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Notes for Contributors

General Articles

Issues of Sociological Research Online are published quarterly in February, May, August and November. Articles which appear in the journal are subject to a thorough process of anonymous peer review.

All papers published on Sociological Research Online are accessible free of charge to private individuals using a commercial IP address. However, for institutions such as universities, an annual subscription to the journal is required to gain access.

Sociological Research Online is compliant with the open access requirements of UK research councils and others. The journal offers the following options:

  • Green open access: from April 1st 2013, all authors of SRO articles will be allowed to make publicly available the accepted version of their article (i.e. without Sociological Research Online formatting, pagination etc.) on a university repository or elsewhere, subject to an embargo period of 1 year from the date the paper is published in the journal.
  • Gold open access: for papers submitted to Sociological Research Online on or after April 1st 2013, authors may request (on acceptance of their paper) to pay an Article Processing Charge in order to have the fully formatted version of their paper made universally available.

Charges for Gold open access will be the same as those for the BSA's other journals, currently £800 per article.

Submission format

Please read the following guidelines carefully. Articles which do not adhere to the guidelines may be rejected outright without being sent for review.
  • Articles should be over 5000 words and should not normally exceed 8000 words. Tables, figures, illustrations and references are included in the word count.
  • Articles should be submitted in electronic form, preferably as a Microsoft Word file, with any illustrations provided separately in PNG, GIF or JPEG format (preferred).
  • The main article document must include an abstract (max 250 words) and a list of up to ten keywords, selected carefully to maximise the likelihood that those searching for articles in your subject area will find the article.
  • Please ensure that your title summarises clearly what the article is about and includes key words which increase the likelihood that those searching for articles in the subject area will find your article.
  • References through the article and the list of references at the end of the document must be submitted in the journal's house format (see below for detail).
  • Your main article document should be fully anonymised, including any self-references.
  • An additional document should be included containing the author's name, a brief biography and the word count for the article.
  • Simultaneous submission of the same paper to other print or electronic journals is not permitted. We are not able to consider articles that have previously been published elsewhere.
  • Articles may be written and published in either UK or US English as long as there is consistency within the article.
  • Articles should have been fully proof-read. Articles deemed to be poorly written or presented may be rejected without being sent for review.
  • Articles should be corrected for factual accuracy. Articles will be regarded as accurate. Authors are responsible for factual content.
  • Authors should note that the policy of Sociological Research Online is that there is an at least four issue gap in articles published by the same author or joint authors. Where the author of an article published in the journal submits an article jointly with someone who has not published in Sociological Research Online in the previous four issues, there will be a gap of at least two issues; thereafter, the four issue rule comes into effect.
  • Dates should be written: 1 January, 2010. Single quotation marks only (except for quotes within quotes). Bold, italic and underscore should be formatted as such in the word processed document. Hyperlinks to additional files should be clearly flagged in the text:

    **LINK "FILENAME": Hyperlink to another document


Article titles need to be clear and precise, using clear key words that convey the contents of the article to possible readers. This will ensure those searching for articles can find your piece as easily as possible - a benefit to author and journal alike.

For example: 'Getting off my head, it's what I do: stoners and gibbers tell their story' may be an interesting and creative title, but it is not informative. A better alternative could be: 'Young people's alcohol and drug use: a qualitative account of binge drinking and drug use'.

Articles with titles that the editors believe do not provide clear signposting to the content will be returned to the authors for reconsideration. For further information please see: <http://www.uk.sagepub.com/authors/journal/readership.sp>.

Headings and Sections

Every paragraph in an SRO article is numbered, to aid citing the paragraph in other articles. These numbers are applied when the article is formatted and do not need to be included in the file you submit. The numbering scheme consists of a major number, which is the number of the section, and then a minor number which is the number of the paragraph within the section.

Articles should be divided by the author into sections, each with a section heading. Each section may also have sub-sections and sub-section headings. Ensure that it is clear which are section headings and which are sub-section headings in your submitted article. Do not number the sections, since any such numbering will be removed as part of the formatting process.


Authors are encouraged to include images, graphs, diagrams and multimedia content where appropriate.

Figures (e.g. pictures, graphs, and diagrams) will be linked into the article at appropriate places. Please embed each Figure in the right position in the article (but do not forget to submit the graphic as a separate file as well). Captions should be provided as text. Do not put the caption on the graphic itself.

Graphics should be scaled so that they are no more than 600 pixels wide. The height is not as important, but illustrations are typically about 300 pixels in height. If available, use colour (e.g. if you have several line plots on the same axes, get your software to draw each line with a different colour).

Please provide all Figures both in place in your article file and separately as files in GIF, JPEG or PNG format.

Tables should normally be provided as text (e.g. as a Microsoft Word table). Only when the table is exceptionally complicated or heavily formatted should you provide a table as a separate graphic.

If possible, videos should be uploaded to YouTube. Please then send us the link and we can embed the video in an article webpage.

Equations, formulae and mathematical symbols

Please keep Greek and special mathematical symbols to a minimum. Use ordinary, roman letters for variables except where it is traditional to use Greek letters. If you do need to include Greek letters and are using Microsoft Word, type them with the Symbol font. Please avoid using any symbols with a bar or tilde above them, as these are impossible to show in HTML.

Citations and References

It is helpful if authors can show relevance to the journal and awareness of how related issues have previously been dealt with in the journal. Authors are encouraged to consider and refer to previous publications found in SRO that relate to the submission they are preparing.

References should use the Oxford style, that is:
Citations in the text should be as author, date pairs in brackets, e.g. (Karpinski 1997: 32). Note there is no comma between the author and the date. Multiple citations should be separated by a semi-colon, e.g. (Smith 2001; Jones 2002).

Where there are two authors, both names should be referenced in the text, thus Zald & McCarthy (1979). Where there are three or more authors, only the name of the first should appear in the text followed by 'et al.', thus Maurice et al. (1986). The full list of authors should appear in the reference list. URL's should be enclosed in <triangular brackets>.

References at the end of the text should be in alphabetical order:

For example
HASTIE, R (1986) Experimental evidence on group accuracy in Jablin F M, Putnam L L, Roberts K H and Porter L W (Eds.) Handbook of Organizational Communication: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

KALAKOTA R and Whinston A B, (1996) Frontiers of Electronic Commerce. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc.

KARPINSKI R (1997) Extranets emerge as next challenge for marketers. Netmarketing, April 1997, p. 1-4.

PARIS, Heather (2003) '"Lifting up the little form": Victorian images of childhood and death 1870-1900', Sociological Research Online Vol. 8, Issue 3: <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/8/3/paris.html>.

SIGNORETTA, P. and Craglia, M. (2002) 'Joined-up Government in Practice: A case study of children's needs in Sheffield', Local Government Studies, Vol. 28, No. 1, p. 59-76.

Footnotes and Acknowledgements

Footnotes should appear at the end of the text and before the References. These will be turned into hyperlinks. Only articles referenced in the text should be listed. Authors are encouraged to keep footnotes and endnotes to a minimum.

Contributors should indicate sources of funding, where applicable, and any restrictions on publication placed on them by sponsors. It is the duty of the author(s) to clear copyright on empirical, visual and oral data.

The Review Process

Research articles will be refereed 'blind', that is, the referees will not be given the name of the author. Please ensure self-references are anonymised so that the body of the article does not include obvious 'give-aways' (e.g. 'in previous work, I developed a similar model (Gilbert 1999)').

Referees are asked to respond to the following questions:

  1. What is your overall assessment of the article? (accept, minor revisions, revise and resubmit, reject)
  2. Please outline briefly and for the editor alone your reasons for reaching this assessment of the article.
  3. Please provide some constructively expressed feedback for the author, designed to outline your evaluation of the article and, where appropriate, to help them revise it, whether for this journal or another.
  4. Do you have any suggestions for the author with respect to the possible use of images, multimedia content or other forms of electronic illustration that might enhance the paper?
Normally three referees are approached for an evaluation. Once the referees have commented, the editor will decide whether to accept the article as submitted, request minor revisions, request resubmission following a major rewrite, or reject the article. Authors can expect to receive the editor's verdict about 2-3 months after submission, though please bear in mind that occasionally the process can take a little longer depending on reviewer availability.

* Checklist for Submissions

When submitting an article, ensure that there is

  1. The main file, if possible in Microsoft Word '.doc', .docx or '.rtf' format. The file should include all Figures and Tables in their expected final positions, an abstract and a list of keywords.
  2. In addition, the figures as GIF or JPG images, each in a separate file (do not include figure captions in the images). Figures should be scaled so that they are between about 400 and 800 pixels in height and width.
  3. A file including a biography for each author (100 words or fewer), the authors' postal and email addresses and home pages and the word count for the article.

Submitting your Article

To submit an article to Sociological Research Online, please click the link below and follow the instructions:
If you are unable to use the online submission system, please email your anonymised article and separate title page to the journal at sro.journal@britsoc.org.uk.

An acknowledgement of receipt will always be sent within a few days. If you do not get an acknowledgement, please enquire as email can fail to arrive.

Rapid Response Articles

From time to time, the journal editors will put out specific calls for Rapid Response articles focused on particular sets of recent events. Rapid Response articles are academic 'think pieces' from a sociological perspective relating to the event/s in question. They are peer reviewed and are usually approximately 3000 words in length.

The editors are open to suggestions from authors/readers as to topics for a Rapid Response call, but we cannot accept unsolicited Rapid Response articles.

Special Sections

The editors of Sociological Research Online welcome proposals for special sections of the journal focused on particular sociological themes or questions.

Taking advantage of the journal's unique electronic publishing format, special sections may be published throughout the year alongside the general issues published in January, March, May, July, September and November. The journal can offer editorial support from a liaison editor and administrative assistance with the final publication of the volume to the world wide web.

Prospective guest editors should read the journal's guidance document for special sections and submit a special section proposal to the editors outlining the provenance of the collection, the theme of the special section, its relevance to the journal's audience and a profile of possible articles and authors.

Review Articles

  • Sociological Research Online will publish review articles of up to 5000 words in length on suitable topics and areas of sociological work. Review articles are commissioned by the Editors in consultation with the Review Editors, and reviewers should seek to place their discussions in the broader context of current debates within the sub-discipline(s) represented by the reviewed publications. Review articles are subject to the same process of anonymised peer review as all other articles.
  • Once commissioned, the style and layout of review articles should follow the guidelines for full articles, details of which are provided in these 'Notes for Contributors'.
  • Unsolicited review articles will not be accepted, although suggestions for suitable topic areas for review articles are welcomed and should be sent to sro.journal@britsoc.org.uk.

Book Reviews

  • Sociological Research Online publishes book reviews across the entire spectrum of sociological interests and concerns. The commissioning of book reviews is the responsibility of the two Review Editors. Publishers and distributors should send all books for review to Catherine Ternent, Sociological Research Online, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK.
  • Unsolicited reviews will not be accepted. The Reviews Editors are however interested in hearing from sociologists who would like to become reviewers for the journal. People who wish to nominate themselves as book reviewers for Sociological Research Online should submit their details to sro.journal@britsoc.org.uk.
  • Commissioned book reviews are not subject to a full review process in the same way as review articles. It should be noted, however, that the Review Editors reserve the right to edit book reviews before final acceptance.
  • Reviews of books should be between 500 and 700 words in length. The Review Editors may edit reviews which exceed this word limit.
  • Book reviews should be written so as to provide readers with an overview of the scope of the contents as well as a critical evaluation of the same. The evaluative content of reviews should, however, be constructively expressed; overly or destructively critical reviews will not be accepted.
  • Book reviews should be prefaced with bibliographic information in the following form:

    Title of Book
    Author/s or Editor/s Personal then Surname/s
    Place: Publisher
    Price, hb or pb

    With an example being:

    Narrating Our Pasts
    Elizabeth Tonkin
    Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
    ISBN 0 521 40133 X
    Stlg. 29.95, hb
    pp. xiv + 171

  • Book reviews should employ a single line space between the bibliographic information and the start of the review. Each paragraph within the review should be separated by a single line space. New paragraphs should start left-aligned. The review should conclude with the full name and institutional affiliation of the reviewer, each on a separate line.