Philosophy Documentation Center

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Philosophy Documentation Center
Company typePublisher, service provider
IndustryPublishing, Internet services
GenreApplied ethics, classics, philosophy, religious studies
FoundedBowling Green State University, 1966
United States
Key people
George Leaman (director)
ProductsAcademic journals, conference proceedings, anthologies, reference work, academic databases, digital media
ServicesMembership management, content digitization, hosting

The Philosophy Documentation Center (PDC) is a non-profit publisher and resource center that provides access to scholarly materials in applied ethics, classics, philosophy, religious studies, and related disciplines. It publishes academic journals, conference proceedings, anthologies, and online research databases, often in cooperation with scholarly and professional associations. It also provides membership management and electronic publishing services, and hosts electronic journals, series, and other publications from several countries.


The Philosophy Documentation Center was established in 1966 at Bowling Green State University in Ohio to manage the publication of specialized reference works in philosophy. It was founded by two members of the university philosophy department, Ramona Cormier and Richard Lineback, who recognized a need to improve access to the growing body of philosophical literature in English and other languages. Its first publication was The Philosopher’s Index, which provided bibliographic listings, indexed by subject and author, of recently published journal articles in philosophy. Work on the development of this project at PDC was supported for several years by grants to Bowling Green State University from the National Endowment for the Humanities.[1]

PDC also took up work on other specialized publishing projects. In 1970, PDC assumed responsibility for the publication of the Directory of American Philosophers and the International Directory of Philosophy and Philosophers. In 1974, it began publishing a series of research bibliographies to provide systematic overviews of the primary and secondary work of major philosophers. That same year PDC published its first journal, Philosophy Research Archives, in cooperation with the American Philosophical Association and the Canadian Philosophical Association.[2] This bilingual project was established in microfiche format in an effort to overcome the space limitations of traditional print journals.[3] This concept was developed by representatives of the American Council of Learned Societies, the Humanities Research Council of Canada, PDC, and the American and Canadian philosophical associations.[4] It was one of the earliest experiments with non-traditional formats in journal publishing and is freely available online.[5]

In 1977, PDC published a collection of papers from the First National Workshop-Conference on Teaching Philosophy, its first publishing work in support of a new professional organization.[6] PDC also provided publishing services to independent philosophy publications for the first time.[7] PDC's production support for serial publications in print and electronic format has expanded significantly since that time. PDC currently produces over a hundred print and electronic publications in philosophy and neighboring disciplines, and provides online access to complete sets of journals and series in several languages.[8]

In 1995 the editor and owner of The Philosopher's Index retired from Bowling Green State University and ended his long association with PDC.[9] Since 1995 he has continued to publish Philosopher's Index separate from PDC with his own organization (Philosopher's Information Center).[10] PDC continued to develop other publications and services, with a focus on the publishing and membership management needs of professional associations and scholarly societies. The scope of this work increased over time, with notable projects such as the Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy and the major publications of the American Philosophical Association.[11] Fields covered by PDC now include applied ethics, classics, philosophy, religious studies, and semiotics. It manages memberships for twenty organizations,[12] and this work includes secure hosting, digital work flow management, authenticated access to electronic resources, and online conference registration.[8]

In 2001 PDC relocated its operations and most of its staff to Charlottesville, Virginia as a consequence of increasing technical demands of this expanding range of services.[13]

Electronic resources[edit]

In 1979, PDC launched dial-up access to The Philosopher's Index database in cooperation with DIALOG; Philosopher's Index was made available on CD-ROM in 1990. In 1987, PDC published The Logic Works, an instructional software program for introductory logic courses, in cooperation with Rob R. Brady.[14] A number of versions of this DOS-based program were published by PDC for 15 years. PDC also published EthicsWorks, a software package for introductory ethics courses, in cooperation with Robert Pielke. In 1996, PDC partnered with InteLex Corporation to develop POIESIS: Philosophy Online Serials. This project made the content of dozens of print journals accessible online in conjunction with print subscriptions. It also allowed for the creation of complete back issue collections of several journals on CD-ROM, including Business Ethics Quarterly, Philosophy & Theology, The Review of Metaphysics, and Teaching Philosophy.

In 2009, PDC launched its eCollection of journals and series from several countries, with online access for institutions, single individuals, and membership organizations.[15] PDC partnered with PORTICO to ensure long term preservation of this collection and participates in the CLOCKSS digital archive.[16][17] PDC's online platform is also compliant with the Project COUNTER standard for online usage statistics harvesting.[18]

In 2010, PDC launched the International Directory of Philosophy, an online database consolidating the content of the Directory of American Philosophers and the International Directory of Philosophy and Philosophers. This database contains information on university philosophy departments and programs, professional societies, research centers, journals, and publishers in approximately 130 countries.

In 2011, PDC launched the Philosophy Research Index, a new indexing database not associated with The Philosopher's Index, the International Philosophical Bibliography, or other resource. The goal of the project was to build complete bibliographic coverage of philosophical literature in several languages and by July 2014 it contained over 1.3 million listings. At that time PDC partnered with the PhilPapers Foundation and Philosophy Research Index was incorporated into the PhilPapers database.[19]

PDC provides single document access options for non-subscribers for all journals and series on its site, including a free preview of the first page of each document. The implementation allows each publication to choose its own access terms.[8] Pre-publication access to forthcoming articles is provided for select titles.[20]

PDC is a member of CrossRef and integrates digital object identifiers into all journals it publishes.[21] PDC also participates in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking and CrossMark version control services.[22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NEH grants RT-23984-76-375 (1976–1977), RT-27265-77-1360 (1978–1979). See Bowling Green State University, "Notice of Grants and/or Contracts Awarded", January 11, 1978. Contributions were also made by the Exxon Education Foundation and hundreds of individual philosophers.
  2. ^ Philosophy Research Archives, Microfiche 1, 1975
  3. ^ "Meeting of the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association" in Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, Vol. 48 (1974–1975), p. 80.
  4. ^ Philosophy Research Archives, "Final Statement of Purpose" (August 22, 1974), quoted in the Journal of Philosophical Research, Special Supplement, 2016,
  5. ^ "Philosophy Research Archives website". Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  6. ^ Teaching Philosophy Today. edited by Terrell Ward Bynum and Sidney Reisberg, in cooperation with the National Information and Resource Center for the Teaching of Philosophy, 1977. WorldCat Record, OCLC Accession No.3286509. This and subsequent Workshop-Conferences on Teaching Philosophy led to the establishment of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. See the editor's introduction to the 2nd edition (2012), pp.v-vi.
  7. ^ PDC invoices for 1977, retrieved 21 September 2012. This work began with typesetting for Idealistic Studies and The Journal of Critical Analysis.
  8. ^ a b c "Philosophy Documentation Center web site". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Hail & Farewell" in Phil Facts, No.20, Summer 1995, p.1
  10. ^ The Philosopher's Index, volume 29, no.3, Fall 1995, p.ii
  11. ^ In 1999–2000 PDC produced the Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, the APA Graduate Guide to Philosophy Programs, and the APA Newsletters. See "Publication Agreement between the American Philosophical Association and the Philosophy Documentation Center", November 11, 1999.
  12. ^ "Membership Services, Philosophy Documentation Center web site". Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  13. ^ Atkins, Ace. "Deep Thoughts" in C-Ville Weekly, July 24–30, 2001, p. 5.
  14. ^ Martin, John N. (1990). "Review of The Logicworks". The Journal of Symbolic Logic. 55 (1): 368–370. doi:10.2307/2275001. JSTOR 2275001.
  15. ^ "Philosophy Documentation Center – About eCollection". Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  16. ^ "Portico coverage of Philosophy Documentation Center journals and series". Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  17. ^ "CLOCKSS participating publishers". Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Release 5 Register of COUNTER compliant content providers". Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  19. ^ "PhilPapers to incorporate Philosophy Research Index, PhilPapers web site". Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Online First Pre-publication, Philosophy Documentation Center web site". Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  21. ^ "CrossRef Blog". Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  22. ^ "CrossRef Cited-by Linking". Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  23. ^ "CrossMark Participants". Retrieved 9 April 2013.

External links[edit]