Notes to contributors


The aim of the British Journal of Sociology is to provide a medium for the publication of original papers covering the entire span of sociological thought and research. The editors are particularly keen to publish work by younger sociologists on current developments in research and analysis.

  • All contributions should be made through ScholarOne
  • Correspondence should be sent to BJS.office@wiley.com
  • Books for review should be addressed to :

The British Journal of Sociology
London School of Economics
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE

Email: BJS.office@wiley.com

Revision process

Papers submitted for publication are entered into a double-blind peer review system and normally read by at least two assessors as well as by one of the Editors.  The Editors'decision will be final. Articles submitted to the Journal should be an original piece of work, not been published before and not being considered for publication elsewhere in its final form either in printed or electronic form.

The BJS uses the iThenticate to verify the originality of content submitted before publication. The iThenticate software checks submissions against millions of published research papers, documents on the web, and other relevant sources. Authors can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission.

To assure the integrity of the double-blind peer review process, papers should not be accessible via Google or other search engines and should not appear in any form on websites.

BJS follows the Wiley-Blackwell publication ethics guidelines and is a member of the Committee of Publishing Ethics.

Guidelines for articles

  1. Manuscripts should normally be approximately 8,000 words in length (including the Notes/Bibliography section). Please note that overly long papers will be returned without review at the Editors' discretion.
  2. Research notes/commentaries making contemporary contributions to the Journal's fields of interest will also be considered by the Editors but these should not be longer than 2,500 words.
  3. Review essays: Discursive book review essays, situated within current debates, will be commissioned and will normally be between 5-5,500 words. They will be peer reviewed and the guidelines set down below for articles should be followed for layout purposes.

General Notes

  1. Papers: All submitted work should be provided in PDF files and set in double-line spacing and conform to the BJS housestyle set down below.

  2. Papers identified as appearing to be in an early draft form will be returned to authors and removed from the assessment system.

  3. The Journal employs a peer review process where both authors and assessors are anonymous, authors should therefore ensure that their identities are not revealed in any way within their submitted articles and where this is not done authors will be asked to resubmit a version which hides their identity.

  4. Authors are permitted to suggest between 3 and 5 potential assessors for their papers. If this option is exercised, at least 3 names must be suggested so as not to jeopardize the integrity of the blind review process. Only one of the suggested assessors will be approached at any one time and the use of named assessors will be at the discretion of the Editor responsible for the paper in question (please note that here is no guarantee that any of the suggestions will be used). For each assessor suggested authors should include the full name, position, email address and a sentence explaining why the person named is qualified to review their paper.

  5. The online system will prompt you to upload PDF copies of:

    - a covering letter, containing assessor suggestions,

    -a title page (stating only the title, number of words and date of submission),

    - a copy of the article text. Please ensure you enter the title of the paper together with the wordlength and date of submission listed below the title and abstract,
-if figures and tables cannot be embedded/Included in the text these should be supplied as separate PDF files for uploading onto the system as indicated.

  6. Title page: The title of the article, number of words (to include abstract, text, notes, bibliography and appendices) and date of submission or when the paper was last updated (i.e. no author names or contact details) should appear on a separate sheet to be uploaded onto the system.
  7. Article Text: should contain the title, workdcount, abstract and six keywords and should contain no identifiable references to the author either in the text or in the acknowledgements or endnotes.
  8. Abstracts: When submitting to the online system you will be asked to copy and paste in the abstract plus 6 keywords into the relevant boxes. You should provide an abstract of up to 300 words, giving a concise statement of the intention, results and conclusions of the paper should be attached to the article.
  9. Dates: should be given in the form '12 December 1972' or 'on 12 December'.
  10. Numbering: The least number of figures should be used in page numbers, dates etc. (eg pp. 22-4; 105-6 and 1948-9). In text and tables, decimals should be expressed: 0.012, 1.01 etc.
  11. Spelling practices should be consistent throughout the article: acknowledgment (not acknowledgement); judgment etc.; organize, recognize etc. BUT analyse not analyze; focusing, focused; co-operation; in so far as (four words), inasmuch as (two words), none the less (three words), nevertheless (one word).
  12. Abbreviations: full stops should follow abbreviations e.g. pp., p., ed. (but eds), vol. ( but vols), no. ( but nos), and full stops should not be used for Dr, Mr or in acronyms such as NATO or UN, or well-known abbreviations, BBC, USA, MP.
  13. Quotation marks: always single except for a quote within a quote: 'Parliament "ought" to approve the legislation', he said.
  14. The words 'per cent' and not 'percent' or '%' should appear in the text but '%' may be used in the Notes section, figures and tables.
  15. Authors should avoid the use of sexist and racist language. Many professional bodies, such as the British Sociological Association, provide guidelines to assist authors.
  16. Tables and figures should appear on separate sheets with self-explanatory titles. The position in the text of each table and figure should be clearly indicated in the manuscript. They should be consecutively numbered using Roman numerals (Table I, Table II etc.) and tables should contain the minimal number of lines with no boxes. Please refer to editions of the Journal for sample layouts. If tables and figures cannot be included at the end of the text of the paper for any reason, then separate files for these need to be PDF'd and uploaded during the submission process. If the article is accepted for publication you may be asked to supply line and combination line/tone artwork as .eps files (one per figure) of 800 dpi, and tone artwork (photographs) as .tif files of 300 dpi. Colour must be converted to greyscale, ensuring that any resulting tints of black are distinguishable from each other where this is important to the diagram. Please contact the Journal Office for further guidance.
  17. Notes appearing in the text should be kept to a minimum. They should be consecutively numbered using superscripts and placed at the appropriate point in the text.
  18. Acknowledgements should be noted by the use of a superscript number '1' following the title of the article and the acknowledgement itself included in the Notes section.
  19. Notes section: All the material relating to notes cited in the text should be set in double line spacing and placed in a 'Notes' section at the end of the article before the Bibliography.
  20. Bibliographical referencing in text: The Journal uses the Harvard version of the author-date system for bibliographical references where the author and year of publication appear in the text and the full reference appears in a 'Bibliography' section at the end of the article. Please ensure all quotations are correctly referenced in the text and entered in the Bibliography.

    a. The form to be followed in the text is
    - 'of patriarchal authority (Connell l987: l59-60)'
    - 'for example, Riley (l983) ...'
    - 'a new view of operations (Abu-Lughold l994; Watson 1999; Davis 1999)
    - in the case of two works being referred to in the article which are by the same author and published in the same year the reference should be as follows 'see, for example Smith (1990a)', and if both are to be included in the one reference: 'Smith (1990a, b)', or if published by same author in a different year: 'Smith (1990, 1994)
    - where several references are cited together in the text they may be placed in alphabetical or chronological order or in order of importance and separated by semi-colons. However, whichever style is adopted this should be applied consistently throughout the article.
    - where there are four or more authors for a work the first name should be used, followed by et al.: ('Smith et al. 1969: 235–6)'
    for mention of first editions and translations within the text, authors should cite the edition to which they are referring followed by the original publication date placed in square brackets e.g. (Marx 1970[1844]: 333).
    - op.cit., ibid., idem. etc. should not be used – the author, date and page reference should be cited in full.

    b. The form for the Bibliography section
    - all material relating to references contained in the text should be placed in a separate Bibliography section, set in double-line spacing, after the Notes.
    - authors should appear in alphabetical order. Where more than one article by an author appears these should be placed in chronological order and the name/s repeated and not replaced by a long dash. (–)
    - entries should follow the following form. Please note the emboldening:

    Smith, A.J. 1992 Sociology Today, London: Routledge.
    Smith, D., Jones, P. and Palmer, D. (eds) 1991 'The Truth', Education Journal 10(3): 113–49.
    Travers, P. 1991 'The Problems of Sociology' in J.J. Peterson (ed.) Sociology Revisited, Oxford University Press.
    Travers, P. 1992 Sociology in the 1990s, Oxford: Blackwell.
    The Independent 1995 'The State of Sociology Today', 3 June 1995: 20.

    - for first editions and translations the author should enter

    Marx, K. 2000 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, London: Smith and Pollack [first published London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1844].
    Sombart, W. 1976 Why Is There No Socialism in the United States?, London: Macmillan [first published in 1906].

    - please ensure that all entries in the text are referred to in the Bibliography, and vice versa.
  1. Appendices: Should be appended after the text of the article and before the Notes and Bibliography section. Tables and figures appearing in this section should be labelled AI, AII etc. and follow the normal rules applying to tables and figures given above.
  2. Proofs, where possible, will be supplied as downloadable pdf files to authors of accepted articles for the correction of typesetting errors only. Expenses incurred by the introduction of new material, in all but exceptional cases, will be charged to the author.
  3. Copyright Transfer Agreement: If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to login into Author Services; where via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS) they will be able to complete the copyright transfer agreement (CTA) on behalf of all authors on the paper. The terms and conditions of the CTA can be previewed in the samples associated with the Copyright FAQs here.

Guidelines for book reviews

  1. Invited book reviews should be submitted by email to BJS.office@wiley.com
  2. Reviews should not exceed the word length proposed by the Book Review Editor and should be returned by the deadline. Reviews exceeding the word limit will either be returned to authors for shortening or, at the Editor's discretion, may not be included for publication in the journal.
  3. Please note that the publication of reviews submitted to the Journal is at the Editor's discretion. The Editor's decision will be final.
  4. Book reviews submitted to the Journal should be an original piece of work, not been published before and not being considered for publication elsewhere in its final form either in printed or electronic form.
  5. The name/s of author/s of the book should be quoted at the top of the first page followed by the full title and subtitle of the book, the publisher, year of publication, number of pages and price (hardback/paperback) i.e.

    Smith, J.
     The New Social Research Handbook Oxford University Press 2004 332 pp. £45.00 (hardback) £15.99 (paperback)

    This book offers much insight into the field of social research and will be of great use to all social scientists from students to...
  1. Reviews should be set in double line spacing
  2. The reviewer's name and institution should be placed at the end of the review on the right hand side of the page.
  3. Any references should be incorporated into the text of the review i.e. 'The next step might be to look at age and region together (Jollife, Commonsense Statistics for Economists and Others)'.
  4. Please use the email address bjsreview@lse.ac.uk for all correspondence.
  5. Please note, at the bottom of the review, the number of words contained in your review. NB. Your invitation to review the book/s will contain the word length and the date by which your review should be returned.
  6. Copyright Transfer Agreement: If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to login into Author Services: where via the Willy Author Licensing Service (WALS) they will be able to complete the copyright ransfer agreement (CTA) on behalf of all authors on the paper. The terms and conditions of the CTA can be previewed in the samples associated with the Copyright FAQs here.

Guidelines for review essays

  1. Length: between 5,000 and 5,500 words.
  2. Purpose: not simply a 'long' (more detailed) book review (i.e. not: is this a good book, who should read it, etc.). Rather, a review essay should be an extended discussion of wider disciplinary issues such as:

    - This is a book (or collection of books)* which potentially has a major impact on an existing field or sub-field of sociology, opening up research and/or theoretical questions that demand extended discussion of its empirical and/or theoretical implications;
    - This is a book (or collection of books) which may open up an entirely new field or sub-field of sociology: it breaks new ground, demanding extended discussion in order to explore the empirical and/or theoretical possibilities that it gives rise to;
    - This is a book (or collection of books) which brings together an extant literature in such a way as to suggest that this is a genuine field or sub-field of sociology, and demands extended discussion in order to evaluate its claims and consider its potential consequences;
    - This is a book (or collection of books) which invites us to reconsider what we thought we knew and understood about a major thinker, either per se or in terms of how their different works are connected, therefore demanding extended discussion so that the thinker's work can be re-mapped.
  1. Style: review essays are exploratory, not combative. If a book merits a longer review essay, it is (by definition) significant, i.e., worthy of wide (disciplinary) and serious attention. In other words, it is an underlying assumption of a review essay that the book in question is significant in some way.**

* Collection of books: a) books by the same author (this seems most likely when the author is dead and the remaining works are emerging); b) books by different authors making compatible contributions to the same field or sub-field; c) books by different authors that make incompatible but equally intriguing contributions that open up possibilities within a field or sub-field; d) edited books that bring together a field or sub-field in a new way. Where the review considers more than one book, the number of books to be covered is, roughly, 3-4.

** If the essay seeks to be 'critical', it should be so in terms of the discipline first and foremost, and then in terms of a field or sub-field of the discipline. Always, the reviewer needs to be mindful that they are evaluating the implications of a book (or collection of books) for sociology, or a part of sociology.

Relevant links

Publishing Ethics