research is located at the intersection of psychology, cognitive science, and philosophical ethics; he has authored or co-authored papers in these areas for Noûs, Bioethics, CognitionPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research, The Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, The Encyclopedia of Ethics, and the Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Analytic Philosophy.  His book Lack of Character (Cambridge 2002) argues that reflection on experimental social psychology problematizes familiar philosophical and “folk” conceptions of moral character.  Current research involves both theoretical and empirical research on moral responsibility, evaluative diversity, rationality, and the self.  He has held fellowships from Michigan's Institute for the Humanities, Princeton's University Center for Human Values, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Before coming to Washington University in St, Louis, where he presently teaches, Doris taught at the University of Michigan and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He holds a BA in Philosophy from Cornell University and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Pre-submission English-language editing

Authors for whom English is a second language may choose to have their manuscript professionally edited before submission to improve the English. A list of independent suppliers of editing services can be found at All services are paid for and arranged by the author, and use of one of these services does not guarantee acceptance or preference for publication.

Submitting Your Article

• Go to Manuscript Central is our online submission and editorial interface.

• Log in if you have already been sent your User ID and password (in a reminder or confirmation email). If you don’t know your password, use the Password Help box.

• If the system has no account registered for you, click on ‘Create Account’ in the top righthand corner to get started.

• Once logged in, the Main Menu will be displayed.  Click on ‘Author Center’.

• Under ‘My Manuscripts’ click on ‘1 Invited Manuscript’ link. This will load the basic details at the bottom of the page.

• Click ‘Continue Submission’ on the right to begin manuscript submission!

Submission Checklist

Please submit, in Microsoft Word (.doc) format:

  • An anonymous version of your article, incorporating the title, abstract, full text, Works Cited list, any figures, tables or captions. Please do not include references to yourself as the author of the paper.
  • A separate title page (inc. your article title, name, affiliation and correspondence address / email address).
  • A one-paragraph short biography
  • Any separate figure files in EPS, TIF or JPG format at 300 dpi

NOTE: If you do not use Microsoft Word, files in .rtf and plain text formats can also be accepted. If your article contains any special characters, it is advisable to submit a supplementary PDF version of your paper, for cross-checking. provides free file conversion, including PDF to Word.

Electronic Copyright Transfer Agreement (eCTA)
We no longer require FAXs or other hardcopy of the Copyright Transfer Agreement. Instead we have introduced a convenient new process for signing your copyright transfer agreement electronically (eCTA) that will save you considerable time and effort. If your paper is accepted, the Author whom you flag as being the formal Corresponding Author for the paper will receive an e-mail with a link to an online eCTA form. This will enable the Corresponding Author to complete the copyright form electronically within ScholarOne Manuscripts on behalf of all authors on the manuscript. You may preview the copyright terms and conditions here.  

Post-Submission   Free Book for Prompt Delivery
Authors who are able to deliver within the deadline agreed for their article will be entitled to free Wiley-Blackwell books upto the value of $50/£30. The author can browse titles online ( and should then email the details of their chosen book to the Compass Editorial office.  

Peer Review
Once submitted, your article will first be evaluated by the relevant Section Editor(s) to ensure it fulfils the journal’s principles and aims. If this is the case, the article is then reviewed by referees, chosen by the Section Editor for their specific subject knowledge. 
Authors of submitted articles are asked to consider the criticisms, suggestions and corrections of the referees and Section Editor(s) and where possible, to address them. The Section Editor(s) will mediate any conflicting reviews.
If the author disagrees with the reviews, they are entitled to set forth their views and justifications.  However, the Section Editor is entitled to decline publication if they feel the review criticisms have not been sufficiently addressed. The decision of the Section Editor(s) is final. An invitation to contribute an article does not guarantee acceptance.    

Post-Acceptance   How long to publication?
In general it takes around 6-8 weeks from acceptance to publication. However, prompt return of author proofs can speed up this process.    Proofs
Once accepted, your article will be sent to the copyeditor. You will then receive your PDF proof via email. At this stage you should be correcting minor errors only. Corrections will usually be communicated by email to the Production Editor. However, you will receive specific instructions with your PDF proof.   If you need to make extensive corrections to the proof then please print out the PDF file and mark it up in black or blue ink. The corrected proofs should then be sent by post to the Production Editor.  

Access to Philosophy Compass
Once your article has been published on Philosophy Compass you will be given free personal access to the site for 1 year.

Once your article has been published, you will be sent a PDF version of your article via email, which you are free to distribute to your colleagues and students as you wish, as long as it is for standard, recognised academic purposes.  Selling copies of the article is not permitted.


MLA style should be used for inline citations and the list of Works Cited.   All articles must contain an Abstract, a list of Works Cited and a Short Biography.  

UK or US style?
UK or US spelling and punctuation may be adopted but, whichever conventions are used, they must be followed consistently throughout. e.g. italicise OR –italicize, behaviour OR behavior, centre OR center, spectre OR specter, etc.  

Every quotation should be accompanied by a reference to its source (e.g. Author 102-15).   Short quotations (less than 30 words) “should run on within the normal sentence structure” (Author 102). Use quotation marks to distinguish the quote, and, if appropriate, precede by a comma (for shorter quotations) or a colon (for longer quotations).   Long quotations (more than 30 words) should be displayed.
Displayed quotations do not require quotation marks. They should be set smaller than normal text type and indented by the normal paragraph indent, with no extra space above or below. (Author 102)   Verse and drama quoted matter should be centred on the longest line in the extract.   Drama sources should be rendered as e.g. (4.1.23–25).   The spelling, grammar, etc. of direct quotations should not be edited. Use [sic] to signify a direct quote of an error.  

Where necessary, endnotes may be used sequentially throughout the text. Endnotes should be in the format 1, 2, 3 rather than i, ii, iii.   NOTE: The Literature Compass Endnote style can be downloaded here:

In-text Citation Examples  

Single title by author
Joe Bloggs contends ‘the verse has clearly been marked by formal concerns’ (12).   OR   As one critic famously put it, ‘the verse has clearly been marked by formal concerns’ (Bloggs 12).   Two or more titles by single author   Smith made two references to this problem, first in 1982 (Verse Forms 56) and again in 1989 (‘Chapter and Verse’ 9).   OR   One critic made two references to this problem, first in 1982 (Smith, Verse Forms 56) and again in 1989 (Smith, ‘Chapter and Verse’ 9).   Two or three authors   Chapter 4 in Verse on Verse offered important theoretical advances (Turner, Coren, and Brown 33–55).   Four or more authors   The argument was taken further in a co-authored book in the 1990s (Smith, Bloggs, Schmidt, and Smythe 31–75).   OR   The argument was taken further in a co-authored book in the 1990s (Smith et al. 31–75).   Two authors with the same name   The verse debate was both vilified as ‘nonsensical’ (D. Johnson 21) and yet praised as ‘groundbreaking’ (R. Johnson 76) in the late 1990s.   Author quoted by another author   Richard Johnson thought the debate should ‘continue unabated’ (qtd. in Bloggs 74).   Multivolume work   Bob Strander’s multivolume work still contains key arguments to this day (1:34–55; 2:115–23).   Poetry   Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning” begins “As virtuous men pass mildly away, / And whisper to their souls to go,” (lines 1–2) but ends “And makes me end where I begun” (36).   Plays   Shakespeare’s Julius Caeser begins “Hence! home, you idle creatures get you home: / Is this a holiday? (1.1.1–2).   Religious Texts   ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’ (Holy Bible, Gen. 1.1).  

Works Cited
The Works Cited should be alphabetized by the last names of the authors (or editors); if a work has no author or editor, it should alphabetized by the first word of the title, disregarding A, An, or The.   If there are two or more works by the same author, use the author's name only for the first entry. For subsequent entries use three hyphens followed by a period. The titles should be listed in alphabetical order.   Web addresses should only break at the end of a line after a slash and should begin and finish with angle brackets.  

Works Cited Example
Book Bloggs, Joe. Versification and Paradise Lost. Chicago: Chicago UP, 1999.   Chapter in an edited book Dark, Trevor. ‘Verse Unversed.’ Collected Essays on Verse Theory. Ed. Thom Grey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002. 123–55.   Journal Article Johnson, Richard. ‘Verse Theory.’ Literature Compass 5.2 (2008): 75–90.   Thesis/dissertation; unpublished thesis Lehmann, William. ‘New Directions in Verse Theory.’ Diss. U of Chicago, 2004.   Conference papers Reder, Vera. ‘Verse personified.’ Verse Forms II Panel. MLA Convention. Palmer House, Chicago. 27 Dec. 2007.   Newspaper article Johnson, Derek. ‘The (Ad)Verse Debate.’ New York Times 19 Feb. 1997, sec. 1: 21–2.   Online documents
Verse Poems Online. Ed. Jean Kerrigan. 2003. University of Iowa. 27 Nov. 2005 <<a href=''>>.    Forthcoming style for both books & articles Zerin, Jesse. Woman as Hero in Anglo-Saxon Literature. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, forthcoming.   Or if we know exactly when it’s forthcoming:   Zerin, Jesse. Woman as Hero in Anglo-Saxon Literature. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, forthcoming (2007).