Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

Cover image for Vol. 53 Issue 1

Edited By: Ian A. M. Nicholson

Impact Factor: 0.645

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 9/35 (History of Social Sciences)

Online ISSN: 1520-6696

Author Guidelines

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Author Guidelines

Getting Published in JHBS:

Suggestions from the Editor for Prospective Authors


Length and Writing Style

Most JHBS papers are approximately 10,500 words including notes and references. The maximum length is 13,000 words including notes and references. The maximum length is intended to provide space for arguments of unusual complexity and historiographic range. Authors are still expected to write concisely and to avoid repetitiveness. Lengthy papers, even those within the 13000 upper limit, may still be edited for concision.

Know the Journal

Become acquainted with the Journal’s scope, aim and primary audience before you submit your manuscript. Read articles published in JHBS and familiarize yourself with the kinds of issues, topics, research methods and standards of evidence used by JHBS authors. Ask yourself, “does my paper ‘fit in’ or does it seem out of place when viewed alongside published JHBS articles?” Understand that the principal readership of JHBS consists of professional historians and social scientists with specialized historical interests. Our readership is primarily interested novel historical arguments and/or new, archivally based historical investigations. Broad, survey-type reviews written for a general audience are unlikely to be published.

Contextualize Your Topic

The history of the behavioral and social sciences is a professional undertaking and a scholarly field in its own right. There now a number of journals devoted to its study (e.g. ISIS, History of the Human Sciences, History of Psychology, Social Studies of Science, etc). It is important to situate your topic within this historiographic literature. Explain how your topic has been addressed by other historians (this is typically done in the introduction). If your topic has been largely ignored by historians, explain the absence and justify your interest. A paper that is not properly contextualized and contains no citations to the historiography of the behavioral and social sciences (i.e. no references to articles from JHBS and/or related historical journals) is unlikely to be published.

Test Your Ideas at an Historically Oriented Conference

If you are new to the history of the behavioral and social sciences as a scholarly field, you might consider ‘testing’ your ideas at one of the field’s many scholarly conferences. JHBS is published in affiliation with three academic societies that host annual conferences devoted to the historical study of the human sciences: Cheiron: The International Society for the History of the Behavioral and Social Sciences, ESHHS: The European Society for the History of the Human Sciences, and FHHS: Forum for the History of the Human Sciences. The people that you meet at these conferences will often have useful suggestions and they will help you develop your skills as an historian. The feedback you receive at these conferences will improve your manuscript and enhance your chances of getting published.

Edit Your Work

JHBS referees are primarily reading your manuscript for content – they are not copy editors. Minor grammatical errors will likely be corrected, but reviewers will not undertake the task of rewriting a poorly written and/or badly organized paper. Furthermore, poor grammar and/or awkward sentence structure will likely obscure the intellectual merit of the paper. Authors are strongly encouraged to edit papers for “readability” before submission.

JHBS welcomes international submissions on a diverse range of topics. That said, JHBS does not have the editorial resources to render manuscripts into idiomatically correct English. If English is not your first language, consider having your manuscript professionally edited before you submit by someone with considerable English-language editorial experience.

Establish Good Proportions

It is an axiom of good writing that a paper have an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. Ensure that each of these areas is properly developed and well proportioned. For example, if your paper is 40 manuscript pages long, your introduction and conclusion should not consist of a single paragraph nor should it take up more half the manuscript. Lengths of introductions and conclusions will vary but as a general guide, most introductions and conclusions in JHBS research articles are approximately 4-5 substantive paragraphs each.

A Strong Introduction

The introduction is an extraordinarily important part of any paper, but in the haste to get to the ‘main event’ it is often neglected by authors. This neglect diminishes reader interest and limits the potential audience for an article.

There are a number of excellent guidelines available on-line to assist you in writing a good introduction. The following was written by Jim Kurose of UMASS and is especially helpful.

A good paper introduction is fairly formulaic. If you follow a simple set of rules, you can write a very good introduction. The following outline can be varied. For example, you can use two paragraphs instead of one, or you can place more emphasis on one aspect of the intro than another. But in all cases, all of the points below need to be covered in an introduction, and in most papers, you don't need to cover anything more in an introduction.

Paragraph 1: Motivation. At a high level, what is the problem area you are working in and why is it important? It is important to set the larger context here. Why is the problem of interest and importance to the larger community?

Paragraph 2: What is the specific problem considered in this paper? This paragraph narrows down the topic area of the paper. In the first paragraph you have established general context and importance. Here you establish specific context and background.

Paragraph 3: "In this paper, we show that ...". This is the key paragraph in the intro-you summarize, in one paragraph, what are the main contributions of your paper given the context you have established in paragraphs 1 and 2. What is the general approach taken? Why are the specific results significant? This paragraph must be really really good. If you can't "sell" your work at a high level in a paragraph in the intro, then you are in trouble. As a reader or reviewer, this is the paragraph that I always look for, and read very carefully.

You should think about how to structure this one or two paragraph summary of what your paper is all about. If there are two or three main results, then you might consider itemizing them with bullets or in test (e.g., "First, ..."). If the results fall broadly into two categories, you can bring out that distinction here. For example, "Our results are both theoretical and applied in nature. (two sentences follow, one each on theory and application)."

Paragraph 4: At a high level what are the differences in what you are doing, and what others have done? Keep this at a high level, you can refer to a future section where specific details and differences will be given. But it is important for the reader to know at a high level, what is new about this work compared to other work in the area.

Paragraph 5: "The remainder of this paper is structured as follows..." Give the reader a roadmap for the rest of the paper. Avoid redundant phrasing, "In Section 2, In section 3, ... In Section 4, ... " etc.

A few general tips:

Don't spend a lot of time into the introduction telling the reader about what you don't do in the paper. Be clear about what you do do, but don't dwell here on what you don't do.

Does each paragraph have a theme sentence that sets the stage for the entire paragraph? Are the sentences and topics in the paragraph all related to each other? Do all of your tenses match up in a paragraph?

Follow the Formatting Guidelines

Consult the submission procedures outlined on-line.

Double space your entire manuscript, including text, block quotations, tables, and notes. Use APA style for referencing.

JHBS practices double-blind peer review. Authors should therefore take steps to preserve their anonymity. The author's name and affiliation should appear only on a separate title page. Do not place your name on the first page of the manuscript or in the running heads. Do not reveal your identity in the notes through the use of the first person (such as, "In my recent article in the History of the Human Sciences, I concluded that this hypothesis was false").

Be Patient

The solicitation of qualified outside readers and the gathering of evaluations often takes two to three months and sometimes more.

Wiley's Journal Styles

Revised Guidelines for Electronic Submission

The Journal has now adopted ScholarOne Manuscripts for online manuscript submission and peer review.

Manuscripts should be supplied as follows:

  • Go to your Internet browser (e.g., Netscape, Internet Explorer).
  • Go to the URL
  • Register (if you have not done so already).
  • For review purposes, the text of the paper can be in .doc, LaTex, .rtf, or .ps format. Because this Journal has a completely digital workflow, if you are eventually asked for a revision, you will be asked to provide the source files for your text in .doc, LaTex, or .rtf format for production purposes.
  • Images can be in .jpg, .tif, .gif or .pict format and should be submitted as separate files. To ensure the highest print quality, figure files must be submitted with a dpi (dots per inch) of 300 or higher for regular figures and at least 900 dpi for line art (simple bar graphs, charts, etc.).
  • Please submit your tables separately. All files will be concatenated automatically into a single .pdf file by the system during upload. This is the file that will be used for review.

  • To facilitate masked review, when submitting a manuscript, author identification information should be removed from the title page and footnotes. An abstract and brief biographical statement of approximately 100 words each should be included, each on separate pages. Numbered annotations in the form of a list of endnotes and a reference section using the APA's author-date style (described below) should follow the main text. All material should be double-spaced with right margins left ragged (not justified) to enhance readability. Quotations over five lines should be indented in the text, also double-spaced. Authors are encouraged to suggest illustrations that substantively augment the material in the text.

    The same style rules apply for book reviews. Book reviewers should be aware that the Journal may offer book authors the opportunity to comment briefly on the reviews. The Journal does not usually publish translations of previously published works, but it does welcome unpublished primary documents, including translations, with commentary, as well as other brief articles that are of compelling interest.

    In the service of electronic cross-referencing, the Journal has adopted the stylistic recommendations of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th edition, 2001), supplemented by the Chicago Manual of Style (currently in the 15th edition, 2003). Accordingly:

    1. The author-date system -- e.g., "(Smith, 1943, p. 17)" -- is used in the text for documentation, with the authors and dates keyed to a list of references at the end. Substantive annotations to the text should appear as consecutively numbered endnotes. (Such an annotation might read: "A full discussion is found in Dean, 1850, p.3, who corrects Puppy, 1773.") The list of references at the end is in alphabetical order, and under each author by date. If for an author more than one publication appears for a given year, the publications are distinguished by letters in alphabetical order. A normal annotation will therefore appear in text as: (Author, 1888, p. 42). The annotation should follow the statement being documented. If the information occurs as a natural part of the text, no further referencing is included: George Author in 1888 described a set of experiments . . . or George Author in 1888 (chap. 3) described. . . . Two authors are always cited by name (Author & Author, 1898b, pp. 1-10), but three to six auhtors are cited in full only the first time the reference appears in the text, and after that, they will appear as (Author et al., 1908), the same form as when more than six authors are cited the first time. Classical references and other special cases are treated in the APA Manual .

    2. At the end of the article, the list of references, double-spaced, appears in alphbetical order, each one indented. Usually only initials are used, not first names. The following are general models:
      a. Book: Author, A. A. (1878). History of education sociology (3rd ed.). Middletown CT: Imaginary Press.
      b. Article: Author, A., & Author, B., Jr. (1918). Primate cultures in the mountains of Brazil. Journal of Physical Anthropology, 22, 156-166. [Note that journal titles are capitalized.]
      c. Chapter on article in edited collection: Author, C. (1928). Diagnosing schizophrenia in historians. In Z. Z. Collaborator, G. Haw, & H. N. Gee (eds.), Roadkill: Conceptual Issues in history (pp. 5-11). London: Bainbridge House.

    3. Additional recommendations: a. In the text, include first names of all persons the first time each appears substantively (this does not include the author-date references, in which only the last name of the author appears). Use initials only if the person is generally known by those initials (e.g., B. F. Skinner).
      b. Spell out numerals less than 100, e.g., nineteenth century.
      c. Dates should appear as follows: 23 December 1962. Months with years do not take commas (e.g., December 1962).
      d. Authors should avoid passive constructions (e.g., Experiments were conducted, and articles were written. There was much discussion.) and other vague and imprecise language.

      Questions about the submission process and inquiries about publishing in JHBS should be submitted to the Editor, Ian Nicholson, at

    Production Questions:

    Sean Yaftali