These guidelines are to help you prepare your submission and give it the best chance of being accepted.
Familiarise yourself with the journal's content and read over the information below. Once you’re ready to submit, log in or register for an account.
We publish one volume a year. From summer 2022, we will be publishing two issues per volume:
- Winter – open submissions
- Spring/Summer – special collection articles
The journal has no deadlines for open submissions.
Some special collections may have specific deadlines. You will find those in the calls for papers, which we publish in our news section. Other special collections might be ongoing.
We publish all special collection articles as part of the same volume, but also within a separate collection page.
When submitting to a special collection, mention the name of the collection in a note to the editor.
We operate a double-blind peer review process. This means that authors and reviewers remain anonymous for the review process.
Read about who reviews your submission, what to expect, and how to prepare your submission for review.
Section or article type
We publish different types of submission, from research to graphic submissions. All have different word counts. Word counts include references.
Research article: 3,500 to 7,000 words. Research should provide analysis or interpretation of specific examples of comics work and directly include and refer to those examples. Clearly state the scholarly background, research questions, hypotheses, methodology, limitations, conclusions and further work. Provide informed argumentation engaging with relevant scholarship. You can find out about the type of questions that inspire the journal's focus and scope.
Note: 1,500 to 2,000 words. Notes are shorter pieces – more than blog posts, but not yet thorough research articles. They represent an advance of ongoing research work, so should contain a literature review, references, and so on.
Review: 2,000 to 2,500 words, offering a scholarly review of an academic book, such as a scholarly monograph or an edited collection. Reviews should engage with publications critically and attempt to place the work within the broader literature on a particular subject. Include in-text and end references, as well as an image file of the official book cover according to the image specifications. We do not usually consider book reviews of comics/comic books/graphic novels, unless they are non-fiction, or scientific or scholarly comics.
Interviews: 2,000 to 4,000 words. These are scholarly interviews, i.e., careful, specialised discussion within the journal’s subject matter. Interviews must include in-text and end references and must be for a comics scholarship audience.
Commentary: 2,500 to 3,000 words. Commentary should present first-person reflections upon, react to, or evaluate a notable occurrence in the field of comics scholarship, such as the release of a major study. Discuss the content with the editors before submitting a manuscript.
There is some flexibility in the word count, as manuscripts are likely to change during the review and editorial process. However, do stick to the given ranges when submitting.
Before submitting, contact our Graphic Submissions section editor, Dr Nicolas Labarre, presenting the subject of the piece and the graphic strategies you intend to use.
Graphic research is a time-consuming process, even compared with traditional forms of scholarly publication. This collaborative approach is meant to generate useful feedback and refine submissions. However, it does not guarantee that submissions will go through the peer-review process successfully.
Submissions in graphic form, such as drawings, comics, and diagrams, can be of any type above, from research to commentary. Depending on the type you choose, we may peer-review them before publication.
We will consider submissions in thumbnail or storyboard form for peer review. Such submissions must include the complete introductory text including a references list; as well as a fully realised graphic sample. At submission stage, the entire project need not be in fully rendered graphic form. This process is useful for multiple-page articles in comics form, where the creator does not want to spend time on a fully rendered project only to have it rejected. We will make sure that reviewers are aware of these submission processes.
You need to submit one manuscript file and the image files corresponding to your comic.
The manuscript file must follow the requirements listed in our Submission Checklist.
Our image guidelines list requirements on resolution, metadata, and so on.
You may need to adjust hand-drawn submissions to make sure the scanning process results in a clear and legible picture. Nevertheless, the aesthetic qualities of graphic submissions are less important than their ability to convey information clearly. Visual scholarship should aim at presenting knowledge in a legible, efficient, and productive way, subordinating aesthetic choices to these goals.
While being a skilled illustrator can improve the efficiency of such communication, minimalist solutions ('Creativity and project management: a comic' by Phil Jones Jones, James Evans) and technical options ('Materiality Comics' by Aaron Kashtan) are perfectly viable alternatives, provided the form is coherent with the content and the objectives of the submission.
You can find examples of graphic submissions in the 'Graphic Science' Special Collection.
Your submission must consist of a manuscript and at least one image. Below are specific guidelines about each. They also apply to graphic submissions.
- - Title (16 words at most). Please do not input your title in ALL CAPS. Titles should be concise, specific, and informative and should contain the key points of the work). For guidance on how to write an acceptable title please read this paper.
- - Abstract, summarising the main arguments and conclusions (200 words at most). For guidance on what makes an acceptable abstract, please read this paper.
- - Keywords, in alphabetical order, relating to the content of the article and not already in the title (5 at most).
- - An introduction, as part of the manuscript, explaining the method and objectives.
- - In-text citations, along with a ‘References’ section at the end.
- - A ‘competing interest’ statement according to our competing interest guidelines.
- - Written permission from all authors to be listed on the submitted paper.
- - Acknowledgements (optional) in a separate paragraph after the main text and before the reference list.
- - Any tables, while also citing them.
The journal is international and multidisciplinary. Its readership is diverse in its national, cultural, linguistic and disciplinary background. Clearly define and discuss discipline-specific methods, cultural references and terminology therefore.
We accept OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, Rich Text Format or WordPerfect (!).
Images: All submissions must include at least one image file. You can submit up to six images or figures.
- - Refer to them in the manuscript explicitly.
- - In the manuscript, add a caption for each image indicating the source (author, year, title, publisher) and complete copyright and licensing information.
- - Add captions and copyright notices to the image file metadata.
- - Number the files and upload them in the order they appear and are discussed in the manuscript.
- - Upload them as separate files, but also embed them in the manuscript to ease peer review.
You can refer to articles we have published for examples of how to caption images.
We accept JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG or EPS at a resolution of 300dpi and 20MB size or below. Submit the original source file, where possible.
The Open Library of Humanities (OLH) is our publisher.
The OLH does not charge authors for submission or publication, unlike many open-access publishers. An international library consortium pays for our costs.
If your institution is not currently supporting the platform, ask your librarian to sign up. The OLH is cost-effective and a not-for-profit charity.
You can publish with us even if your institution has not signed up.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
Authors are responsible for fully attributing any material for which they do not hold the copyright, including registered trademark notices and illustrations. They are warmly encouraged to use with preference images from open access repositories, under a creative common licence, and the like.