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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, American history, national security studies, and Latin American, Asian, African, and European studies.

The editorial staff of Diplomatic History encourages authors to submit manuscripts that address broad understandings of U.S. foreign relations. Also, the journal strives to find preeminent experts in the specialization who represent diverse backgrounds to review submitted manuscripts as well as participate as commentators in special solicited forums and as book reviewers. Commentators and book reviewing is subject to the Editor’s discretion.

The journal has been published since 1977, and by Wiley-Blackwell since 2007. Beginning in January 2013 the journal will be published by Oxford University Press. The Department of History and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder has supported Diplomatic History since 2001. Diplomatic History may be reached at:; 303-735-0271:


Thomas W. Zeiler, Editor, Professor of History and International Affairs, University of Colorado Boulder

Nathan Citino, Associate Editor, Book Reviews, Professor of History, Colorado State University

Kenneth Osgood, Associate Editor, Communications, Professor of History, Colorado School of Mines

Daniel DuBois, Assistant Editor, Office, Ph.D. candidate, University of Colorado Boulder

Benjamin Montoya, Assistant Editor, Office, Ph.D. candidate, University of Colorado Boulder

Editorial Board: nine scholars, considered for their prominence, expertise, and diversity, selected for three-year terms


Article manuscripts should be submitted via ScholarOne. Hard copies will not be accepted. Manuscripts should be double-spaced, with double-spaced endnotes or footnotes, and normal-width margins.

Length: Manuscript submissions must be no longer than 14,000 words, including notes, but preferably shorter. Authors who submit articles that exceed the 14,000 word limit can expect the Editor to ask them to reduce the length of their manuscript so it meets the journal’s length requirements, and then to resubmit the shortened manuscript for review consideration. This word limit also applies to manuscripts that are returned to authors after the first round of decisions by reviewers and the Editor, and are then revised by authors and resubmitted. Regardless of the whether a manuscript meets the 14,000 word limit, the Editor will determine its final length.

Style: Manuscripts should conform to Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations or Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition. Authors should include a single page abstract with their manuscript submission. In order to assure anonymity, the author’s name and affiliation should appear only on a separate cover sheet. Authors should also avoid text references that indicate their identity.

Format and International Standards: National standards vary as to manuscript style format and grammar. Nonetheless, Diplomatic History requires authors to use the “Chicago” standard for citation and format style. Authors should use U.S. English.

Notification of Submission: Authors must indicate that Diplomatic History is the sole venue for their manuscripts. No manuscript will be considered if concurrently under consideration by another journal or soon to be published elsewhere. Upon submission, please indicate that Diplomatic History is the sole venue for consideration of your manuscript.


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 Editor will make the final decision on publication of all manuscripts and reviews submitted to the journal.

Initial Review

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 Editor to review. The Editor 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 Editor 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 Editor during the initial review.

Peer Review

Once the Editor decides on the article’s appropriateness to the journal, 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 Editor 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 Editor seeks 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 Editor.

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 Editor’s review.

3. The Editor assesses the reviews and bases his decision on the manuscript from the reviewers’ comments, as well as his 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 Editor’s 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. 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. At the point of acceptance of the article, the author must not substantially review the manuscript without the permission of the Editor.

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 Editor’s recommendations. The author should respond to each question or comment from each reviewer (and from the Editor, 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 editor will make a decision on whether to accept, reject, or (in special cases) request an additional round of revisions. The author will be informed of the decision.

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 Editor’s 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.

Successful Submissions

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.

--lack of primary sources (especially archival materials).

--faulty presentation (formatting that does not adhere to the journal’s standards, grammar and style are wrong, 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.

William Strunk, The Elements of Style, Kindle edition, 2011.

Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Kindle edition, 2011, paper, Seventh edition, 2007.

Acceptance Rate

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.

Special Forums/Essays

Diplomatic History runs forums on certain topics. These are initiated by the Editor, the Editorial Board (each Board member is asked to direct a forum on a topic of expertise), or outside readers. The journal encourages suggestions for topics and will consider, for example, a group of papers presented at a conference. The forums vary in format: one essay with multiple commentaries; two or more essays with one or two commentary, etc. The Editor requires that a proposal of one-two pages be submitted that describes the forum and its importance, and includes the format and participants. Forums will be published in the same schedule as regular articles, and must adhere to the style guidelines for articles noted above. The length of articles is usually 8,500 words, and commentaries are usually 1,500 words, but will be determined in consultation with the Editor.

The journal also offers 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 Editor. Suggestions are welcome, but historiographical essays are usually solicited.

Book Review Submissions

Book reviews are solicited by the Nathan Citino and the Editor, although on occasion a reader may suggest to the journal a book and reviewer (including her/himself).

Book reviews are limited in length to 1200 words, including notes. Considerations for longer, or shorter, reviews are subject to approval by the Book Review Editor and Editor, especially for a review of more than one book.

Reviewers should follow the style guidelines explained above.

Book reviews are read by the Editor and Book Review Editor. 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 Editor reserves 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 Editor, 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.