Religion Compass

Cover image for Vol. 10 Issue 7

Edited By: Tamara Sonn

Online ISSN: 1749-8171

Author Guidelines

Notes for Compass Article Authors

Religion Compass ( offers the quality of a scholarly journal combined with the speed and functionality of the Web.

Religion Compass generally publishes original surveys of the academic literature on some aspect of religion. The aim is to summarise the state of the field, and the articles are intended for scholars of religion and the educated non-specialist alike. They can discuss recent research or debates in a field, provide a comparative look across boundaries or disciplines, and/or offer a fresh perspective on a controversial topic. All articles go through a full peer-review and revision process.

The Compass journals do not publish original research articles and such articles will not be considered or reviewed. Authors are referred to for sample articles which exemplify the acceptable format.

Religion Compass articles allow scholars and advanced students to:

  • keep up with new developments and trends in research
  • teach in a new or unfamiliar area outside of their speciality
  • ensure that students are exposed only to quality-controlled online content (as opposed to unvalidated content from search engines)

Encompassing the entire discipline, Religion Compass publishes original, peer-reviewed survey articles on a continuous basis.

Benefits for authors include:

  • Article published within 10-12 weeks after acceptance of final copy
  • A citable, peer-reviewed article, with a permanent DOI
  • International exposure / broad readership
  • PDF offprint
  • Free personal access to Religion Compass for 1 year
  • 5% off a subscription for your institution

The Compass Audience

The Compass audience consists of research and teaching faculty, graduate students and advanced undergraduates – from potentially any area of the discipline. This is a distinguishing feature of the journal, and a benefit to authors in terms of enhanced exposure. You are writing for your peers, but also for researchers and students from unrelated areas. It is therefore crucial that Compass articles always remain accessible to non-specialists. The writing should be authoritative and lively.

Article Length and Scope

In general, articles should run between 3000-5000 words. Longer articles can be considered at the Section Editor’s discretion. The Section Editor will agree the topic of your article with you before you begin to write your piece. The writing style should be crisp, concise and informative, and livelier than a research paper. Remember: you are writing for non-specialists from many different areas. Your article will be their gateway into a new subject. Your aim is to engage as well as inform the reader.

Articles will fall into at least one of the following three categories and will answer one or more of the questions below:

  1. Recent research and debates in your field – What debates are driving your field? What new research has been published? What does it add to these debates or the field more generally? Can you put that new research in context? Does a new school of thought or paradigm seem to be developing? Has a new controversy erupted?
  2. Comparative look across sections or boundaries – Are there related things happening in different fields? Can you suggest comparisons that have not been fully explored? Can one area provide an insight into another when used in teaching or research?
  3. State of the field – Can you offer a fresh perspective on developments in your field? Perhaps there are arguments or fads drawing attention away from what you think are the critical points? Perhaps the field is stagnating? Are students and teachers flocking to or fleeing from your field? Is your area well and fairly covered in the media? Are there resources or archives that are new or underused and are worthy of attention? Has the field been affected by or is it impacting on current affairs?

Articles submitted to Compass should not have been previously published or accepted to be published elsewhere. Papers presented at a conference or symposium may be accepted for publication by agreement with the relevant section editor.

Submitting Your Article

  • Log in if you have already been sent your User ID and password (in a reminder or confirmation email). If you don’t know your password, use the Password Help box.
  • If the system has no account registered for you, click on ‘Create Account’ in the top righthand corner to get started.
  • Once logged in, the Main Menu will be displayed. Click on ‘Author Center’.
  • Under ‘My Manuscripts’ click on ‘1 Invited Manuscript’ link. This will load the basic details at the bottom of the page.
  • Click ‘Continue Submission’ on the right to begin manuscript submission!

Submission Checklist

Please submit, in Microsoft Word (.doc) format:

  • An anonymous version of your article, incorporating the title, abstract, full text, Reference List, any figures, tables or captions. Please do not include references to yourself as the author of the paper.
  • A separate title page (inc. your article title, name, affiliation and correspondence address / email address).
  • A one-paragraph short biography
  • Any separate figure files in EPS, TIF or JPG format at 300 dpi

NOTE: If you do not use Microsoft Word, files in .rtf and plain text formats can also be accepted. If your article contains any special characters, it is advisable to submit a supplementary PDF version of your paper, for cross-checking.

Electronic Copyright Transfer Agreement (eCTA)
We no longer require FAXs or other hardcopy of the Copyright Transfer Agreement. Instead we have introduced a convenient new process for signing your copyright transfer agreement electronically (eCTA) that will save you considerable time and effort. If your paper is accepted, the Author whom you flag as being the formal Corresponding Author for the paper will receive an e-mail with a link to an online eCTA form. This will enable the Corresponding Author to complete the copyright form electronically within ScholarOne Manuscripts on behalf of all authors on the manuscript. You may preview the copyright terms and conditions here.  

Online Open
OnlineOpen is available to authors of primary research articles who wish to make their article available to non-subscribers on publication, or whose funding agency requires grantees to archive the final version of their article. With OnlineOpen, the author, the author's funding agency, or the author's institution pays a fee to ensure that the article is made available to non-subscribers upon publication via Wiley Online Library, as well as deposited in the funding agency's preferred archive. For the full list of terms and conditions, see

Any authors wishing to send their paper OnlineOpen will be required to complete the payment form available from our website at:

Prior to acceptance there is no requirement to inform an Editorial Office that you intend to publish your paper OnlineOpen if you do not wish to. All OnlineOpen articles are treated in the same way as any other article. They go through the journal's standard peer-review process and will be accepted or rejected based on their own merit.


Free Book for Prompt Delivery

Authors who are able to deliver within the deadline agreed for their article will be entitled to free Wiley-Blackwell books upto the value of $50/£30. The author can browse titles online and should then email the details of their chosen book to the Compass Editorial office. Please note that we can only send Wiley-Blackwell books (i.e. no Polity or Wiley trade titles), and we can’t currently despatch to a PO box.

Peer Review

Once submitted, your article will first be evaluated by the relevant Section Editor(s) to ensure it fulfils the journal’s principles and aims.

If this is the case, the article is then reviewed by referees, chosen by the Section Editor for their specific subject knowledge. Authors of submitted articles are asked to consider the criticisms, suggestions and corrections of the referees and Section Editor(s) and where possible, to address them. The Section Editor(s) will mediate any conflicting reviews. If the author disagrees with the reviews, they are entitled to set forth their views and justifications. However, the Section Editor is entitled to decline publication if they feel the review criticisms have not been sufficiently addressed. The decision of the Section Editor(s) is final. An invitation to contribute an article does not guarantee acceptance.


How long to publication?

In general it takes around 10 weeks from acceptance to publication. However, prompt return of author proofs can speed up this process.


Once accepted, your article will be sent to the copyeditor. You will then receive your PDF proof via email. At this stage you should be correcting minor errors only. Corrections will usually be communicated by email to the Production Editor. However, you will receive specific instructions with your PDF proof.

Access to Religion Compass

Once your article has been published on Religion Compass you will be given free personal access to all eight Compass journals for 1 year.

Writing Your Article

Journal Style: Harvard

Harvard style should be used for inline citations and the Reference List. Examples can be found towards the end of these guidelines.

Optimising Your Title and Abstract

Many students and researcher looking for information online will use search engines such as Google, Yahoo! or similar. By optimizing your title and abstract, you will increase the chance of someone finding it. This in turn will make it more likely to be viewed and/or cited in another work. In order to optimise your abstract, we recommend you

  • Ensure the key phrases for your article’s topic appear in the title and abstract e.g. ‘history of Christianity.’
  • Use the same key phrases, if possible, in the title and abstract. Note of caution: unnecessary repetition will result in the page being rejected by search engines so don't overdo it.

Example of Well-Optimised Title/Abstract:

Genocide and Holocaust Consciousness in Australia

Ever since the British colonists in Australia became aware of the disappearance of the indigenous peoples in the 1830s, they have contrived to excuse themselves by pointing to the effects of disease and displacement. Yet although 'genocide' was not a term used in the nineteenth century, 'extermination' was, and many colonists called for the extermination of Aborigines when they impeded settlement by offering resistance. Consciousness of genocide was suppressed during the twentieth century ? until the later 1960s, when a critical school of historians began serious investigations of frontier violence. Their efforts received official endorsement in the 1990s, but profound cultural barriers prevent the development of a general 'genocide consciousness'. One of these is 'Holocaust consciousness', which is used by conservative and right-wing figures to play down the gravity of what transpired in Australia. These two aspects of Australian public memory are central to the political humanisation of the country. This article appears on the first page of results on Google for ‘holocaust consciousness Australia.’

Poorly Optimized Title/Abstract:

Australia's Forgotten Victims

Ever since the British colonists in Australia became aware of the disappearance of the indigenous peoples in the 1830s, they have contrived to excuse themselves by pointing to the effects of disease and displacement. Many colonists called for the extermination of Aborigines when they impeded settlement by offering resistance, yet there was no widespread public acknowledgement of this as a policy until the later 1960s, when a critical school of historians began serious investigations of frontier violence. Their efforts received official endorsement in the 1990s, but profound cultural barriers prevent the development of a general awareness of this. Conservative and right-wing figures continue to play down the gravity of what transpired. These two aspects of Australian public memory are central to the political humanisation of the country. Remember:

  • People tend to search for specifics, not just one word - e.g. “women's fiction” not "fiction". So use key phrases rather than individual words in your article title and abstract.
  • Key phrases need to make sense within the title and abstract and flow well.
  • It is best to focus on a maximum of three or four different keyword phrases in an abstract rather than try to get across too many points.
  • Finally, always check that the abstract reads well - remember the primary audience is still the researcher, not a search engine, so write for readers not robots.

Diacritics and Transliteration

Where an article contains words from other alphabets, authors are asked to include, as a minimum, the most standard and easily comprehensible transliteration available (i.e. a Romanised system that includes vowels). Other transliteration methods (e.g. systems that omit vowels, or use non-standard characters, etc.) might be difficult for readers who are unfamiliar with the original script.

However, such alternative methods of transliteration may also be included, either in a glossary, or via another appropriate method (i.e. in parentheticals in the text). We regret that we cannot give instructions for specific languages, but authors may use their discretion, bearing in mind only that some Compass readers are likely to be non-specialists.

Figures, Illustrations & Multimedia

Since Compass is online-only, there are almost no significant printing costs for colour visual material, and we have exciting opportunities to include supporting video and audio files. Supplementary files are an effective way to support your article, and they add valuable texture and interest to your article. However, please be aware of the guidelines below.

NOTE: Authors are responsible for obtaining copyright permissions and paying any related fees for any supplementary material they wish to include, be it images, video or audio. Please confirm with the Compass Editorial office that the supplementary material can be included before paying any such fees.

Figures and Illustrations

Authors are strongly encouraged to include as many illustrations, photographs, maps and diagrams as they wish. These are all referred to as ‘figures’ and should be numbered consecutively using Arabic numerals (Figure 4, etc.).

Captions should be concise but as informative as possible, and must be typed double spaced and listed on a separate sheet.Titles should be incorporated into the figure caption. Captions should not be a part of the figure and should include any acknowledgements necessary.


Compass encourages authors to submit supplementary video files. We can accept a wide range of video file formats such as .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, and .MPG. If your video is not in one of these formats we may still be able to accept it - please let us know before submitting.

Videos should have a maximum length of 10 minutes and maximum filesize of 1024 MB. If you have larger files for inclusion, they should be split into two or more separate videos. All video files should be in their final form upon submission. The maximum filesize that can be uploaded to Manuscript Central is 100 MB. If your file exceeds this, please email the Editorial Office for details on how to submit larger files through our FTP site.


Compass encourages authors to submit supplementary audio files. Audio files can be submitted in .aif, .aifc, .aiff .asf, .au, .mp2, .mp3, .mpa, .snd, .wav, or .wma format. All audio files should be in their final form upon submission.

Short Biography / Biographies

Authors should include a short biographical paragraph about themselves (and for co-authors where applicable). The Biography should be submitted as a separate document and contain a few sentences about each of the following: educational history, recent professional/teaching history, research interests and some information about recent or forthcoming publications. Here is an example of a well-written biography:

John Doris' research is located at the intersection of psychology, cognitive science, and philosophical ethics; he has authored or co-authored papers in these areas for Noûs, Bioethics, Cognition, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, The Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science , The Encyclopedia of Ethics, and the Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Analytic Philosophy. His book Lack of Character (Cambridge 2002) argues that reflection on experimental social psychology problematizes familiar philosophical and “folk” conceptions of moral character. Current research involves both theoretical and empirical research on moral responsibility, evaluative diversity, rationality, and the self. He has held fellowships from Michigan's Institute for the Humanities, Princeton's University Center for Human Values, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Before coming to Washington University in St, Louis, where he presently teaches, Doris taught at the University of Michigan and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He holds a BA in Philosophy from Cornell University and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Pre-submission English-language editing

Authors for whom English is a second language may choose to have their manuscript professionally edited before submission to improve the English. A list of independent suppliers of editing services can be found at All services are paid for and arranged by the author, and use of one of these services does not guarantee acceptance or preference for publication.

Religion Compass Style Guidelines

Harvard style should be used for inline citations and the Reference List.

All articles must contain an Abstract, a Reference List and a Short Biography.

UK or US style? UK or US spelling and punctuation may be adopted but, whichever conventions are used, they must be followed consistently throughout.

e.g. italicise OR –italicize, behaviour OR behavior, centre OR center, spectre OR specter, etc.

Quotations Every quotation should be accompanied by a reference to its source (e.g. Author 2005). If you are referring to the general theme of the book, page numbers are unnecessary.

NOTE: all references cited in the text (or in the endnotes) MUST also be cited in the Reference List.

Where a quote refers to figures or data, page numbers must be included. Short quotations (less than 30 words) “should run on within the normal sentence structure” (Smith 2005). Quotation marks can be used to distinguish the quote, and, if appropriate, preceded by a comma (for shorter quotations) or a colon (for longer quotations).

Long quotations (more than 30 words) should be displayed like so:

When you are making a quotation longer than 30 words, it should be set smaller than normal text type and indented by the normal paragraph indent, with no extra space above or below. (Author 2005)

Endnotes Religion Compass can accommodate endnotes, but it is preferable that specific arguments are amplified at an appropriate place in the text where possible. Endnotes may be used sequentially throughout the text in the format 1, 2, 3 rather than i, ii, iii. NOTE: The Religion Compass Endnote style can be downloaded here:

In-text Citation Examples

  • Jones (1988, p. 223) found that specific references were made…
  • Carlson (1981) obtained results which...
  • A recent study (Bloggs 1990) found that…

If volume, issue or page numbers need including:

  • (Jones 2005, vol. 2, p. 23)
  • (Jones 2005, vol. 2, p. 23; vol. 3, pp. 20-41)
  • (Jones 2005, sec. 2)
  • (Jones 2005, eq. 3)

Two authors

  • (Smith & Jones 2006)
  • Smith and Jones (2006) theorized that...

Note: The ampersand is used when the authors' names are in brackets.

Three or more authors

Use the first author only followed by 'et al.' For example, a work by Smith, Jones and Anderson becomes:

  • Smith et al. (2006) discussed library search methods…
  • A range of search methods (Smith et al. 2006) were discussed.

Unpublished works

  • (Crowley, unpub.)
  • Crowley (unpub.) argues that...

Citations from secondary sources

  • Brown (cited in Smith 1995) reported ...
  • (Brown, cited in Smith 1995)

The Bible
Psalm 23:6-8

Reference List

The Reference List should be arranged alphabetically (in order of authors' surnames), and chronologically for each author, where more than one work by that author is cited. The author's surname is placed first, followed by initials or first name, and then the year of publication is given. If the list contains more than one item published by the same author in the same year, add lower case letters immediately after the year to distinguish them. For example "1983a".

Reference List Examples

Book, single author
Rabin, C. (1954). The Zadokite Documents. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Book, more than 1 author
Abegg, M. Jr., Flint, P. & Ulrich, E. (1999). The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco.

Journal article Bloggs, J. (2008). The History of Christianity, Religion Compass, 2(1), pp. 157-70.

2 or more books in one year by same author (In alphabetical order by title)

King, P. (1984a). Power in Australia. St. Lucia: UQP. ______ (1984b). Solar power. Melbourne: Macmillan.

2 or more articles/chapters in one year by same author (In alphabetical order by title)

Duhaime, J. (2000a). Determinism. In: LH Schiffman and JC VanderKam (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Duhaime, J. (2000b). Dualism. In: LH Schiffman and JC VanderKam (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Conference paper Studer, M. (2001). Civilian military relations and co-operation in humanitarian emergencies. Paper presented at a workshop organised by the Swiss Development Agency, Bern, 26th January.

Conference papers published as part of a set of proceedings in book form Treat the reference as a section of a book:

Webb, N. L. (1993). Management education reform in Canada. In: Management education in the United States: eight innovations. Proceedings of a conference, Colchester, 1991. London: Routledge.

Thesis/dissertation; unpublished thesis Fryis, K. (2002). A geomorphic approach for assessing the condition and recovery potential of rivers: application in Bega catchment, south coast, New South Wales, Australia. Unpublished PhD thesis, Department of Physical Geography, Macquarie University.

Forthcoming style for both books & articles Larner, W. (forthcoming). Neoliberalism in (regional) theory and practice: the Stronger Communities Action Fund in New Zealand. Geographical Research.

Ridley, A., Peckham, M. and Clark, P. (eds.) (forthcoming). Cell motility: from molecules to organisms. Chichester: Wiley. Newspaper article Hunt, P. (1999). Time is running out. Daily Telegraph, 8 February, p. 10.