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, and social or cultural analysis. In regards its publication mission, it hopes to continue the tradition established by such publications 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 outlet is limited. Authors may publish in one of several traditional paper-based journals, such as The Independent Review, or (until it ceased publication) the Journal of Libertarian Studies. The number of such journals that serve as outlets for libertarian scholars is in any event too small, as the number of libertarian thinkers continues to grow with every generation. And with the exception of journals such as Reason Papers, these excellent publications do not take full advantage of the possibilities offered through 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 an electronic version of their publication. Because these journals are paper-based, there are also space limits that restrict both the size of articles and their number.
Existing online libertarian- or free-market-oriented publications, such as Mises Daily and LewRockwell.com, 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 articles in the conventional academic format, we welcome review essays and book reviews, as well as papers in other formats, such as lectures. We also 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 3.0 License. We even provide the Word file of the article—our “source code”—to make it easier for others to republish, incorporate, print-on-demand, or cut-and-paste (this also gives authors a final copy of their published article in editable form). 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. In the spirit of open discourse and the free flow of ideas, unlike most other academic journals we allow comments on our articles, via the blog posts announcing them.
(See also our inaugural post Welcome to Libertarian Papers!, Jan. 22, 2009.)
Libertarian Papers is edited (since Jan. 2012) by Matt McCaffrey, a PhD candidate at the University of Angers, and fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is also 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 libertarian articles 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 recent 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:
- 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;
- Google Scholar;
- Mises Institute Literature Index;
The black-and-white header image for this site is taken from Canaletto’s Piazza San Marco: Looking South-East (1735-40) (elsewhere referred to as The Square of Saint Mark’s, Venice), which in one scene portrays commerce, society, freedom, individualism, civilization, civility, and intellect. Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768), better known as Canaletto, was a Venetian artist famous for his landscapes of Venice. A high-resolution version is available here.
The typeface chosen for our articles is Garamond, which conveys fluidity and consistency along with a sense of conscious refinement. We hope you find it pleasing to read.
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.