The Manuscript Preparation section outlines the process of producing a manuscript for submission to an unspecified APSA journal. Authors should prepare their manuscripts using these general guidelines alongside any journal-specific guidelines so that the journal’s editor(s) can process them in a timely and efficient manner.
- Authors must distinguish their manuscripts with original content. Authors should not submit manuscripts that are substantially similar to submitted, forthcoming, or published works. It is the author’s responsibility to disclose any such related publications connections to the editor(s).
- Manuscripts should also be self-contained. Authors should not refer readers to other publications for descriptions of basic research procedures such as sampling methods, question wording, or experimental protocols.
- For ease of use with editorial management systems and for copyediting purposes, authors should write their manuscript using a word processor that is commonly available and easily convertible to other formats, such as Microsoft Word.
- Online writing and content-sharing platforms can also be utilized, such as Google Docs, as long as manuscripts can be converted into the specific journal’s accepted file format.
- Submitting manuscripts from document preparation systems, such as LaTeX, depends on each journal’s guidelines.
- Authors should create their manuscript with the knowledge that when a manuscript is typeset and paginated for publication, a different format will more than likely be used. To ease this process, the manuscript should be organized in the following order, with each list item beginning on a new page:
- Title page, with abstract
- Anonymized manuscript text
- Notes, if necessary (for submission, use footnotes; manuscripts accepted for publication may have footnotes changed to endnotes)
- Reference List
- Tables, titled and numbered, each on a separate page, followed by figures in the same format (for submission, indicate in the text approximately where each should fall; note: this is on a case-by-case basis as some journals want tables and figures placed within the manuscript’s text as in-text tables with editable formatting)
- Appendix or supplementary material, if necessary
- The title and subtitle of a manuscript should be descriptive and short (aim for 12 words maximum combined, preferably fewer). Subtitles always begin with a capital letter and are separated from the title by either a question mark, an exclamation point, or a colon, never by an em dash (8.164). Do not use a colon after a question mark or exclamation point.
Publishing Political Science: APSA Guide to Writing and Publishing; “Whither Parties? Hume on Partisanship and Political Legitimacy”
- APSA style utilizes headline-style capitalization. Headline-style capitalization refers to using upper case letters for each word in a title or subtitle, except for prepositions, conjunctions, and the articles the, a, and an (8.159). Sentence-style capitalization, on the other hand, refers to only capitalizing the first word, words following colons, and any proper names in the title or subtitle (8.158).
“Political Distrust and Support for Insurgent Candidates in the 2016 Primary”; not “Political distrust and support for insurgent candidates in the 2016 primary”
- Beneath the title and subtitle on the title page, include an abstract of no more than 150 words succinctly describing the research question, methods, and findings or conclusions presented. The abstract should summarize the manuscript, not act as an introduction (2.25).
- The title and the abstract of the manuscript will form the basis of promotional material and descriptive metadata. This content is also indexed by major search engines. When authors include unusual words, puns, or non-descriptive phrases, it makes it less likely that the manuscript will be indexed properly or found by researchers seeking to cite it.
- APSA journals will not consider a manuscript that exceeds its individualized word limit. These word limits include all aspects of the manuscript: title, abstract, text, appendices, notes, references, tables, and figures. Word limits vary greatly between journals and even within sections of specific journals. Be sure to check each journal’s general and section-specific guidelines. For more on the actual style of the manuscript text, see the Punctuation and Style sections.
- Headings and subheadings should be short and meaningful as well as parallel in structure and tone throughout the manuscript. Headings and subheadings should stand separately from the text (i.e., the first sentence underneath should again refer to the topic) (1.55).
- Headings and subheadings are usually set on a separate line and differentiated by a combination of size, style, and placement. Make sure that each level is consistent throughout the manuscript. The headings and subheadings in this manual form a hierarchal example.
- More often than not, the ultimate size, style, and placement of the type will depend on the journal’s specific style.
- Avoid underline and boldface, as not all journals styles will accommodate them. Authors should utilize italics instead.
- Try to use special characters, as most can now be found in newer versions of word processors or through an online search. If a special character cannot be found, indicate this to the editors (2.16).
- Figures and tables should be numbered consecutively and must be mentioned within the text (2.28-2.30).
- Indent a block quote using a word processor’s indentation feature. The text that follows a block quote should only be indented if it begins a new paragraph (2.19). The same rules apply to ordered and unordered lists (2.21).
- Use the footnote function in a word processor to connect footnotes to the referenced location in the manuscript text (2.22). Avoid appending a note to a title, heading, or subheading. Notes appended to tables and figures should be numbered separately and placed below or within the table or figure itself.
- Manually inserted word and line breaks should not be applied at the manuscript stage, as this will not align with the typesetting and pagination process. Use hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes accordingly (2.14).
- Use indents and tabs as well as paragraph formatting in an initial manuscript as it makes it easier for the editor(s) to identify (2.11-2.12). Each entry in a reference list should begin on a new line. Do not use tab to indent runover lines, use the word processor’s indentation feature (2.24).
- Turn the hyphenation feature off during manuscript writing so that the only hyphens existing are purposeful in the manuscript (2.13).
- Authors should do a final check of the manuscript’s preparation (alongside style and grammar) including (2.32):
- Titles and subtitles
- Figures, and tables and their captions against textual references
- All internal and external hyperlinks
- Quotations against original sources
- Notes against text citations
- Parenthetical text citations against the reference list
- References on the reference list
- Name and designation of author
- Lastly, remove any draft comments from the final submitted version.
Notes, Parenthetical Citations, References, Tables & Figures
- For more on constructing notes, parenthetical citations, the reference list, and tables and figures, see the dedicated sections on this site.
Appendix and Supplementary Material
- If data are critical to the manuscript’s context but cannot be properly woven into the body text, an appendix should be created. Appendices follow the same guidelines as the rest of the manuscript. Similar to tables and figures, they should be mentioned in the manuscript’s body text.
- If the data are not critical to the manuscript’s context, but would otherwise provide missing data, supplementary material can be created. The supplementary material is submitted in the same fashion as an appendix, but does not need to be mentioned explicitly in the manuscript’s body text.
- Authors should get in the practice of always crediting any external sources that are used in the writing and preparation of a manuscript (4.75). If a work is copyrighted, permissions may need to be granted from the copyright owner to use the work in a manuscript. It is the ethical obligation of the author to obtain consent. Permissions should be received by the author in writing. Furthermore, it is the author’s responsibility to keep track of all copyright owners from whom they receive permissions, as the publisher will ask for them if necessary.
- Since the process of having permissions granted may take months, it should begin immediately after the manuscript is accepted for publication (4.76). Permission fees to use an external source will, in most circumstances, be paid by the author (4.79). If any permissions issues arise, authors should let the editor know immediately.
- Request permission with the title of the original work, the exact identification of what will be reprinted, information about the publication in which the material will be reproduced, and the kind of rights requested. The rights requested are, at best, nonexclusive world rights in all languages and for all editions in print and other media (4.95). Going to the publisher of a work may not be enough, especially for pictures. If the publisher does not have the right to sublicense something, the author must go to the original creator of the work (4.89).
- Stock agencies and image archives are the easiest repositories to obtain permissions from (4.99).
- Fees paid to reproduce illustrations usually cover one-time use only (4.101).
- To avoid potential permissions issues, authors may choose to seek out Creative Commons licensed material, especially images, for use in their manuscripts. Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that grants easy-to-use copyright licenses that give the public permission to share and use creative work—on conditions of the author’s choice—from all rights reserved to some rights reserved.
- Creative Commons licenses seek to extend fair use, and therefore are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable authors to modify copyright terms to best suit their needs. Creative Commons’ website hosts a search engine that finds images, media, music, videos and more than utilize CC licenses. Content found through this search engine is often available for commercial usage without attribution, although specific licenses should be examined carefully: https://search. creativecommons.org/.
- The fair use doctrine, which has developed over time, is seen as one of the cornerstones of free expression in the United States. Fair use limits copyright to balance the interests of copyright holders with public interest in the wider distribution and use of creative works. Fair use was for years a defense to copyright infringement, but is now recognized by law to be an expressly authorized right.
- Fair use is determined by (1) the purpose and character of use, whether for commercial or educational purposes, (2) the nature of the copyrighted work, (3) the amount and substantialness of the portion in relation to the whole, and (4) the effect of the use on the potential market for the copyrighted work. Fair use must not misconstrue the original meaning of the work in any way (4.84).
- The use of an entire literary work in its entirety is hardly ever acceptable. Use that is not fair will not be excused by paraphrasing, as it is considered disguise copying by copyright doctrine (4.89).
- Pictures, pictorials and graphics are fair use when providing “visual context” to the text. Until recently, fair use only applied to thumbnail sized images, although this has been revised (4.90). Graphs, charts, and tables are usually considered fair use, unless many pictorial elements are involved (4.91).
- Attribution bolsters a claim of fair use and helps avoid any accusation of plagiarism (4.92). Fair use should be applied boldly, excessive permissions processing can slow down the publishing process. If permissions are denied or granted at an unreasonable price, authors should consider whether a sound case might exist for fair use (4.93).
- All APSA journal articles are peer-reviewed as double-blind or triple-blind. In a double-blind peer review, the identities of the author and the reviewers are not shared with each other, while the identities of both the author and reviewers are known by the editor(s). In a triple-blind peer review, the editor does not know the identity of the author.
- Manuscripts must be prepared such that the author’s identity is not compromised in any way. Manuscripts with potentially compromised anonymity or that disregard the required formatting will be returned, thereby delaying the review process. To comply with this, the title page of the submitted manuscript should not include author names, institutions, or other personal information. Editorial Manager, the manuscript tracking system currently used by the American Political Science Review, PS: Political Science & Politics, and Perspectives on Politics, and Scholar One for the Journal of Political Science Education, anonymize files uploaded to some degree, but authors should replace labels of any figures, tables, and appendices that reference the author with generic titles (e.g., “Table 1,” “Figure 3,” or “Appendix A”). Authors should also anonymize the titles of the files that are uploaded into the manuscript tracking system.
- Each journal’s manuscript tracking system will record author name(s), institutional affiliation(s), and contact information (and in the case of multiple authors, an indication of the author who will receive correspondence), as well as acknowledgments, including the names of any colleagues who have provided comments on the manuscript.
- For manuscript citations, if an author’s previous publications are cited, citations should be done in a way that does not make the authorship of the submitted paper obvious. This is most easily accomplished by referring to oneself in the third person and including normal references to the work cited in the list of references. Assuming that text references to an author’s previous work are in third person, full citations should be included as usual in the reference list. Use of other procedures to render manuscripts anonymous should be discussed with the managing editor prior to submission. Authors should not thank colleagues in notes or elsewhere in the body of the paper or mention institution names, web page addresses, or any other identifying information.
- After a manuscript is submitted under the proper format, style, with all permissions necessary, and peer-reviewed, expect the editor(s) to reach out in regards to a decision. The timeline of acceptance will vary depending on each journal’s peer review and acceptance, revision, or denial processes. Authors can expect, in most cases, to wait a few months between submitting and receiving a decision.
- If the manuscript is accepted, the manuscript may or may not be copyedited by the editor(s), depending on the journal. If copyedited, the editor(s) may reach out to ask questions related to the manuscript at this time. While each journal has different processes for doing so, authors should be prepared to use document markup software, such as Adobe Acrobat, Google Docs, or the track changes feature in Microsoft Word to provide copyediting feedback and answer questions from the editor(s).
- This is also a time for the author to prepare marketing materials, including a headshot, social media copy, blog post content, and potentially even a video. This is largely up to the author, but expect to, at the least, adhere to the minimum marketing strategy that the editor(s) use.