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|What We Check
Journal guidelines are very specific and comprehensive. Examples of some of the
seemingly minor yet important details that journals address include: word limits,
spelling/grammar (American or British?), heading rules/style, and much more.
Two of the most problematic for authors are citations and especially References
the following. Perhaps surprisingly, these differences matter.
In-text citations ("&" or "and"? comma before year? semicolon between citations?
arranged chronologically or alphabetically?):
References (The variations are endless & include comma/period use, placement
of initials, overall organization (alpha/chron), even – vs. - for page ranges):
See the following authors' guidelines as an example (reduced to save space),
taken with permission from the American Journal of Physical Anthropology:
General instructions. The manuscript should have a uniform style and be
submitted exactly as it is to appear in print. It should consist of the following
subdivisions in order, each prepared as a unit on separate pages or in separate
files, as indicated in the “Online Submission” section:
The manuscript, including literature cited, should be double-spaced using a 1"
(2.5 cm) margin on all sides. Number the manuscript pages consecutively,
beginning with the title page. Page limit: maximum of 25 pages for text, including
Literature Cited, excluding tables and figures.
Title page. The title page must contain the following elements:
Abstract. Of 250 words or less, following the title page. Should be written in
complete sentences and state the objectives, design, materials and methods,
and the principal observations and conclusions.
Literature cited. In the text, references to literature should be cited by author's
surname followed by year of publication. If there are multiple citations, present
The literature list must be arranged alphabetically, not chronologically, by author
surname(s) in the following style: name(s), year of publication, complete title,
volume, and inclusive pages as follows:
Trinkaus E, Churchill SE, and Ruff CB. 1994. Postcranial robusticity in Homo:
Humeral bilateral asymmetry and bone plasticity. Am J Phys Anthropol 93:1–34.
Bogin B. 2001. The growth of humanity. New York: Wiley-Liss.
Gruner O. 1993. Identification of skulls: A historical review and practical
applications. In: Iscan MY, Helmer RP, editors. Forensic analysis of the skull. New
York: Wiley-Liss. p 29–45.
Footnotes. Footnotes to the text should be limited as much as possible and must
be numbered consecutively. The corresponding reference numbers must be
clearly indicated in the text.
Footnotes to a table should be typed directly beneath the table and numbered with
superscripts (e.g., 1, 2, 3). They should not be numbered in sequence with the
footnotes in the text.
Tables. All tables must be cited in the text. Do not imbed tables in the text. They
should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals. Type double-spaced.
Indicate in the margin where the tables are to appear in the text. Table titles
should be complete but brief.
figures in the text. Provide a separate list of figure legends. Figure legends are to
Figures and figure be numbered consecutively as follows: Fig. 1, Fig. 2, and
should follow the sequence of reference in the text. Type double-spaced.
Symbols. The metric system should be used for all measurements.
Temperatures should be expressed in degrees Celsius (centigrade). Metric
abbreviations should be expressed in standard notation lower-case (e.g., mm)
without periods. When preceded by a digit, the following symbols are to be used:
% for percent; ° for degree.
Text headings. Do not begin the body of the paper with the heading "Introduction."
The first heading should follow the introduction. The journal uses a system of
primary, secondary, and tertiary headings. All letters for primary headings are in
caps (e.g., RESULTS ). Only the first letter of secondary and tertiary headings and
proper nouns are in caps (e.g., Complete set of morphological features). All are
boldfaced. Primary and secondary headings are centered. Tertiary headings are
italicized, end in a period, and are the beginning of the first line of the paragraph.
Numbering. Figures (incl. charts and graphs) must be numbered consecutively.
[note: this excerpt was condensed, and omits many other points. International Edit
thanks the American Journal of Physical Anthropology for its adapted use.]