The British Journal of Sociology

Cover image for Vol. 67 Issue 4

Edited By: Nigel Dodd

Impact Factor: 1.871

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 23/142 (Sociology)

Online ISSN: 1468-4446

Author Guidelines

Notes to Contributors

The aim of the Journal is to provide a medium for the publication of original papers covering the entire span of sociological thought and research, and to advance sociological knowledge through the publication of high quality, peer-reviewed articles of the widest possible interest to a global general sociology audience. The Editor is particularly keen to publish work on current developments in research and analysis.

Contributions can now be submitted to the BJS via our online submission process using Editorial Express. To do this use the following link: and follow the simple stage by stage directions to enter your paper and details onto the system.

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 printed or electronic form. To assure the integrity of the double-blind peer review process, papers should not be accessible via searches using Google or similar search engines, which means that they should not appear in any form on websites. Authors should ensure they follow the guidelines set out below to ensure their submission is in the correct format for the submission process.

Any enquiries governing the submission process should be directed to or

The Journal follows the publication ethics guidelines advised by Wiley-Blackwell which are available for prospective authors to consult at and is also a member of the Committee of Publishing Ethics (COPE)

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.  These will be commissioned and will normally be between 5-6,000 words.  They will be peer reviewed and the guidelines set down below for articles should be followed for layout purposes.

4.      Papers:  All submitted work should be provided electronically (attached to an email preferably as a Word file) and typed in double-line spacing.  Papers identified as appearing to be in an early draft form will be returned to authors and removed from the assessment process. 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. Authors are now 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.      Title page:  The title of the article, the author’s name and address, email address, word length (to include abstract, text, notes, bibliography and appendices) and date of submission or when the paper was last updated should appear on a detachable flysheet and the title only should appear on the first page of the article.  Where more than one author is involved the lead author, for contact purposes, should be clearly indicated.

6.      Abstracts:  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.  Authors should also include 6 keywords (e.g. Keywords: China; earnings; economic reform; state enterprise) placed in order of importance.

7.      Dates:  should be given in the form '12 December 1972' or 'on 12 December'.

8.      Numbering:  The least number of figures should be used in page numbers, dates etc. (e.g. pp. 22-4; 105-6 and 1948-9). In text and tables, decimals should be expressed: 0.012, 1.01 etc.

9.      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).

10.      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.

11.      Quotation marks: Always single except for a quote within a quote: ‘Parliament “ought” to approve the legislation’, he said.

12.      The words ‘per cent’ and not ‘percent’ or ‘%’ should appear in the text but ‘%’ may be used in the Notes section, figures and tables.

13.      Authors should avoid the use of sexist and racist language.  Many professional bodies, such as the British Sociological Association, provide guidelines to assist authors.

14.      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.  An electronic version of all tables and figures must be submitted.  Please 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.

15.      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. 

16.      Acknowledgments should be noted by the use of a superscript number ‘1’ following the title of the article and the acknowledgment itself included in the Notes section. 

17.      Notes section:  All the material relating to notes cited in the text should be typed in double-line spacing and placed in a ‘Notes’ section at the end of the article before the Bibliography.


          1. The materials used for this study result from a series of questionnaires distributed to interest groups over the period in question.

          2. This was an interesting response by several participants which was later retested later on in the same questionnaire.

18.      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, printed 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, Werner 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.

19.      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.

20.      Proofs 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.

21.      Copyright Transfer Agreements: 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 below:
CTA Terms and Conditions

22. Supporting Information: Supporting Information can be a useful way for an author to include important but ancillary information with the online version of an article. Examples of Supporting Information include additional tables, data sets, figures, movie files, audio clips, 3D structures, and other related nonessential multimedia files. Supporting Information should be cited within the article text, and a descriptive legend should be included. It is published as supplied by the author, and a proof is not made available prior to publication; for these reasons, authors should provide any Supporting Information in the desired final format.   For further information on recommended file types and requirements for submission, please visit:

Guidelines for Book Reviews:

1.   Invited book reviews  should be submitted by email to

2.   Reviews should not exceed the word length proposed by the Book Review Editor and, to enable quick publication of the review, should be returned by the deadline.  Reviews exceeding the word limit set 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 have 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, JThe 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...

6.   Reviews should be set in double-line spacing.

7.   The reviewer's name and institution should be placed at the end of the review on the right hand side of the page.

8.   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, 1996 Commonsense Statistics for Economists and Others)'.

9.   Please use email address for all correspondence.

10. Please note, at the bottom of the review, the number of words contained in your review.  (Your invitation to review the book/s will contain the word length and the date by which your review should be returned.)

11. Copyright Transfer Agreements: If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the review 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 below:
CTA Terms and Conditions

Guidelines for BJS 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)[1] 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.

3. 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.[2]


[1] 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.
[2] 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.

This journal is a member of and subscribes to the principles of the Committee on Publication EthicsThis journal is a member of and subscribes to the principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics.