Instructions to Authors
These instructions are offered as a means to help you be successful in submitting work to The Journal of Genealogy and Family History (ISSN 2399-2964).
They also serve to make the tasks of the editors and reviewers more straightforward. It is extremely helpful when you submit work that is presented, structured and formatted in a way that matches the journal style. It will help us to ensure that the publishing process is as simple and streamlined as possible.
Our approach to publishing
Our Journal’s Aims and Scope sets out what this publication is about. Please start by reading that and satisfy yourself that this is a suitable place for your work to be published. A copy is incorporated at the end of these Instructions.
Your paper is expected to be original and to make a contribution to the field. The material must not have been published elsewhere. The paper needs to be well-researched with fully sourced facts, clearly written and to have conclusions that are cogently argued. Readers should learn from it.
The Journal is a publisher of scholarly work and submits all contributions to a peer-review process to ensure quality and consistency across all that we publish. We also have a defined structure and layout that we require for all contributions, and a standard for referencing that we expect authors to follow. We urge you to check that your work matches these broad requirements. If it does not then it will not be accepted, even for review, so please re-format it, if necessary, before you submit.
Submission is an online procedure that you can carry out from the Journal website. Guidelines for that procedure are incorporated within this document.
Once submitted, the paper will enter the peer-review process. We use what is known as a double-blind approach in which authors remain unaware of the identity of the reviewers while the reviewers in turn are unaware of the identity of the author. It is an established technique for minimizing bias in the review process by focusing on content.
We will require you, therefore, to submit your paper in a form that makes it easy for the editors to anonymise it for peer-review. Guidance on how to do that is provided later.
The Journal of Genealogy and Family History is an open-access journal with material provided free to all readers. It is also essentially free of charge to submitting authors.
We publish online on a progressive basis. That means that a paper, when ready, is published immediately on the Journal website. Once an adequate number of papers has been published a completed Issue will be declared (convenient for citation purposes). In addition, each paper is assigned a unique Digital Object Identifier (DOI) that can be used and referenced as a perpetual means of online access.
Journal articles are published digitally under the terms of an open access license and are made available on a worldwide basis. Readers are given full-text access to all articles free of charge and are able to re-use the published material provided they give appropriate credit to the original publication and license.
The use of the Creative Commons (CC) Attributions License ‘CC BY’ is applied to all published articles. This license allows articles to be re-used, including downloading, copying, distributing, printing, sharing and adapting the published work, providing the terms of the license are adhered to in relation to attribution.
The author retains copyright of the published work without restriction.
The links below provide more information regarding best practices.
Requirements for the paper
We have a number of requirements relating to the form, content and nature of submissions and the information we need on the authors. It is important that you comply with these otherwise your paper may be rejected or there may be significant delays in the publication process.
Please submit your paper as an editable document prepared using Microsoft Word or a fully Word-compatible software system.
Anonymity is important for double-blind peer-review. The editors will remove your name from the start of the paper and any biographical details you have provided. They will replace them prior to copyediting.
However, we ask you to remove any information in your manuscript that could identify you, and disguise all references to personally identifiable information such as a research institution where work was carried out. The main considerations are:
- Check that all internal identifiers have been removed from documents prepared using Microsoft™ Word®. Personal or hidden information is stored in File Properties. These properties include Author, Manager, Company, and Last Saved By.
You must edit the settings to remove that information. On the Word menu, click Preferences, and then click the Security tab. In the Privacy options section of the Security page you then need to check the box labelled ‘Remove personal information from this file on save’. Click OK to save your changes and carry out a save on the document. In File Properties you should then see that the identifiers have gone.
Image files can also carry identification. Right click on the image file and select Get Info to check that the Where from section is clean. If not, open the image file, select File then Duplicate. On the copy do something to change the nature of the file slightly – a small alteration in resolution should do it – then Save the copy with a newish name. The resulting copy file should then be clean.
- In the text, please avoid any mention of yourself as the author.
- Refer to your own references in the third person. For example, write ‘Smith showed11’, not ‘I have previously shown11’.
- Do not add any running headers or footers that would identify you as the author. We will add these according to Journal style at the typesetting stage.
After peer review you will be required to incorporate suggested amendments and improvements (if any) and then submit the full paper, but without figures and illustrations since these must be submitted as separate files to enable typesetting to be properly accomplished.
Our publishing language is English. We expect you to set that as the default for the paper and to run spelling and grammar checks prior to submission.
Please follow an American, Australian or British dictionary consistently for spelling. We recommend either the Oxford Dictionary for Writers & Editors or The Chicago Manual of Style as a style guide.
We provide a template for the layout we prefer you to use in formatting your paper. If you have material prepared already we suggest you copy and paste that material into the template prior to submission.
The principal components we expect to see in the paper (and which are included in the template) are:
- Abstract (100-200 words)
- Keywords (up to six)
- Main Body
- Author brief biography
- References and notes (as endnotes)
- Legends (this list will not appear in the published version)
- Please make sure that all references are in the form of Endnotes. Do not use Footnotes even for additional comments – they too, if needed, can be made as Endnotes.
Note that we do not expect a table of contents or a list of figures. There should be no appendices and no bibliography. We do not expect an exhaustive literature review as is commonly required in dissertations (significant contextual sources of immediate relevance should be cited as appropriate in the Introduction, Main Body and Discussion/Conclusions).
The standard we expect from a paper is perhaps summarised in the guidance we give to the peer reviewers. A copy of the key questions they are asked to consider is included later in these Instructions.
A typical paper will be between 3,000 and 6,000 words excluding tables, captions and endnotes. Revisions may be requested if an article is considered to be too lengthy for the subject discussed. The word number is not absolute and shorter and even longer submissions may be accepted where warranted by the subject matter and the quality of the submission.
In exceptional circumstances the editors may be prepared to accept a longer piece of work to publish as a special monograph issue.
References in the Endnotes must be formatted to conform with recommendations in the University of Strathclyde Referencing Guide for genealogical use. That can be found online
If your article has more than one author, please identify one person as the corresponding author who will handle all communications. All authors must agree on the order of author names at the top of the article.
Please supply a short biographical note (approximately 50 words) for each author. It should include the names by which they wish to be known and their affiliation, if any (the institution they are associated with).
For each author, please provide a postal address, telephone number and email address.
If any author has registered for an ORCID, please provide details for publication.
Tables and figures and legends
Please number tables in order, and mention each one in the text. Provide a title for each.
Figures and illustrations must be provided as separate files rather than being embedded in the text. In the text, mark the approximate position in square brackets, e.g. [Figure 1 near here].
Figures must be scanned at 1200 dpi for line art, 600 dpi for greyscale and 300 dpi for colour.
Please provide a figure number, caption and acknowledgement for each illustration, and make sure that you mention each one in the text.
All legends for tables, figures and illustrations should be provided in a list at the end of the paper (after the References). Do not leave them in the body of the text.
If you have included any material in your manuscript for which you do not hold copyright, you must obtain written permission from the copyright owner.
Before you submit
Please confirm the following before you submit material to the Journal:
- I have carried out a spelling and grammar check on the text.
- I have checked my paper carefully and all the required elements are present.
- The material I am submitting is original and has not been published elsewhere.
- I understand that the paper will be peer-reviewed and that the outcome may be a request to make minor or even major changes.
- I own the rights to all the illustrations or have permission to include them, and the captions clearly indicate this.
- I understand that I will receive a proof to check for any errors introduced during the production process, but that I cannot add new material or request changes other than for corrections at that stage.
In future, papers will be submitted through the Journal website. That mechanism is not fully implemented at this point. For the moment please submit your paper and its set of image files directly by email to the Editor at:
Your paper may be accepted as it is and passed directly to copy-editing and typesetting. You will receive proofs and will have an opportunity to correct any mistakes introduced during the production process. Alterations to the paper at that stage cannot be accommodated.
The commonest outcome from peer-review is an acceptance with minor revisions. You will receive our recommendation from the editor along with consolidated feedback from the reviewers. A deadline will be offered by which you must make the changes as requested and re-submit the paper. At that point the editors will check that amendments have been made as requested and, if so, will pass the paper to production. As before, you will have an opportunity to correct proofs, but not alter the paper.
When the recommendation requires major revision then, again, a deadline will be set. The resubmitted paper may be returned to the reviewers for them to determine whether the changes have achieved the desired level of improvement. Further minor improvements may still be requested (or, exceptionally, it may be determined that the improvements have not succeeded in bringing the material to a publishing level and it may be rejected). The accepted paper goes into production as before.
At the point of publication, when the paper goes live on the website, you will receive notification from the editors.
The publishing process
The overall sequence of events in getting your paper published is as follows:
Standards for formatting family tree images
Our preference is for a simple, clean style with no more than basic BMD facts. This example has been created using Powerpoint (with Calibri as the font and lines of 1 point weight).
The combination of horizontal and vertical presentation is acceptable.
The image should be saved as a PDF and submitted in that file format. We would appreciate it if you would tightly crop the PDF image prior to submission.
Peer review questions
Peer reviewers are asked to consider a range of matters when looking at submitted papers. Their checklist is included here so that you can consider whether your paper has dealt with the things we believe to be significant. They are not all relevant in every case, but we hope they will provide an understanding.
- Does the paper provide a contribution to the field? Is it original, novel, topical, an expansion or addition to current understanding, a meaningful extension to earlier work? Is there evidence of independent thinking and questioning of received wisdom?
- Has the paper answered the key questions it set out to address? Were these questions worthy of attention?
- Is the material presented in a well-structured and accessible way? Is the content organized and laid out well?
- Is the writing fluent? Is the language used clear, coherent and grammatical? Does it use unnecessary jargon? Does it use terms that are unnecessarily rare and obscure? Is it overly concerned with technical detail? Does it fall into anecdote?
- Does the Abstract adequately summarize the key findings/approach of the paper?
- Does the Introduction provide a sound, and sufficiently broad, context to the paper and identify other key contributions in the field?
- Has a wide range of appropriate sources and seminal works been consulted? Have any little-known or little-researched sources been used with effect?
- Are research strategies well defined and clearly focused and have they been pursued in an effective way?
- Where appropriate, are there good descriptions of technical Methods employed and of the ways in which their outputs are to be interpreted?
- Are Results clearly structured, presented and labelled? Is there a good choice of visualizations (such as tables and graphics) that communicate well to the reader? Are they clearly presented, properly scaled and offered with well-judged comparisons? Have appropriate statistical methods been used in assessing numerical measures?
- Are genealogical findings evidence-based, and based on sources that are demonstrably useful in this field? Are assumed linkages accurately derived following a clearly described assessment of sources and source data?
- Are family trees drawn according to Journal standards?
- Are sources for information cited in all cases, and are corresponding references provided, in the required style?
- Are Conclusions based on clear logical arguments that emerge from a sound assessment of results and findings? Are they well structured to make key points cogently? Are conclusions based on extensive and detailed analysis of results?
- Is the length of each section of the paper appropriate (neither unnecessarily long to convey what is needed nor too short)?