Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

PiHPh welcomes submissions from all areas of historical phonology, and actively seeks to bring together work from distinct linguistic subfields which may not normally communicate with one another. The definition of 'historical phonology' that PiHPh adopts is set out in the Preface to PiHPh, which was published in the first issue. This definition is broad, taking in all areas of linguistics which link the study of sound systems to the past in any way. It is concerned both with how and why the phonology of languages changes in diachrony, and with the reconstruction of past synchronic phonological states. It is also concerned with the patterns of contemporary variation in phonology, in order to understand how change is implemented. Historical phonology is thus an inherently inter(sub)disciplinary enterprise — no one approach can hope to understand it fully. We need to combine insights from theoretical phonology, phonetics, sociolinguistics, dialectology, philology, language acquisition, and, no doubt, other areas. We need to interact with the traditions of scholarship that have grown up around individual languages and language families, and with disciplines like history, sociology and palaeography. 

The kinds of questions that PiHPh wants to ask therefore include at least the following:

  • Which changes are possible in phonology?
  • What is the precise patterning of particular changes in the history of specific languages?
  • How do changes arise and spread through communities?
  • Are there characteristics that phonological changes (or particular types of changes) always show?
  • What counts as evidence for change, or for the reconstruction of previous stages of languages’ phonologies?
  • What kinds of factors can motivate or constrain change?
  • Are there factors which lead to stability in language, and militate against change?
  • To what extent is phonological change independent of changes that occur at other levels of the grammar, such as morphology, syntax or semantics?
  • What is the relationship between the study of completed phonological changes and of variation and change in progress?
  • What is the relationship between phonological change and (first and second) language acquisition?
  • What types of units and domains, at both segmental and prosodic levels, do we need in order to capture phonological change?
  • How can the results of historical phonology inform phonological theorising?
  • How does phonologisation proceed — how do non-phonological pressures come to be reflected in phonology?
  • How can contact between speakers of different languages, or between speakers of distinct varieties of the same language, lead to phonological change, or to the creation of new phonological systems?
  • How has historical phonology developed as an academic enterprise?
PiHPh has a vague link to the Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology, but the two have fully separate existences. PiHPh welcomes written-up versions of papers presented at the ESoHPh and would normally expect to publish them, but this will not be automatic — the normal PiHPh editorial process will apply. On the other hand, submissions to PiHPh are also positively welcomed from outside of the ESoHPh cycle. PiHPh hopes that anyone interested in Historical Phonology will submit their ideas for publication, whether they have any interest in the ESoHPh or not.


Section Policies


Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Peer Review Process

Papers published in PiHPh are subject to peer review through both pre-publication scrutiny and post-publication review

The pre-publication process involves members of the editorial and advisory boards evaluating submissions to check that they are on topic, meet standards of academic publication, and have the formatting that PiHPh requires. If problems can be rectified by minor edits, we may make these and send the file back to the author for checking (after which we would expect to publish the paper). If major issues are identified, the paper will receive a 'revise and resubmit' or 'reject' decision. The categories under which the latter two decisions may be made are (i) that a paper is conceptually fundamentally flawed, (ii) that the consideration of data is fundamentally flawed, (iii) that it does not have any originality, (iv) that there are major typographic problems, (v) that there are major proof-reading issues or major problems with clarity of expression, or (vi) that the paper does not address historical issues in any sense. PiHPh uses this checklist for the pre-publication evaluation process. As indicated there, we ask those undertaking the pre-publication evaluation to submit the first comment.

PiHPh's post-publication review is conducted on each paper's comments page. All readers are encouraged to post comments on this page (as are members of the editorial and advisory boards). Authors are also encouraged to reply to these comments, and the discussion after a paper's publication becomes an independently citable part of the publication. All comments are moderated, but only to ensure that they are on topic and not ad hominem. The guidelines for commenting are available here.

PiHPh's review process should thus ensure that publication is swift for papers which are not obviously unsound. We hope that post-publication commenting will allow readers and authors to discuss both positives and problems that are identified in papers.


Publication Frequency

Each yearly volume of PiHPh has only one issue (so we do not use the concept 'issue'). Pagination for each volume begins with the first paper of the year and continues through all papers published that year. Papers are published as soon as they are cleared for publication. Each year, at the end of December, a volume is declared finished and the Table of Contents for that volume is finalised.


Open Access Policy

We are committed to providing free and open access to the outputs of research. PiHPh is a fully open-access journal with no embargo period, no Article Processing Charges (APCs) and no article submission charges. As the author, you retain full copyright to your work and can freely deposit the final, published and formatted version elsewhere (including subject-specific repositories such as LingBuzz and your university’s institutional repository). You are also free to reuse your work in the future in whatever way you like (provided an acknowledgement is duly given to the fact that it was published in PiHPh).

Work in open access publications is typically published under a license, and we recommend the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, following the policies of research funders such as Research Councils UK and other open access journals such as Glossa and PLoS ONE. Under the terms of this license, you retain full ownership of your work, but give permission to anyone to view it, as well as reuse it for both commercial and non-commercial purposes whenever they like and however they choose — as long as due acknowledgement (including a reference to the original source) is given.

The CC BY license is commonly seen as superior to other methods of licensing research outputs for open access, including more restrictive licenses that prohibit commercial uses or the creation of derivative work. For a discussion of the relative merits of different licenses in the context of humanities research, see Chapter 3 of Martin Paul Eve’s Open Access and the Humanities, available (via open access!) here. Many people do not care what happens to their work once it has been published, as long as their authorship is acknowledged. This is what the CC BY license is geared towards and is what PiHPh recommends. However, if you do have concerns about what the CC BY license allows, PiHPh allows authors to choose a more restrictive Creative Commons license for their work. Please get in touch with the editorial team at pihph@mlist.is.ed.ac.uk to discuss this.



This journal uses the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. More information about this is available here.



  1. Does PiHPh publish just anything?
    No! We do pre-publication checking. As editors we expect to publish things that we disagree with, but not material that is obviously out of line with academic standards.
  2. What is the scope of PiHPh?
    See our definition of historical phonology.
  3. How is PiHPh funded?
    Hosting and technical support for PiHPh, and funding for obtaining DOIs, is provided by the University of Edinburgh Library. Otherwise, the journal runs on editors and authors volunteering their time towards editing, proofreading and typesetting. Authors are therefore expected to do more in terms of proofreading and typesetting than is normal in many other journals.
  4. Is cross-posting allowed? Can an author post the same work on sites such as LingBuzz?
    Yes! Material published in PiHPh is released under a permissive open access license whereby you retain the copyright and the right to disseminate your work. In fact, we encourage you to post the final published version of your paper wherever you think it to be appropriate. Note, however, that we cannot make sure other outlets will be able to link to the comments on your PiHPh paper.
  5. Why doesn't PiHPh give download statistics?
    Given that we encourage dissemination of PiHPh papers via other channels, our statistics would be fairly meaningless, as we hope that people will get hold of papers through a range of sources.
  6. Do we do special collections?
    Not at the moment, but if you have an idea for one, get in touch!
  7. Do we do book reviews?
    Not at the moment – we do not (yet?) receive review copies from publishers. You are welcome, however, to submit papers commenting on others' work.


Take Down Policy

Journals using the hosting platform http://journals.ed.ac.uk are encouraged to make every effort to ensure that published content does not infringe any person's rights, or applicable UK laws.

However, if you believe that content, in any of the journals hosted on this platform, may be illegal, please contact the Head of Research & Learning who will review the complaint and take appropriate action.

Research & Learning (Library & University Collections)
Main Library, George Square
Edinburgh, EH8 9LJ
Email: edopenjournals@mlist.is.ed.ac.uk

Please note the Library is staffed 9-5pm Monday-Friday.

Making a complaint
In the body of the email please provide the following information:

  • Describe the infringement in as much detail as possible so that the specific content may be readily identified. The URL in the address bar will allow us to lookup the specific section.
  • Describe your relationship to the content, e.g. I am the author/creator of the material.
  • Describe the grounds for complaint, some examples are:
    • Unauthorised use by reason of reproduction and/or making available the material.
    • Breach of the moral right of [paternity/integrity/right not to have my work subjected to derogatory treatment].
    • Other complaints, e.g. defamation, breach of confidence, data protection.
On receipt of your complaint, the Library will:
  1. Make an initial assessment of its validity
  2. For all but spurious complaints, temporarily remove access to the item that is subject to complaint
  3. Acknowledge receipt of the complaint by email
  4. Contact the journal responsible for the publication of the content in question to invite a response
  5. Seek to verify your identity and authority as complainant
  6. Refer the complaint to the University's Legal Advisor for comment and advice

Potential outcomes
When the Head of Research & Learning has verified the authenticity of your complaint and has been advised that it is ostensibly legitimate, the file will be permanently removed from public access.
If the Legal Advisor confirms that it does not breach any law then the item will be reinstated.



In order to increase the visibility of research published in PiHPh, the editorial team intends to have published contents indexed via:
These listings may take some time after the publication of the first volume, so please bear with us.