After several months of work, I have almost finished a paper about an alternative axiomatization of quantum mechanics. The work is linked to the quantum reconstruction program.

The problem is that the final version is excessively long, approximately 56 pages in the two-column APS template formatting, 85 in the one-column formatting. Making the article shorter is extremely difficult because to reach to the main result all the steps presented in the article are necessary.

The question is: can the length be an issue that impacts the acceptance decision of the journal I submit to (especially with regards to print journal vs. online only? Should I take it into account when deciding where to submit the article?

Additional info: I was thinking of submitting to Foundations of Physics, it seems the one closest to my article's topic. But it is a print journal, and the excessive length of the article could be a problem (although I couldn't find an official length limit on their site). I also considered PRX Quantum, which is online only, but it seems more oriented towards topics such as quantum computing, probably it is too application-based.

  • 1
    Can you move most of these "steps" to appendix/supplementary and keep only the essentials in the main text? That seems much more reader-friendly imho
    – Wouter
    Commented Jun 3 at 9:08
  • @Wouter Some calculations have been moved to the appendices. This surely makes the paper more reader-friendly, but it does not alter the length of the paper.
    – PFerro
    Commented Jun 3 at 9:45
  • 4
    I would contact the editor of Foundations of Physics and see what they say.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jun 3 at 12:14
  • 1
    One approach could be to split the paper into a series (i.e. Part I, Part II...).
    – Anyon
    Commented Jun 3 at 14:18
  • 1
    Bless your heart, best of luck with this! Please share here how this progresses for you! Commented Jun 4 at 3:22

1 Answer 1


In theoretical physics, virtually all papers are read online now, a lot of the time as preprints before they are even submitted to journals. So it should not make any practical difference whether your paper appears in a print volume or not.

Fifty-six pages for a Physical Review journal is long, but it's not excessive, especially for one of the online-only journals like PRX Quantum. I imagine that Foundations of Physics would be less well disposed to a paper of that length. Both are respectable journals, whose theoretical subject matter has a great deal of overlap. In particular, while Foundations of Physics focuses heavily on foundational, formal, and interpretational issues in theoretical physics, PRX Quantum is a larger journal, and while its scope is broader, it also publishes papers on fundamental and foundational questions.

Personally, even apart from the length issue I would recommend submitting to PRX Quantum, since it is a non-profit APS journal, unlike Foundations of Physics, which is published by Springer. Moreover, although PRX Quantum is a much younger journal, it already has more than three times as many open access articles published on its Web site.

  • Thank you for your answer, PRX Quantum was the first journal I selected, but later I realized that it is more focused on applied physics or quantum information technology. On the other hand my paper is a the foundations of QM, and it is closer to many of the articles I cite, which have been published in Foundations of Physics.
    – PFerro
    Commented Jun 4 at 17:23
  • For example: Zeilinger, A., 1999. A foundational principle for quantum mechanics. Foundations of Physics, 29(4), pp.631-643. citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/… Clifton, R., Bub, J. and Halvorson, H., 2003. Characterizing quantum theory in terms of information-theoretic constraints. Foundations of Physics, 33, pp.1561-1591. arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/0211089 By the way, the bad news is that both of them are very selective...
    – PFerro
    Commented Jun 4 at 17:34
  • @PFerro If you have truly made a substantive contribution to the quantum reconstruction program, then the selectivity of the journals should not be an issue.
    – Buzz
    Commented Jun 5 at 0:56

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