Guidelines for Manuscripts


The American Journal of Political Science (AJPS) seeks manuscripts that make outstanding contributions to scholarly knowledge about notable theoretical concerns, empirical issues, or methodological strategies in any subfield of political science. The AJPS will not review manuscripts that are under consideration for publication elsewhere, manuscripts with contents that have been substantially published elsewhere, or new versions of manuscripts that have been rejected previously by the Journal. Papers that do not meet the formatting and submission guidelines described below will not be sent out for review.

Articles are selected for publication in the AJPS on the basis of a double-blind review process. Authors and co-authors of submissions to the AJPS are expected to review manuscripts for the Journal. The AJPS Editor reserves the right to refuse submissions from authors who repeatedly fail to provide reviews for the Journal when invited to do so. Any such submission refusals will be made only after consultation with at least two members of the AJPS Editorial Board.

Manuscript Preparation: A manuscript submitted for review to The American Journal of Political Science should be prepared as follows:

  • The manuscript should address an important research problem or question, display a high level of creativity or innovation in research, contribute in a novel way to a body of knowledge, and (as appropriate) demonstrate superb th eoretical development along with state-of-the art use of appropriate methodology.
  • The manuscript must effectively and informatively communicate its contribution to a general political science audience.
  • The manuscript should present its content as efficiently as possible, with no unnecessary material included in the text or exhibits. For example, including a paragraph at the end of the introductory section laying out the organization of the paper is unnecessary.
  • The manuscript must include a title page featuring an abstract of 150 words or fewer followed by a word count for the manuscript.  The abstract should provide a very concise descriptive summary of the research stream to which the manuscript contributes, the specific research topic it addresses, the research strategy employed for the analysis, the results obtained from the analysis, and the implications of the findings.
  • In order to maintain the integrity of the double-blind peer review process, the manuscript must exclude any author-identifying information, such as title page information listing authors’ names and affiliations, expressions of appreciation to others for advice or data, statements of where the manuscript may have been presented at a conference, acknowledgments of support for the research, or citations to the authors’ unpublished work. Citations to one’s own published work should be made in the third person (e.g., “In earlier work, Jacoby (2014) examined …”), not in the first person (e.g., “In earlier work, I examined … (Jacoby 2014)”). In most cases, information that is removed from the manuscript to maintain anonymity should not be indicated with place-holders, such as “AUTHOR CITATION” or “REDACTED.”
  • The manuscript should not include a lengthy literature review. Instead, the text should cite only works that are directly relevant to the immediate research topic, in the process demonstrating any gaps in the literature that may have led to the current analysis and highlighting the current study’s contribution to the ongoing line of scholarly work.
  • In most cases, manuscripts should not cite unpublished work as support for the current analysis. Exceptions include presentations at major professional conferences and entries in well-known working paper series. Generally, however, work submitted to the AJPS should be based on prior published research that has undergone a formal review process within the relevant scholarly community. Bibliographic information for any unpublished material must include a URL that enables referees and other interested readers to access the work directly.
  • The use of figures to demonstrate an argument or illustrate a finding is strongly encouraged. Authors should ensure that the graphical content of any figures is legible and of high quality. The use of color should be minimized, as it cannot be included in the print version of the AJPS. Color figures are retained in the online version.
  • For purposes of review, authors are encouraged to insert figures and tables into the body of the text, thereby enabling referees to refer to the material easily while reading the manuscript. Regardless of whether they are inserted in the text or left at the end of the manuscript, tables and figures should be numbered consecutively.
  • The use of asterisks or other symbols to represent varying levels of statistical significance is strongly discouraged. Authors who report that results are “statistically significant” should use the 0.05 level or lower; statistical tests using the 0.10 level are not acceptable for work submitted to the AJPS.
  • The use of supporting information for manuscripts is strongly encouraged and will be treated as a substitute for appendices. The material provided in the supporting information will not be considered part of the word count noted below. Supporting information should be aimed at a sophisticated reader with specialized field expertise. For example, formal theories may include proofs; computational models may include computer code; experiments may include details of the protocol; empirical work may include data coding, alternative econometric specifications, and additional tables and figures that elaborate the manuscript’s primary point. Supporting information will be sent to referees along with the manuscript. If the manuscript is accepted for publication, then the supporting information will be posted on the publisher’s website with the electronic copy of the article and also on the AJPS website.
  • In most cases, the details of robustness tests also should be relegated to the supporting information. The main text of the manuscript should provide a relatively brief summary of the results from the robustness tests and refer interested readers to the supporting information for more complete presentations of the tests themselves, if necessary.
  • Submissions to the AJPS should be no longer than 10,000 words. The word count includes the main body of text, notes, references, and the headers of tables and figures. It does not include the title page, Abstract, or Supporting Information. Manuscripts at or near the maximum length will be subjected to special editorial review to determine whether their length is justified. A manuscript that exceeds the 10,000 word limit will be returned without review.
  • All submissions should follow the style guidelines from the American Political Science Association’s Style Manual for Political Science (revised August, 2006) or The Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition). The guidelines include, but are not limited to, matters of text style, citations, appendices, notes, references, and figures/tables.
  • The American Journal of Political Science maintains a strict policy requiring authors of accepted articles to provide all data and code necessary to reproduce their article results. If a manuscript is tentatively accepted for publication, the replication materials will be verified to make sure that they do, in fact, reproduce all results that appear in the article and immediate supporting materials before final acceptance and publication. Authors should review the AJPS Guidelines for Preparing Replication Files before submitting a manuscript for review. If there are limitations or restrictions on data access or if an exception to the general replication policy will be requested for any reason, then the author should contact the AJPS Editor to explain the situation before submitting the manuscript. Exceptions to the AJPS replication policy will be granted at the discretion of the Editor.
  • All text, footnotes, and bibliographic references must be doubled-spaced and printed in a standard 12-point type font (material in figures and tables may be single-spaced). Page margins should be a minimum of one inch. All bibliographic references should provide authors’ first and last names, not the last name and first initial- e.g., Smith, John, not Smith, J.

Manuscript Submission: A manuscript intended for review by AJPS must be submitted to Editorial Manager as follows:

  • Submissions are made through the Editorial Manager online system.  Only electronic submissions are accepted. Other forms of submission will not be accepted.
  • If a manuscript has multiple authors, then one author must be designated as the corresponding author. That person will act for the full team of authors as the sole contact for communications with the AJPS Editorial Offices throughout the review process.
  • Before starting the submission process, the corresponding author for the manuscript should have available the names and e-mail addresses of all authors, as well as the text of the manuscript abstract. At this time, the corresponding author should identify a research subfield for the manuscript and also designate several keywords that identify the topics for which the manuscript is relevant. An author submitting a revised manuscript should further have available the original manuscript number (i.e., that used during the initial review by the AJPS).
  • An original or revised manuscript must include one anonymous (PDF, Word, or LaTex) file as described below:
  1. The American Journal of Political Science uses a double-blind system to review submitted manuscripts. Therefore, the corresponding author must submit a fully anonymous version of the manuscript. The content of the manuscript must conform to the anonymity requirements described above, in the fifth bullet point under Manuscript Preparation. The file containing the manuscript should be marked “anonymous” in the document summary tab and the file must be printable.
  2. If there is supporting information, it also should be contained in the submitted file. Supporting information should appear after the last page of the manuscript itself, and it should be clearly differentiated from the manuscript. An author who submits a revised manuscript must place the memorandum to referees in the dialogue box during the submission process in Editorial Manager.
  3. An author who submits a revised manuscript must place any comments to reviewers in the dialogue box during the submission process in Editorial Manager.
  4. An author may, but is not required to, include comments to the Editor, acknowledgments, and details on where the paper has been presented. This information can be inserted in the “Author Comments” field in Editorial Manager.
  • If Supporting Information (SI) included as part of a manuscript submission should be made available to referees during the review process, then the SI must be uploaded as an “Appendix” in the Editorial Manager system. Please follow this instruction even if the SI is intended to serve as online supplemental information (i.e., it would not be included in the print edition of the AJPS if the manuscript is accepted for publication). In order to designate the SI as an Online Appendix, then simply write “Online Appendix” in the “Description” text box associated with the file. Please note that any file uploaded to Editorial Manager as a “Supplemental appendix not included in PDF” will not be accessible to the referees during the external review process.
  • A corresponding author may recommend up to three or four individuals who are particularly qualified to review the manuscript. Recommendations cannot include an author’s doctoral dissertation supervisor, someone with whom an author has co-authored work in the past 12 months, colleagues in an author’s department or comparable employment unit, or anyone with whom an author has a familial or other personal relationship. Recommendations are strictly that; none, one, or all of the author-recommended individuals may be selected to review the manuscript. Recommendations of referees must include a name and a contact e-mail address for each person recommended. Author recommendations must be submitted through the Editorial Manager system.
  • Authors may also designate up to three or four individuals that they prefer not to review the manuscript. In such cases, the author must specify why the individuals should be disqualified from serving as referees. These designations will be considered when referees are selected for the manuscript. But, the designations should not be construed as barring the individuals from the review process. In other words, one or more of them may still be selected as referees.
  • If a manuscript is accepted for publication, then the final draft must include a statement immediately after the Abstract giving the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for the replication materials. Authors are required to provide data, computer code, and related materials sufficient to enable interested researchers to fully replicate all analyses reported and presented in their AJPS article. For quantitative work, all replication materials must be stored in the AJPS Dataverse on the AJPS Dataverse on the the Harvard Dataverse Network. For qualitative work, all data files must be stored at a trusted digital repository, and catalogued in the AJPS Dataverse. Please refer to the Accepted Article Guidelines, the AJPS Guidelines for Preparing Replication Files,and the AJPS Quick Reference for Uploading Replication Files for instructions pertaining to the replication materials and the AJPS Dataverse. The title page of an accepted article should include an unnumbered footnote that identifies any sources that funded the research. Any acknowledgments and expressions of gratitude also should be included in this unnumbered note. If supporting information accompanies the article, then it must be ready for permanent posting when the final draft is submitted. Manuscripts that do not use data or do not have supporting information are exempt from these reporting requirements.

Other Notes: The American Journal of Political Science does not review manuscripts that:

  • Do not contain original arguments or analyses
  • Are not analytically rigorous, of high quality, and self-contained;
  • Are unsolicited responses to recently published articles;
  • Are book reviews or essays on current events;
  • Are simultaneously under review elsewhere
  • Contain material that has already been published elsewhere (without appropriate citation or acknowledgment)
  • Fail to comply with the substantive, stylistic, formatting, and anonymity requirements described above
  • Have been reviewed previously at the AJPS

The Editor and Editorial Staff of the American Journal of Political Science seek to provide constructive and informative manuscript reviews that provide authors with useful information regardless of the ultimate editorial decision. And, we are committed to providing authors with efficient and timely turnaround when processing submitted manuscripts. But, the speed of the process is directly affected by the timeliness of referee responses. Accordingly, it may take several months to complete the review of a manuscript. Note also that all reviews are advisory to the AJPS Editor, who is solely responsible for publication decisions.

Submit Manuscript

See Guidelines for Accepted Articles

The Editor of the AJPS is at Michigan State University and the Editorial Office is supported by
the Michigan State University Department of Political Science and the School of Social Sciences.

  Michigan State University 

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