Foundations of Science

Welcome to the home page of Foundations of Science, a journal that explores cross-disciplinary connections and foundational or philosophical issues pertaining to all fields of science.

Foundations of Science is and ISI-journal and covered in the Science Citation Index Expanded and in the Arts & Humanities Citation Index the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI).
Foundations of Science is published by Springer. See also Springer's Foundations of Science page.

Editorial Board


Diederik Aerts,
Center Leo Apostel, Brussels Free University,
Krijgskundestraat 33, 1160 Brussels, Belgium,
Tel: 32 2 644 26 77
Fax: 32 2 644 07 44

Managing Editor

Associate Editors

Advisory Board

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Profile of the Journal

Foundations of Science is an interdisciplinary journal devoted to the foundations of the various scientific disciplines and their respective philosophical analysis. The journal wishes to investigate the fundamental concepts, principles, assumptions and unsolved problems that characterize both the traditional disciplines and the newly emerging interdisciplinary domains. These disciplines include, but are not limited to: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, anthropology, computer science, psychology, sociology, economics and linguistics. Interdisciplinary domains are for example cognitive science, cybernetics, complex adaptive systems, evolutionary epistemology, semiotics, general systems theory, cultural studies, and quantum structures.

Approaches that help us to integrate or unify the insights gained in the different sciences, or results from one discipline that have important applications in other disciplines, are particularly welcome. The journal is addressed primarily to working scientists but also professional philosophers.

The journal aims at a continuous probing of the latest scientific developments in order to develop a cutting-edge understanding of reality. The focus as well as the approach of the contributed papers may therefore shift between issues and over the years.

The journal publishes four issues per year.

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Article Types

Foundations of Science publishes 'standard articles', 'target articles', 'commentaries' and 'review articles'.

Standard articles present new ideas, which can be of an advanced or complex nature, and use fully the technical jargon from a specific scientific discipline. However, in order to maintain cross-disciplinary accessibility, they should we written in such a way that the material is also made understandable for a broader audience than just specialists in a narrow niche field. For this reason Foundations of Science does not introduce an a priori page limit for submitted articles, however the extra length of an article should be motivated by interdisciplinary readability. The following guidelines may be of help in this respect. A possible way to go about is to have papers divided in two complementary parts.

The first part, addressed to a multidisciplinary audience, contains the following material:

  1. Situation of the problem within the context of the problem domain. Ample space may be used for the description of the context.
  2. Extensive reference to the classical and accepted views.
  3. A clear, critical statement of how the (new) approach or result confirms or questions the existing results.
  4. A summary in non-technical language of the results described in the second part of the paper.

Often, the whole can be made understandable by discussing the matter on a meta-level, explaining explicitly what is understood, why and how it is understood, what is not understood, and, if possible why and how it is not understood. This means that papers containing completely new and 'not-yet-understood' matter are also welcome. But in that case, the first part should make it clear that the problem's present status is 'not-understood', and explain why it is nevertheless of scientific importance.

The second part of the paper addressed to a specialized audience contains a detailed, formal exposition of the matter, using the technical tools and jargon of the discipline. This exposition should be as self-contained as possible. This means that technical jargon and techniques may also be included (if they have not yet been included in the first part). A high degree of self-containment can be achieved by including references to good quality expository papers within the field.

Target articles and commentaries are articles meant to take part in a specific dynamics of scientific interaction that Foundations of Science wants to stimulate. Some standard articles published in Foundations of Science will be considered as 'target articles' for which commentaries can be written, and these commentaries (eventually plus additional discussions), will be published in later issues of Foundations of Science.

Next to being an already published standard article, a target article can also be upon invitation, and authors can also propose a subject for a potential target paper to the Editor-in-Chief. In case an author wants to propose a subject for a potential target paper, he or she needs to write a short note and send it to the Editor-in-Chief, explaining the subject of the target paper.

A commentary is a short paper, between one and five pages (or eventually longer, some flexibility in length is possible), which has the following format:

  1. Title.
  2. Author(s).
  3. Affiliation(s).
  4. Abstract(50-75 words).
  5. Article text (1-3 pages).
  6. References.

The aim of the 'target article - commentary dynamics' is to stimulate scientific discussion in an open and dynamic way. Some flexibility is tolerated with respect to the form this discussion will take. This means that the commentary can also been focused on the general topic introduced by the subject of the target paper. To put it shortly, a good commentary should contain the type of remarks and observations that stimulate discussion of the subject matter of the target paper.

The standard format (following the commentary) will be that the author(s) of the target article respond very shortly to the different commentaries. However, deviation of this standard format is possible depending on the custom situation, and hence, once specific reactions with respect to invitations for commentaries have been received, further contact specifies the dynamics (it may for example be also interesting that a commentary writer can react on another commentary writer). Commentaries will be published, together with short reactions, in a later issue of Foundations of Science.

Commentaries, in a format as described above, can also spontaneously be submitted by authors, referring to an article published in Foundations of Science, or referring to an important ongoing subject of debate within the community of scientists engaged in the foundations of the different scientific disciplines or research fields of interdisciplinary nature.

Review articles, covering an important subject in the foundations of a discipline or interdisciplinary domain, should be written in a spirit of cross-disciplinary accessibility. Such papers may discuss results that have already been published in journals specialized in a specific discipline.

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Special Issues

Foundations of Science publishes special issues consisting of papers solicited by the guest editor(s). Scientists who are interested in guest editing a topic issue of Foundations of Science are kindly requested to submit a proposal to the Editor-in-Chief. The proposal should present the main ideas and problems to be discussed in the proposed issue.

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Instructions for Contributors

Manuscript Submission

A manuscript has to be submitted as electronic file send by e-mail as attached file to the Editor-in-Chief at the address: Only exceptionally manuscripts that do not have a corresponding electronic file can be submitted. The electronic format should be (1) a pdf file, (2) an MSWord file, (3) a LaTeX file, or (4) a post script file. If the author wants to send another type of file, he or she has to consult first the Editor-in-Chief to see whether this file type is acceptable, or to receive guidelines of how to make it into a post-script or pdf file. For safety's sake, authors are advised to retain a backup copy of their file(s). After acceptance, please make absolutely sure that you send the latest (i.e., revised) version of your manuscript, again as electronic file attached with an e-mail message.

Reviewing Procedure

The author has to provide a list of 5 possible reviewers connected to scientific institutions, of which at least 2 are in Europe, the United States, or Canada.

Manuscript Presentation

The language of the journal is language is English. Either British or American English spelling and terminology may be used, but either one should be followed consistently throughout the article.

Please double-space all material, including notes and references. Quotations of more than 40 words should be set off clearly, either by indenting the left-hand margin or by using a smaller typeface. Use double quotation marks for direct quotations and single quotation marks for quotations within quotations and for words or phrases used in a special sense.

Number the pages consecutively with the first page containing:


Please provide a short abstract of 100 to 200 words. The abstract should not contain any undefined abbreviations or unspecified references.

Key Words

Please provide 3 to 5 key words or short phrases in alphabetical order.


Abbreviations and their explanations should be collected in a list.


Please provide a brief vitae/biography (not more than 150 words), written in the third person, giving details on present position, education, research interests, and some recent publications if relevant.

Figures and Tables


Authors should supply the electronic versions of figures in either Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) or TIFF format. Many other formats, e.g., Microsoft Postscript, PiCT (Macintosh) and WMF (Windows), cannot be used.

Figures should be saved in separate files without their captions. Files should be named according to DOS conventions, e.g., 'figure1.eps'. For vector graphics, EPS is the preferred format. Lines should not be thinner than 0.25pts and in-fill patterns and screens should have a density of at least 10%. Font-related problems can be avoided by using standard fonts such as Times Roman and Helvetica. For bitmapped graphics, TIFF is the preferred format but EPS is also acceptable. The following resolutions are optimal:

Higher resolutions will not improve output quality but will only increase file size, which may cause problems with printing; lower resolutions may compromise output quality. Please try to provide artwork that approximately fits within the typeset area of the journal. Especially screened originals, i.e. originals with grey areas, may suffer badly from reduction by more than 10-15%.

Avoiding Problems With EPS Graphic

Please always check whether the figures print correctly to a PostScript printer in a reasonable amount of time. If they do not, simplify your figures or use a different graphics program.

If EPS export does not produce acceptable output, try to create an EPS file with the printer driver (see below). This option is unavailable with the Microsoft driver for Windows NT, so if you run Windows NT, get the Adobe driver from the Adobe site (

If EPS export is not an option, e.g., because you rely on OLE and cannot create separate files for your graphics, it may help us if you simply provide a PostScript dump of the entire document.

How to Set Up for EPS and Postscript Dumps Under Windows

Create a printer entry specifically for this purpose: install the printer 'Apple Laserwriter Plus' and specify 'FILE': as printer port. Each time you send something to the 'printer' you will be asked for a filename. This file will be the EPS file or PostScript dump that we can use.

The EPS export option can be found under the PostScript tab. EPS export should be used only for single-page documents. For printing a document of several pages, select 'Optimise for portability' instead. The option 'Download header with each job' should be checked.


If no electronic versions of figures are available, submit only high-quality artwork that can be reproduced as is, i.e., without any part having to be redrawn or re-typeset. The letter size of any text in the figures must be large enough to allow for reduction. Photographs should be in black-and-white on glossy paper. If a figure contains colour, make absolutely clear whether it should be printed in black-and-white or in colour. Figures that are to be printed in black-and-white should not be submitted in colour. Authors will be charged for reproducing figures in colour.

Each figure and table should be numbered and mentioned in the text. The approximate position of figures and tables should be indicated in the margin of the manuscript. On the reverse side of each figure, the name of the (first) author and the figure number should be written in pencil; the top of the figure should be clearly indicated. Figures and tables should be placed at the end of the manuscript following the Reference section. Each figure and table should be accompanied by an explanatory legend. The figure legends should be grouped and placed on a separate page. Figures are not returned to the author unless specifically requested.

In tables, footnotes are preferable to long explanatory material in either the heading or body of the table. Such explanatory footnotes, identified by superscript letters, should be placed immediately below the table.

Section Headings

Section headings should be numbered (e.g., 1., 1.1, 1.1.1, 2., 2.1, etc.).


Supplementary material should be collected in an Appendix and placed before the Notes and Reference sections.


Please use footnotes rather than endnotes. Notes should be indicated by consecutive superscript numbers in the text. A source reference note should be indicated by means of an asterisk after the title. This note should be placed at the bottom of the first page.


In the text, a reference identified by means of an author's name should be followed by the date of the reference in parentheses and page number(s) where appropriate. When there are more than two authors, only the first author's name should be mentioned, followed by 'et al.'. In the event that an author cited has had two or more works published during the same year, the reference, both in the text and in the reference list, should be identified by a lower case letter like 'a' and 'b' after the date to distinguish the works.


Winograd (1986, p. 204)
(Winograd, 1986a, b)
(Winograd, 1986; Flores et al., 1988)
(Bullen and Bennett, 1990)


Acknowledgements of people, grants, funds, etc. should be placed in a separate section before the References.


References to books, journal articles, articles in collections and conference or workshop proceedings, and technical reports should be listed at the end of the article in alphabetical order. Articles in preparation or articles submitted for publication, unpublished observations, personal communications, etc. should not be included in the reference list but should only be mentioned in the article text (e.g., T. Moore, personal communication).

References to books should include the author's name; year of publication; title; page numbers where appropriate; publisher; place of publication, in the order given in the example below.

H.B. Curry: 1951, Formalist Philosophy of Mathematics. North-Holland, Amsterdam, pp. 30--78.

References to articles in an edited collection should include the author's name; year of publication; article title; editor's name; title of collection; first and last page numbers; publisher; place of publication, in the order given in the example below.

O.V.O. Quine: 1969, Existence and Quantification. In Ontological Relativity and other Essays. Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 29--57.

References to articles in conference proceedings should include the author's name; year of publication; article title; editor's name (if any); title of proceedings; first and last page numbers; place and date of conference; publisher and/or organization from which the proceedings can be obtained; place of publication, in the order given in the example below.

P.J. Cohen: 1971, Comments on the Foundations of Set Theory. In D. Scott (ed): Axiomatic Set Theory, Proceedings in Symposia in Pure Mathematics, 13, part 1, AMS, Provindence, Rhode Island, pp 1--140.

References to articles in periodicals should include the author's name; year of publication; article title; full title of periodical; volume number (issue number where appropriate); first and last page numbers, in the order given in the example below.

G.H. Hardy: 1929, Mathematical Proof. Mind 38: pp. 1--25.


Proofs will be sent to the corresponding author. One corrected proof, together with the original, edited manuscript, should be returned to the Publisher within three days of receipt by mail (airmail overseas).


25 offprints of each article will be provided free of charge. Additional offprints can be ordered by means of an offprint order form supplied with the proofs.

Page Charges and Colour Figures

No page charges are levied on authors or their institutions. Colour figures are published at the author's expense only.


Authors will be asked, upon acceptance of an article, to transfer copyright of the article to the Publisher. This will ensure the widest possible dissemination of information under copyright laws.


It is the responsibility of the author to obtain written permission for a quotation from unpublished material, or for all quotations in excess of 250 words in one extract or 500 words in total from any work still in copyright, and for the reprinting of figures, tables or poems from unpublished or copyrighted material.

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Subscription Order Information

For subscription information, and any additional information, please consult the Springer Foundations of Science website.

Last update by Alexander Riegler January 2017