Author Guidelines

Article Types | Structure | Language & Text | Data & Symbols | Figures & Tables | References

The Open Library of Humanities journal is no longer accepting general submissions. Please only use this page to submit if you are submitting an article to an open call for one of our Special Collections; general submissions will not be considered at this time.

Submissions should be made electronically through this website. Please ensure that you consider the following guidelines when preparing your manuscript. Failure to do so may delay the processing of your submission.

Article Types

Research articles must describe the outcomes of unpublished original research. These should make a substantial contribution to knowledge and understanding in the subject matter. If appropriate, it should be supported by relevant figures and tabulated data. Research articles should be of an appropriate length for the discipline. While we recommend 8,000 words, this is flexible. All word limits include referencing and citation.

  • Special Collections: If your article is being submitted for consideration within a particular Special Collection, please ensure that you submit it to the correct section. When you submit, the list of current OLH Special Collections will appear on the drop-down menu and you can click on the relevant collection at the point of submission; please also add the name of the collection that you are submitting to in your notes to the editor. Please note that Special Collections are time-sensitive and will not appear in this drop-down menu after the deadline has passed for the Call for Articles.
  • General Articles: We are currently closed to general article submissions, and so only submissions to an open Special Collections call will be considered.

Referencing Style

This journal recommends, but does not require, the Harvard system of referencessee the 'Referencing' section for examples of how to format. Authors not submitting in Harvard style must ensure their references are internally consistent within the manuscript.


Before submission, every effort must be made to ensure that author names are removed from the submitted manuscript. The following link provides information on ensuring a blind review.

Following successful peer-review, the following information will then be inserted into the manuscript during the copyediting stage. At this point, the title page on the final manuscript must include all of the below information, in the same order. No further information should be included:

  • Title
  • Full author name(s)
  • Affiliation(s)
  • Corresponding author's email address (other author email addresses are optional)

Author names must include a forename and a surname. Forenames cannot include only initials.

  • J. Bloggs is not permitted. The full name, Joe Bloggs is required

The affiliation should ideally include 'Department, Institution, City, Country'. However, only the Institution and Country are mandatory.

Research articles must have the main text prefaced by an abstract of no more than 250 words summarising the main arguments and conclusions of the article. This must have the heading 'Abstract' and be easily identified from the start of the main text.

A list of up to six keywords may be placed below the abstract (this is optional). The abstract and keywords should also be added to the metadata when making the initial online submission.

Main text
The body of the submission should be structured in a logical and easy to follow manner. A clear introduction section should be given.

Up to three level headings may be present and must be clearly identifiable using different font sizes, bold or italics. We suggest using Headings 1, 2 and 3 in MS-Word's 'Style' section.

Acknowledgements (optional)
Any acknowledgements must be headed and in a separate paragraph, placed after the main text but before the reference list.

Competing interests (optional)
If any of the authors have any competing interests then these must be declared. A short paragraph should be placed before the references. Please read our competing interest policy.

Ethics and consent (if applicable)
Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Where applicable, the studies must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee and the authors should include a statement within the article text detailing this approval, including the name of the ethics committee and reference number of the approval. For most research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study should be obtained from participants (or their parent or guardian in the case of children under 16).

All references cited within the submission must be listed at the end of the main text file.

Language & Text

For the submission title:

Capitalise all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and subordinate conjunctions (i.e. as, because, although). Use lower case for all articles, coordinate conjunctions and prepositions.

  • Slip-Sliding on a Yellow Brick Road: Stabilization Efforts in Afghanistan
  • Person Recognition is Easier from Faces than from Voices

Headings within the main text:

First level headings in the text should follow the same rule as the main title.

For lower-level subheadings, only capitalise the first letter and proper nouns.

Submissions may be made in any language. Although we are an Anglophone-based journal, we will attempt to find experts to handle submissions in any language. Non-English submissions may take us slightly longer to handle.

Authors submitting in English are welcome to use American or British spellings as long as they are used consistently throughout the whole of the submission.

  • Colour (UK) vs. Color (US)
  • Centre (UK) vs. Center (US)

When referring to proper nouns and normal institutional titles, the official, original spelling must be used.

  • World Health Organization, not World Health Organisation

If submitting in English, American or English grammar rules may be used as long as they are used consistently and match the spelling format (see above). For instance, you may use a serial comma or not.

  • red, white, and blue OR red, white and blue

The font used should be commonly available and in an easily readable size. This may be changed during the typesetting process and will not necessarily be the published font.

Underlined text should be avoided whenever possible. Bold or italicised text to emphasise a point are permitted, although should be restricted to minimal occurrences to maximise their efficiency.

Use bullet points to denote a list without hierarchy or order of value. If the list indicates a specific sequence then a numbered list must be used.

Lists should be used sparingly to maximise their impact.

Quotation marks
Use single quotation marks except for quotes within another speech, in which case double quotation marks are used.

Quotations that are longer than three lines in length must be in an indented paragraph separate from the main text.

The standard, non-italicised font must be used for all quotes.

It must be clear from the text and/or citation where the quote is sourced. If quoting from material that is under copyright then permission will need to be obtained from the copyright holder prior to submission.

If some of the original quote is being omitted then an ellipsis with a space on either side must be used to break the text.

  • ... each sample was processed in identical environments ...

Words added to the original quote text, to enhance clarity, must be placed within square brackets.

  • the country [France] was ranked number one for cuisine

Acronyms & Abbreviations
With abbreviations, the crucial goal is to ensure that the reader  particularly one who may not be fully familiar with the topic or context being addressed  is able to follow along. Spell out almost all acronyms on first use, indicating the acronym in parentheses immediately thereafter. Use the acronym for all subsequent references.

  • Research completed by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows ... 

A number of abbreviations are so common that they do not require the full text on the first instance. Examples of these can be found at:

Abbreviations should usually be in capital letters without full stops.

  • USA, not U.S.A

Common examples from Latin origin do not follow this rule and should be lower case and can include full stops.

  • e.g., i.e., etc.

Trade names
To ensure impartiality, trade names should be avoided in favour of generic names, unless absolutely necessary. If a trade name is mentioned then its inclusion must be put in context and explained/justified.

Use of footnotes/endnotes
Use endnotes rather than footnotes (we refer to these as 'Notes' in the online publication). These appear at the end of the main text, before 'References'. All notes should be used only where crucial clarifying information needs to be conveyed.

Avoid using notes for purposes of referencing, with in-text citations used instead. If in-text citations cannot be used, a source can be cited as part of a note.

Please insert the endnote marker after the end punctuation (endnote numbers should appear after a punctuation mark, and not before it).

Data & Symbols

Symbols are permitted within the main text and datasets as long as they are commonly in use or have explanatory definition on their first usage.

Hyphenation, em and en dashes
There is no set rule on the use of hyphenation between words, as long as they are consistently used.

Em dashes should be used sparingly. If they are present, they should denote emphasis, change of thought or interruption to the main sentence and can replace comas, parentheses, colons or semicolons.

  • The president's niecedaughter of his younger brothercaused a media scandal when... 

En dashes can be used to replace 'to' when indicating a range. No space should be around the dash.

  • 10–25 years
  • pp. 10–65

For numbers zero to nine please spell the whole words. Please use figures for numbers 10 or higher.

  • This study looked at five case studies
  • This study looked at 12 case studies

We are happy for authors to use either words or figures to represent large whole figures (i.e. one million or 1,000,000) as long as the usage is consistent throughout the text.

If the sentence includes a series of numbers then figures must be used in each instance.

  • Artefacts were found at depths of 5, 9, and 29 cm.

If the number appears as part of a dataset, in conjunction with a symbol or as part of a table then the figure must be used.

If a number is presented with a symbol then the figure must be not separated from the unit by a space.

  • This study confirmed that 5% of...

If a sentence starts with a number it must be spelt, or the sentence should be re-written so that it no longer starts with the number.

  • Fifteen examples were found to exist...
  • The result showed that 15 examples existed...

When a number consists of more than four digits it must be split by a comma after every three digits to the left of the decimal place.

  • 23,654

Do not use a comma for a decimal place.

  • 2.43 NOT 2,43

Numbers that are less that zero must have '0' precede the decimal point.

  • 0.24 NOT .24

Units of measurement
Symbols following a figure to denote a unit of measurement must be taken from the latest International System of Units (SI) brochure. See for the full brochure.

Months and Years
When in the main text, months must be written in full. If displayed as part of a dataset then a shortened version is acceptable as long as the meaning is still clear. Months should always begin with a capital letter.

  • January  Jan; February  Feb etc.

Use figures for years, decades and centuries. Do not include an apostrophe before the 's'.

  • 1995
  • 1980s
  • 16th-century

Formulae must be proofed carefully by the author. Editors will not edit formulae. If special software has been used to create formulae, the way it is laid out is the way that any formulae will appear in the publication.

When presented in the main text, fractions must be written in non-hyphenated words, not figures.

  • Three quarters of the study sample.


  • £ for British Pound Sterling,  for Euro, e.g. £50, 100
  • US$, C$, NZ$, A$ to distinguish between the different dollar currencies

If the currency is unclear from the symbol then it must be written in full for the first use and then abbreviated there after

  • 45 Egyptian Pounds (E£ or EGP)

There must be no space between the currency symbol and the number

Figures & Tables

Figures, including graphs and diagrams, must be professionally and clearly presented. If a figure is not easy to understand or does not appear to be of a suitable quality, the editor may ask to re-render or omit it.

All figures must be cited within the main text, in consecutive order using Arabic numerals (e.g. Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.).

Each figure must have an accompanying descriptive main title. This should clearly and concisely summarise the content and/or use of the figure image. A short additional figure legend is optional to offer a further description.

Figure titles and legends should be placed within the text document, either after the paragraph of their first citation, or as a list after the references.

The source of the image should be included, along with any relevant copyright information and a statement of authorisation (if needed). If using images from an archive then please provide the name of the archive, the collection and the acquisition number.

  • Figure 1: Firemen try to free workers buried under piles of concrete and metal girders. Photo: Claude-Michel Masson, published in Le Figaro (16 January 1964), p. 18. Reproduced with permission of the photographer.

If your figure file includes text then please present the font as Ariel, Helvetica, or Verdana. This will mean that it matches the typeset text.

NOTE: All figures must be uploaded separately as supplementary files during the submission process, if possible in colour and at a resolution of at least 300dpi. Each file should not be more than 20MB. Standard formats accepted are: JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, EPS. For line drawings, please provide the original vector file (e.g. .ai, or .eps).

Tables must be created using a word processor's table function, and not using tabbed text. Tables should be included in the manuscript. The final layout will place the tables as close to their first citation as possible.

All tables must be cited within the main text, numbered with Arabic numerals in consecutive order (e.g. Table 1, Table 2, etc.). The shortened word 'Tab' should not be used to cite a table.

Each table must have an accompanying descriptive title. This should clearly and concisely summarise the content and/or use of the table. A short additional table legend is optional to offer a further description of the table. The table title and legend should be placed underneath the table.

Tables should not include:

  • Rotated text
  • Colour to denote meaning (it will not display the same on all devices)
  • Images
  • Vertical or diagonal lines
  • Multiple parts (e.g. 'Table 1a' and 'Table 1b'). These should either be merged into one table, or separated into 'Table 1' and 'Table 2'.

NOTE: If there are more columns than can fit on a single page, then the table will be placed horizontally on the page. If it still can't fit horizontally on a page, the table will be broken into two.


In-text citations
Every use of information from other sources must be cited in the text so that it is clear that external material has been used.

If the author is already mentioned in the main text then the year should follow the name within parenthesis.

  • Both Jones (2013) and Brown (2010) showed that ...

If the author name is not mentioned in the main text then the surname and year should be inserted, in parenthesis, after the relevant text. Multiple citations should be separated by semi-colon and follow alphabetical order.

  • Existing work clearly shows this to be untrue (Brown, 2010; Jones, 2013).

If three or fewer authors are cited from the same citation then all should be listed. If four or more authors are part of the citation then 'et al.' should follow the first author name.

  • (Jones, Smith and Brown, 2008)
  • (Jones et al., 2008)

If citations are used from the same author and the same year, then a lowercase letter, starting from 'a', should be placed after the year.

  • (Jones, 2013a; Jones, 2013b)

If specific pages are being cited then the page number should follow the year, after a colon.

  • (Brown, 2004: 65; Jones, 2013: 143)

For publications authored and published by organisations, use the short form of the organisation's name or its acronym in lieu of the full name.

  • (ICRC 2000) NOT (International Committee of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies 2000)

Please do not include URLs in parenthetical citations, but rather cite the author or page title, and then include all details, including the URL, in the reference list.

Reference list
All citations must be listed at the end of the text file, in alphabetical order of the authors' surnames.

All reading materials should be included in 'References'. Works which have not been cited within the main text, but which the author wishes to share with the reader, must be cited as additional information in endnotes explaining the relevance of the work. This will ensure that all works within the reference list are cited within the text.

NOTE: If multiple works by the same author are being listed, please re-type the author's name for each entry, rather than using a long dash.

Please also note that DOIs should be included for all reference entries, where possible.

  • Books:

Author, A A Year Title. Place of publication: Publisher.

Adam, D J 1984 Stakeholder analysis. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Silverman, D F and Propp, K K (eds.) 1990 The active interview. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Achebe, C 1995 Colonialist Criticism. In: Ashcroft, B et al The Post Colonial Studies Reader. London: Routledge. pp. 57–61.

NOTE: If multiple works by the same author are being listed, please re-type the author's name out for each entry, rather than using a long dash.

  • Journal articles:

Author, A Year Title. Journal name, vol(issue): page. DOI

Martin, L 2010 Bombs, bodies and biopolitics: Securitizing the subject at airport security. Social and Cultural Geography, 11(1): 17–34.

NOTE: Please include DOIs for all journal articles where possible, using https and without using dx in the domain name, as in the following format:

  • Newspaper articles:

Author, A Year Title. Newspaper, date of publication, page.

Tate, P 2007 Illicit organ trade increasing. The Jordan Times, 6 June, p. 3.

  • Conference papers:

Author, A Year Title of chaper. In: Title of conference proceedings, location, date, pp. page.

Lynch, M 2003 Dialogue in an age of terror. In: The Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, PA on 18 August 2003, pp. 4–7.

  • Organisational publications/Grey literature:

Author group Year Title. Place of publication: Publisher

World Health Organization 2010 The world health report  Health systems financing: the path to universal coverage. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO.

  • Theses and dissertations:

Author, A Year Title. Unpublished thesis (PhD), institution.

Yudis, A 2004 Failed responsibility of the media in the war on Iraq. Unpublished thesis (PhD), University of Manchester.

  • Webpages / PDFs:

Author, A Year Title, date of publication. URL [Last accessed date month year].

Pascual, Amb. C 2005 Stabilization and Reconstruction: Building peace in a hostile environment. Prepared statement to Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 16 June 2005. http://2001– [Last accessed 14 August 2012].

  • Social Media:

Author, Initials Year. Title of page. [Social media type] Day/month post written. URL [Last accessed date].

Andrews, A 2012. Customer Focus Group [Facebook]. 11 November. [Last accessed 11 November 2010].

Author, Initials Year. Full text of tweet. [Social media type] Day/month tweet written. URL [Last accessed date].

Big Red Corporation 2013. New products for cars [Twitter]. 17 May. [Last accessed 13 November 2010].