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Instructions to Authors

WSR will be published by T&F from 2012.


Manuscripts must be submitted online. Once you have prepared your manuscript according to the guidelines below, please visit the online submission web site. Instructions on submitting your manuscript online can be viewed here.


The journal Writing Systems Research aims to bring together linguistically motivated analyses of writing systems and psycholinguistic research on writing systems processing, covering a broad range of uses of writing systems. It is thus concerned with empirical approaches based on the analysis of written data and on experiments. It insists not only on standards of proof appropriate to psychological research in terms of size, rigour, etc, but also on descriptions of language consonant with linguistics. Its main area is research-based contrib¬utions from researchers in fields relevant to the study of writing systems, plus other features such as statements on current issues, short reports on ongoing research, replies to other articles, conference announcements etc. Papers on peripheral issues will only be published if they are of interest for researchers working on the analysis, use and acquisition of writing systems. It will not publish pedagogically-oriented papers, papers on writing and reading in the sense of ‘academic writing’, or philological or historical research, unless fully concerned with the writing system itself.

Contributors may come from a variety of disciplines, typically applied linguistics, speech therapy and literacy, psychology, computing and education, and from a range of countries. A range of writing systems across the globe will be represented in a balanced way.

Writing Systems Research aims to publish work concerned with any issue to do with the analysis, use and acquisition of writing systems (WSs) such as:
1. the linguistic analysis of writing systems at various levels (e.g. orthography, punctuation, typography), including comparative WS research;
2. the learning and use of writing systems, including:
• learning to read and write in children (normal and disabled children, bilingual children acquiring two WSs, deaf children, etc.) and adults (illiterates, learners of second language WSs);
• the psycholinguistic processes of reading (grapheme recognition, word recognition) and writing (spelling, handwriting) in specific writing systems and in cross-orthographic comparisons;
3. neurolinguistics and writing systems (e.g., lateralisation, reading pathologies);
4. the correlates of writing systems:
• writing systems and metalinguistic awareness (e.g. phonemic awareness, word awareness, etc.);
• cognitive consequences of writing systems (e.g. visual memory, representations of time sequences, etc.).
5. writing systems and computer/new media:
• computers in reading and writing;
• consequences of computers/new media on writing systems and their use;
• computer modelling of writing systems.

The above topics will be investigated with reference to:
1. first language writing systems (i.e. first learnt WSs representing the user’s first language),
2. first writing systems (i.e. WSs learnt first but not representing the user’s first language),
3. second language writing systems (i.e. WSs representing an additional language for the user; also third language WSs),
4. second writing systems (i.e. additional WSs not representing a second language), 5. supplementary writing systems (i.e., WSs used to teach a writing system, e.g. romanisation systems, the initial teaching alphabet, etc),
6. new writing systems suggested for real or fictional use (e.g. spelling reformers’ proposed systems such as Cut Spelling or the scripts designed by J.R. Tolkien).

General guidelines
Papers should not have been published before nor be currently under consideration by other journals. They should not exceed 8,000 words in length. Instructions for submission can be found on the website All manuscripts should be electronically submitted to the Editors via the Manuscript Central site and should have a coversheet giving the name, affiliation etc of the author or authors. Papers should be submitted as Word files in double spacing; the program will then convert the file. With articles using scripts other than roman script or having unusual fonts or phonetic scripts, it may be necessary to send in a scanned version to ensure they appear correctly.
Footnotes should be avoided unless totally necessary. All manuscripts are peer-reviewed and subject to the editors’ final decision. Before publication, authors have to sign a copyright assignment form, and to confirm that their article is original, accurate and does not include any libellous statements. Proofs will be sent to the author as pdf files, and should be returned within seven days.

Book Reviews
The journal publishes reviews of key books relevant to the field of Writing Systems Research. To review a book, please contact the Editors.
References in the text should use the author-date system, e.g. (Tschichold, 1987, 157); comma between author's name and date, page numbers without p., pp., etc.

Figures should be in their correct place in the text and should be submitted in separate jpg form as well as in the text, i.e. pictures automatically created in Word will not suffice. No line-break hyphenation; left justification, not full justification; italics rather than underlining for emphasis etc. Phonological examples should be in slant brackets / /, phonetic examples in square brackets [ ], orthographic examples in pointed brackets < >; other examples of language should normally be given in single quotation marks, without underlining or italics. Given the range of scripts the journal uses, so conventions may need modifying in particular instances.

References List
The overall aim is to ensure that readers can easily consult the reference through an academic library, not to enforce arbitrary gate-keeping standards.

References to books:
• author's surname followed by comma, initials (full stop), with no word space between two or more initials
• brackets around dates, followed by comma
• different publications by the same authors in the same year should be labelled a and b immediately after date
• book titles in italics; capitalisation of initial content words; followed by a full stop
• main words in book titles have initial caps, including subtitles
• place of publication, colon, then publisher. No abbreviation for publishers’ names
• list should be hanging
• titles may be given in the original script but must be followed by a roman transliteration and English translation

Coulmas, F. (1999), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Brooks, G., Gorman, T.P. and Kendal, L. (1993), Spelling It Out: The Spelling Abilities of 11- and 15-year-olds. Slough, UK: National Foundation for Educational Research
Perfetti, C.A., Rieben, L. and Fayol, M. (eds.) (1997), Learning to Spell: Research, Theory and Practice across Languages. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence-Erlbaum Associates.
Taylor, I. and Olson, D.R. (eds.) (1993), Scripts and Literacy: Reading and Learning to Read Alphabets, Syllabaries and Characters. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Press.

References to articles:
• titles of journal articles between single quotation marks; no abbreviations; followed by comma
• titles have no capitals apart from first word and names and no capital after colons• if a paper comes from an edited collection, put the title in single inverted quotation marks ‘ ’ but no full stop after, followed by 'in'.
• titles of journal in italics; initial capitalised content words
• quoted material within titles of papers should be between double quotation marks
• page numbers always come last in the entry
• web references should give a full URL and a date of access

Kajii, N., Nazir, T.A. and Osaka, N. (2001), 'Eye movement control in reading unspaced text: the case of the Japanese script’, Vision Research, 41 (19), 2503-10.
Jackson, N.E., Lu, W. and Ju, D. (1994), ‘Reading Chinese and reading English: similarities, differences, and second-language reading’, in Berninger, V.W. (ed.) The Varieties of Orthographic Knowledge I: Theoretical and Developmental Issues (Vol. 1). Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 73-110.
McCaskill, M.K. (1998), Grammar, Punctuation, and Capitalization: A Handbook for Technical Writers and Editors. Hampton, Virginia: NASA SP-7084, on-line at accessed 29th June 2008.
Nassaji, H. and Geva, E. (1999), ‘The contribution of phonological and orthographic processing skills to adult ESL reading: evidence from native speakers of Farsi’, Applied Psycholinguistics, 20, (2), 241-67.


Manuscript preparation

Copyright and licence

It is a condition of publication for all Oxford Journals that authors grant an exclusive licence to Oxford University Press or the sponsoring Society. This ensures that requests from third parties to reproduce articles are handled efficiently and consistently and will also allow the article to be as widely disseminated as possible. No article will be published unless the signed licence has been received at Oxford Journals.

Upon receipt of accepted manuscripts at Oxford Journals authors will be invited to complete an online copyright licence 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. . As part of the licence agreement, Authors may use their own material in other publications provided that Writing Systems Research is acknowledged as the original place of publication and Oxford University Press as the Publisher. As the Author(s), copyright of the Article remains yours (or your employer’s if your employer claims copyright in your work).


Authors will receive an offprint order form with their proofs. To order offprints please return the form to the fax number on the form. A copy of the form can also be downloaded from here.


Writing Systems Research expects that authors will observe high standards with respect to publication ethics. For example, the following practices are unacceptable: (1) falsification or fabrication of data, (2) plagiarism, including duplicate publication of the authors' own work, in whole or in part without proper citation, (3) misappropriation of the work of others such as omission of qualified authors or of information regarding financial support. Allegations of unethical conduct will be discussed initially with the corresponding author. In the event of continued dispute the matter will be referred to the author's institution and funding agencies for investigation and adjudication.

Oxford Journals, publisher of Writing Systems Research, is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), and the journal strives to adhere to the COPE code of conduct and guidelines. For further information see

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 licencing 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 Guidelines for Authors at Information on permissions contacts for a number of main galleries and museums can also be provided. Should you require copies of this then please contact the editorial office of the journal in question or the Oxford Journals Rights department on

Authors must:

  • obtain permission from the original publisher and, if requested, the original author (i.e. the corresponding author of the article from which the figure/table has come) for reproducing/modifying figures/tables.
  • request the following when seeking to reproduce any kind of third party material:

    (i) non-exclusive rights to reproduce the material in the specified article and journal.
    (ii) print and electronic rights, preferably for use in any form or medium.
    (iii) the right to use the material for the life of the work.
    (iv) world-wide English-language rights. If rights for all languages can be secured, this is preferable.
    (v) the right to use images with a resolution of 150 dpi in the PDF version of the journal or 72 dpi in the HTML version.
  • include a statement indicating that permission has been obtained in the relevant legend/footnote.
  • provide the Editorial Office with copies of any relevant paperwork.

For further details, as well as a template permissions request letter, please contact the Editorial Office.


Authors are sent page proofs by email. These should be checked immediately and corrections, as well as answers to any queries, returned to the publishers as an annotated PDF via email or fax within 3 working days (further details are supplied with the proof). It is the author's responsibility to check proofs thoroughly.