Diplomatic History Manuscript Guidelines
Diplomatic History, sponsored by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), is the only journal devoted to U.S. international history and foreign relations, broadly defined, including grand strategy, diplomacy, and issues involving gender, religion, culture, race and ethnicity, and ideology. It examines U.S. relations in a global and comparative context, and its broad focus appeals to a number of disciplines, including political science, international economics, gender studies, geography, anthropology, national security studies, and history.
The editorial staff of Diplomatic History encourages authors to submit manuscripts that address broad understandings of U.S. foreign relations. The journal editors strive to find preeminent experts in the appropriate specialization who represent diverse backgrounds to review submitted manuscripts as well as participate as commentators in special solicited forums and as book reviewers. The choice of commentators and book reviewing is subject to the Editors’ discretion.
The journal has been published since 1977, and by Oxford since 2013. The Department of History and the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington and Indiana State University have supported Diplomatic History since 2014. Diplomatic History may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nick Cullather, Editor, Professor of History, Indiana University Bloomington
Anne L. Foster, Editor, Associate Professor of History, Indiana State University
Jennifer Boles, Assistant Editor, PhD candidate, Indiana University Bloomington
Mary Werden, Assistant Editor, PhD candidate, Indiana University Bloomington
Editorial Board: nine scholars, considered for their prominence, expertise, and diversity, selected for three-year terms
SUBMISSION OF MANUSCRIPTS
Article manuscripts should be submitted via ScholarOne. Hard copies will not be accepted. Manuscripts must be less than 14,000 words, double-spaced, with double-spaced footnotes and normal-width margins. In order to be considered for review, manuscripts must comply with the formatting requirements listed in the Diplomatic History Reference Guide at the time of submission.
Diplomatic History bases its excellence as the journal of record in the field of U.S. foreign relations, and as one of the premier venues of publication in the History discipline, on its peer review process. The review process is double-blind (in which neither the author nor the reviewer know the other) to protect reviewer and author anonymity and assure authors of a fair hearing. Ultimately, the Editors will make the final decision on publication of all manuscripts and reviews submitted to the journal.
Once an electronic submission is received, it undergoes an initial review by the editorial staff. The assistant editors check the manuscript for proper formatting, sources, and relevance to the mission of the journal, and then ready the essay, with their comments, for the Editors to review. One or both of the editors then reads the manuscript. At this point a decision is made on whether the submission is appropriate for Diplomatic History’s audience, or if the author would be better served submitting the essay to another journal. An essay is rejected for a variety of reasons (see below under “Successful Submissions”). On occasion, the Editors will send the manuscript to members of the Editorial Board for suggestions. The editors will try to recommend other publishing venues should the article manuscript be deemed unacceptable by the Editors during the initial review.
If the Editors believe the submitted article has merit but that there also are substantial issues which will complicate or prolong the peer review process, they will return the manuscript to the author with comments about how to prepare the article so that it can be sent out for peer review.
Once the Editors decide to send the article for peer review, the staff will select at least two referees as peer reviewers to assess the manuscript. Each referee will be asked to review the essay for content and form. These referees are selected by the Editors for their expertise on the topic and in the field. They may be positioned in other fields as well if their specialties are deemed relevant or helpful to understanding the manuscript’s substance. The Editors seek diversity (cultural identity and geographic) in reviewers’ backgrounds, as well as in their opinions.
Steps in the peer review process:
1.a. The manuscript is sent to the reviewers with explicit instructions to assess the essay and provide one of three decisions: accept, reject, or revise and resubmit. Reviewers are asked to take into account a host of issues, including the placement and originality of the manuscript in the literature, argument and interpretation, substance and importance of content, and form and presentation.
A decision to “Accept” means that the reviewer believes the manuscript meets the journal’s criteria and is a worthy addition to the literature that Diplomatic History should make available to its readers.
A decision to “Revise and Resubmit” (see process below) indicates that the reviewer found much value in the manuscript but that problems in content, form, and/or interpretation exist that merit further examination and deliberation by the author, referees, and the Editors.
A decision to “Reject” means that the reviewer, while perhaps finding merit in parts of the manuscript, did not find it appropriate to, or meeting the standards of, the journal or the field.
1.b. Reviewers are requested to return the manuscript to the editorial office with a ruling of Accept, Revise and Resubmit, or Reject, along with comments, suggestions, and revisions within six to eight weeks. Authors should note that while Diplomatic History strives for a timely turnaround of the manuscript, factors beyond the journal’s control can intervene to hold up the process. The editors recognize the need for an assessment to be made as swiftly as possible, and thus make every effort to facilitate the process.
2. The assistant editors compile the decisions and ready them for the Editors’ review.
3. The Editors assess the reviews and base their decision on the manuscript from the reviewers’ comments, as well as their own reading of the submission. This stage usually takes about a week from the time the last referee’s report is received at the editorial office.
4. The manuscript, along with the Editors’ decision and referees’ reports, is returned to the author.
4.a. For a decision to “Accept” the manuscript, the author is instructed on the next stages of the process, including readying a short biography and responding to editors' queries about minor matters. The author will have an opportunity to review the manuscript for errors indicated in the reviewer or editorial comments. The office will also inform the author of the copy-editing process in which the author will have the final chance to correct minor mistakes. Once the article has been accepted, the author must not substantially revise the manuscript without the permission of the Editors.
4.b. For a decision to “Revise and Resubmit,” the author will resubmit the essay once revisions are made in accordance with the reviewers’ and Editors’ recommendations. The author should respond to each question or comment from each reviewer (and from the Editors, if included) and indicate how the manuscript has been revised. Authors will be expected to address directly the reviewers’ concerns about their manuscript by appending to their resubmitted manuscript a letter outlining the revisions made from the initial draft. The author should try to return the manuscript and the letter of explanation in a timely fashion, although revision periods vary as to the work required.
4.c. Once the author resubmits the “revise and resubmit” manuscript, the editors will ask the same referees who initially read the essay to review the revised submission. Reviewers will be asked to return the manuscript within four weeks, although the time can vary.
4.d. When the second round of reviews arrive in the Diplomatic History office, the Editors will make a decision on whether to accept, reject, or (rarely) request an additional round of revisions. The author will be informed of the decision. If the decision is to accept, then the author will receive instructions as stated in 4a above.
4.e. For a decision to “Reject” the manuscript, the author will receive the referees’ reports. No other contact is necessary with the Diplomatic History editorial office. However, the author should not hesitate to contact the journal office with questions should they be in order.
The peer review period (beginning with the receiving of the initial arrival of the manuscript in the Diplomatic History office and ending with the Editors' decision of publication) takes between two and four months. Delays in this process are attributable to a variety of causes, including difficulties in finding appropriate reviewers for a manuscript, delinquent reviewers, occasional missed communications, etc. The editorial staff will do its best to facilitate a rapid review process.
The duration of time for the second round of reviews (in a “Revise and Resubmit” decision) is largely contingent on the revision and resubmission of the manuscript by the author. At least one month should be allowed for referees to re-review the revised manuscript and for the Editor to produce a final decision on the submission.
The author is encouraged to submit relevant graphics (photographs, maps, charts, line drawings, cartoons) with the manuscript. Such files should be sent as .tiff, .jpeg, or .bitmap, and should be of standard or high resolution. The author is responsible for obtaining permission to publish any copyrighted material.
An article published in Diplomatic History is a product of a meticulous review process and, we believe, meets the highest standards of the discipline in terms of substance and style. The process can be time-consuming and arduous. Below are some factors that bear on the success of a manuscript in the writing and review process, from its conception to publication.
1. A manuscript should be historical in context, no matter how recent, and should deal with the foreign policy of the United States, broadly conceived (see the opening mission statement of this document). Diplomatic History encourages topics of the widest topical and historical nature on international topics, trends in the field, or beyond it, that touch on U.S. foreign relations, cross disciplinary work, new topics, and/or new interpretations and arguments.
2. Manuscripts must be based on archival and other primary materials. The sources usually go beyond those compiled in Foreign Relations of the United States, although FRUS can be an essential source.
3. Manuscripts should address the literature, both older and the most-cutting edge, and indicate how the author’s topic is situated in that body of work. Authors should show the importance of their articles within the literature, arguing how the manuscript will advance or add to our knowledge. A long historiographical section is not necessary, but a judgment of the literature is in order. Some authors place this discussion in a footnote by a listing of sources. Please remember: all notes, historiographical as well as primary sources, are added to the total word count of the manuscript.
4. Manuscripts must adhere to the guidelines for submissions. Manuscripts will be returned if they do not comply with word limit, style, and citations requirements.
5. It is important to edit carefully and abide by the journal’s policies before submission. Sloppy formatting often brings into question the quality of the author’s argument. Along with the substance of the article, presentation can affect the review of a manuscript.
Successful manuscripts usually include one or more of the following:
--a developed and appealing introduction (of one to several paragraphs) with a clear and succinct argument which makes a distinct contribution to the respective historiography.
--an interpretation based on the most recent scholarship that indicates the importance of the manuscript to the literature and field.
--an indication of the importance of the utilized sources.
--a body of the article that has clearly structured argument and presents the evidence clearly and fully.
--a conclusion that both summarizes the content and analyzes the findings, and which may even point to a future research agenda.
--grammatical correctness, appropriate academic jargon, and consistent formatting.
Unsuccessful manuscripts usually include one or more of the following:
--irrelevance to the Diplomatic History readership.
--inaccurate, irrelevant, or imprecise treatment of the issues or interpretations.
--absence of primary sources (especially archival materials).
--faulty presentation (formatting that does not adhere to the journal’s standards, problems with grammar and style, format is in “scientific” form or information is presented in a list rather than in prose, etc.)
Authors may find the following sources useful as writing and style guides:
Wendy Laura Belcher, Writing Journal Articles in 12 Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success, 2009.
Jack Hart, Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011).
William Strunk, The Elements of Style, (New York: Longmans, 1999).
Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Eighth edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013).
Over the past several years, Diplomatic History shows an acceptance rate of 16 percent of all article manuscripts submitted . Authors should not be discouraged by these figures, but they should also be realistic. Diplomatic History publishes manuscripts that meet the highest standards of excellence in terms of substance, interpretation, and form.
Diplomatic History runs forums on certain topics. These are initiated by the Editors, the Editorial Board, or outside readers. The forums vary in format: one essay with multiple commentaries; two or more essays with one or two commentary, etc. The Editors require that a proposal of one-two pages be submitted that describes the forum and its importance, and includes the format and participants. If the Editors think the topic merits a forum, they will inform the organizer. The organizer will collect all the contributions and submit them as a group. The forum as a whole will undergo peer review, with the possibility that some contributions may not be accepted. If the Editors ask for contributions to be revised and resubmitted, the organizer will again collect all the contributions before re-submitting them. If the forum features short responses to the collected articles, these need not be submitted until the final submission, at the discretion of the Editors. Forums must adhere to the style guidelines for articles noted above. The maximum length of articles is usually 8,500 words, and commentaries are usually 1,500 words, but as with articles, the Editors determine the length of all published material.
The journal also publishes historiographical essays on a subfield or area of the world, as well as occasional reflection pieces on a body of work. These vary in length, and are subject to approval by the Editors. Suggestions are welcome, but historiographical essays are usually solicited.
Book Review Submissions
Book reviews are solicited by the Editors, although on occasion a reader may suggest to the journal a book and reviewer (including her/himself).
Book reviews usually are limited in length to 1200 words, including notes. The Editors will discuss exceptions to this length with invited reviewers, especially for a review of more than one book.
Reviewers should follow the style guidelines explained above.
Book reviews are read by the Editors. Reviewers should summarize the book but reserve the bulk of their essay for analysis – how the work fits into the literature, its originality, the use of sources. Reviewers are encouraged to give their opinion, but to do so in a civil way and tone. The Editors reserve the right to suggest alterations should the review be deemed to exceed the bounds of civility or substance, and Diplomatic History may reject a review. However, all opinions expressed in a review are the responsibility of the reviewer, and do not reflect the opinions of the Editors, staff, or the journal.
The timing of book reviews varies according to when the book is received and how quickly a reviewer writes an essay. Diplomatic History encourages completion of a review within six to eight weeks.
Permission to republish/reprint articles in Diplomatic History
Authors occasionally seek to republish in books or collections articles that appeared in the journal. Diplomatic History, in consultation with the Press, usually allows republication. Depending on the venue, the Press may apply a fee. Authors seeking republication of their articles should contact the Diplomatic History office to seek permission from the Editor.
Permissions for Illustrations and Figures
Permission to reproduce copyright material, for print and online publication in perpetuity, must be cleared and if necessary paid for by the author; this includes applications and payments to DACS, ARS, and similar licensing agencies where appropriate. Evidence in writing that such permissions have been secured from the rights-holder must be made available to the editors. It is also the author's responsibility to include acknowledgements as stipulated by the particular institutions. Oxford Journals can offer information and documentation to assist authors in securing print and online permissions: please see the Guidelines for Authors section. Information on permissions contacts for a number of main galleries and museums can also be provided. Should you require copies of this, please contact the editorial office of the journal in question or the Oxford Journals Rights department.
Licenses and Offprints
Upon receipt of accepted manuscripts at Oxford Journals authors will be invited to complete an online copyright license to publish form. Please note that by submitting an article for publication you confirm that you are the corresponding/submitting author and that Oxford University Press ("OUP") may retain your email address for the purpose of communicating with you about the article. You agree to notify OUP immediately if your details change. If your article is accepted for publication OUP will contact you using the email address you have used in the registration process. Please note that OUP does not retain copies of rejected articles.
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Anne L. Foster