Aims and Scope

Libertarian Papers is a peer-reviewed journal of libertarian scholarship established January 22, 2009. Its purpose is to advance scholarly research in disciplines of particular interest to the libertarian community, broadly conceived. The journal is interdisciplinary in scope, publishing original research from a wide variety of fields, including philosophy, economics, legal theory, political science, history, literary criticism, and social or cultural analysis. Its broader mission is to continue the tradition established by publications such as the Journal of Libertarian Studies.


There exists a gap in academic libertarian publishing.  For authors with scholarly papers on libertarian topics, the choice of publication outlets is relatively limited. The number of journals that serve as outlets for libertarian research is in any event too small, as the number of libertarian thinkers continues to grow with every generation.  And with a few exceptions, some otherwise excellent libertarian publications do not take full advantage of the possibilities offered by the integration of electronic and hard-copy publications: often, authors wait a long time (sometimes over a year) for publication, and cannot always instantly share electronic versions of their papers.  Many journals also impose space limits that restrict both the size of articles and their number. On the other hand, existing online libertarian- or free-market-oriented publications typically focus on shorter, more popular articles, and thus are not suitable for lengthy, academic, or heavily-footnoted works.  With the advent of the web and blogging, authors also now have the option of self-publishing: they post the paper to their own site or some private site, link it in a blog post, or post a working paper. But this is obviously not an acceptable way to publish—working papers are not usually polished or final, there is no acceptable citation format or journal name, and, especially, no presumption of quality garnered by the peer-review process. What is needed is an academic journal that takes full advantage of the possibilities of the digital age. Such a journal need not be limited to shorter or popular-format pieces.  And it need have no arbitrary space limits—articles may be any size; no suitable articles need be turned away—and can be published very quickly after the peer-review process is complete.  The costs are reduced and the staff is restricted to the Editor, Editorial Board, and a network of referees to assist with reviewing.

Enter Libertarian Papers. Published by the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom (C4SIF), Libertarian Papers is a journal that welcomes scholarly submissions on a range of topics of interest to libertarians and those interested in the classical liberal tradition.  In addition to conventional research articles, we welcome review essays and book reviews, as well as papers in other formats, such as distinguished lectures. We also sometimes publish English translations of foreign-language libertarian articles. Other than such translations, our focus is on previously unpublished works, with some exceptions made for important works that are inaccessible (such as two articles by Bruno Leoni in Volume 1 of the journal). Finally, wherever possible, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. Authors are asked to sign a publication agreement, but they retain ownership without restriction of all rights under copyright in their articles. Libertarian Papers is open access, and we encourage readers to “read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles…or use them for any other lawful purpose.” We want our ideas read, spread, and copied. As Cory Doctorow notes, “for pretty much every writer—the big problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity.” We do not, of course, oppose the profit motive, but we do recognize the stifling effect copyright has had on the communication of ideas.  And as spreading the ideas of liberty is the end of our action, in Misesian terms we are indeed seeking a handsome profit by unshackling these ideas to spread them as widely as possible (See also our inaugural post Welcome to Libertarian Papers!, Jan. 22, 2009.)


Matthew McCaffrey is Lecturer in Enterprise in the Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester. He has also taught at the University of Illinois at Springfield and Auburn University. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Angers, an MS in economics from Auburn University, and a BA in literature from Colorado State University. He is the recipient of the 2012 Richard E. Fox Foundation Research Prize, and of the 2010 Lawrence W. Fertig Prize in Austrian Economics. McCaffrey previously served as the journal’s Managing Editor. He may be reached here.

The journal’s Founding and Executive Editor is Stephan Kinsella, a libertarian scholar and attorney in Houston. LL.M., King’s College London-University of London; JD, Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University; BSEE, MSEE, Louisiana State University. Kinsella is the founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom (C4SIF), a member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Peace, Prosperity & Freedom (Australia), and formerly a partner with Duane Morris LLP and adjunct law professor at South Texas College of Law. Kinsella was Book Review Editor of the Journal of Libertarian Studies (2000-04), and has published many articles about libertarianism in journals such as The Freeman, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Reason Papers, the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, and Mises Daily. His libertarian publications include the monograph Against Intellectual Property (Mises Institute, 2008; Laissez Faire Books edition, 2012); Property, Freedom, and Society: Essays in Honor of Hans-Hermann Hoppe (co-editor, with Jörg Guido Hülsmann; Mises Institute, 2009); and the forthcoming Law in a Libertarian World: Legal Foundations of a Free Society (forthcoming 2013, Laissez Faire Books). Kinsella’s legal publications include International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner’s Guide (co-author, with Noah Rubins; London: Oxford University Press, 2005), five other legal treatises published by Oxford University Press, Oceana Publications, and West Publications, and Louisiana Civil Law Dictionary (Quid Pro Books, 2011).


Libertarian Papers is included in:

  • ERIH Plus;
  • Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory;
  • Cabell’s Directory of Publishing Opportunities;
  • International Political Science Abstracts;
  • The Philosopher’s Index;
  • The International Directory of Philosophy;
  • Directory of Open Access Journals;
  • JournalSeek;
  • HeinOnline;
  • EBSCOhost;
  • Gale/Cengage;
  • Google Scholar;
  • Mises Institute Literature Index;

Our ISSN is 1947-6949 (WorldCat ISSN entry).


Intro and exit music for our podcasts is excerpted from “Asturias” by Dylly pursuant to a Creative Commons License. Readers of Libertarian Papers may find of interest Murray Rothbard’s 1977 Editorial in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Libertarian Studies, explaining the goals and purpose of the founding of that journal.