Guidelines for Manuscript Submission

Would you like to publish an article in CSSH? Please refer to our guidelines for manuscript submission. You’ll also find some frank and helpful tips here.

CSSH welcomes submissions from authors in any academic field. Essays should be written in a way that makes complex issues intelligible and appealing to erudite readers who are not specialists in the subject under investigation. Submissions should be characterized by a comparative perspective in their theoretical, geographic, temporal, methodological, or disciplinary focus. The following guidelines are intended to help our authors prepare their articles for review; please read them carefully before submitting your manuscript, since papers which do not conform with these guidelines may be returned to their authors. Note that CSSH does not publish special issues.

Format: Please submit a digital version of the paper, an abstract of 250 words or less, up to ten key words, and full contact information, formatted in Microsoft Word. Hard copies are not required. Authors should send their digital files by email attachment to: The exception is large image files (see below). The review process will not begin until a complete set of materials has been received. You will receive written confirmation of receipt via a return message. If you do not receive such a message in due time, please contact our managing editor ( As always, digital materials should be carefully checked for viruses before sending. We request that authors add the address to their digital address books when submitting. This will help to avoid any potential problems with SPAM filters, and ensure that you receive our confirmation message and future communication regarding your submission.

Please list the article’s title, your full name and institutional affiliation, your email address, and a total word count (including notes, references, appendices, and abstract) at the top of page one of your manuscript. Please do not post any materials to us by a means that requires us to sign for receipt. If necessary, digital media or hard copies of editorial correspondence may be sent to:
David Akin, Managing Editor
Comparative Studies in Society and History
University of Michigan
6503 Haven Hall
505 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1045 USA

Cover letter: Every submission should be accompanied by a cover letter providing the author’s full name, institutional affiliation, and complete contact information (postal address, email, phone [with international calling codes if not in the United States], and URL, if available). You may also use the cover letter to describe your paper’s relevance to the journal and its comparative focus. Please do not attach CVs, resumes, or other supporting materials to your cover letter.

Graphic images: For purposes of review, you need to submit any graphic material (figures, maps, etc.). Smaller, JPG files are much preferred for the review stage since we may email them to reviewers. Include captions for the images. The section entitled “Figures” toward the end of this guide provides more detailed information. Higher-quality images are only required once an article has been accepted for publication, and digital images are usually acceptable. Please note that we will not return materials sent to us as part of the submission process.

Prior publication: Only original, previously unpublished manuscripts are accepted for review. Publication of a manuscript in CSSH must precede its appearance in any other venue by at least six months. This includes publication in conference volumes or on public areas of the World Wide Web (the appearance of all or part of a manuscript on a personal Web page, however, is not prohibited under this rule. The failure to disclose facts of prior or pending publication may be considered cause for a manuscript’s immediate rejection, without peer review. Prior publication in a series of working papers may be allowed if the series was produced for limited circulation. Authors should make note of any such circumstances in their cover letters. Please keep in mind that the submission of a single manuscript to multiple publications does not fall under fair practice, and papers that have been simultaneously sent to other journals or publishers for consideration will not be reviewed.

CSSH maintains an anonymous peer review process, in which papers are reviewed by at least two independent scholars from fields relevant to the manuscript’s subject area. Exceptions include papers judged to be outside the journal’s scope of interest, or which are clearly not up to the standards of academic publication: such manuscripts may be rejected by the editorial board without a full peer review. The reviewers’ names or other identifying information will not be made known to the authors. Authors’ names are revealed to the reviewers by default, but authorial anonymity will be preserved if requested by the author in their cover letter.

Suggested and excluded readers: Authors are welcome to suggest the names of possible reviewers, or to request the exclusion of specific individuals from the list of potential referees. Exclusions should be clearly explained in the cover letter. When recommending potential arm’s-length readers please include their full contact information and carefully check the spelling of each name, since misspelling can hinder the editors’ ability to contact these individuals. Author recommendations and exclusions are regarded as suggestions only, and are not binding upon the journal’s editors or staff.

General criteria for acceptance: The criteria for acceptance of a paper for publication are stringent: CSSH publishes approximately one out of every ten manuscripts submitted. During processing, each submission is carefully reviewed for its relevance to the journal’s mission, and its potential appeal to our readership. The list of a paper’s potential reviewers is drawn up based on author suggestions and recommendations from CSSH editorial committee members and consulting editors. We ask readers to evaluate the importance of a paper’s theoretical contribution, the rigor of its analysis, the author’s deployment of evidence in support of their arguments, and the relevance of the paper to a comparative perspective. Additional factors such as the quality of writing and the thoroughness of references to relevant literatures often play a subtle but important role in the final decision.

Common reasons for rejection: Papers are commonly rejected for the following reasons, among others: lack of comparative perspective and/or theoretical contribution (we typically receive a high number of submissions that should actually be sent to specialist journals); emphasis on policy recommendations rather than theoretical analysis; failure to make an original contribution to the field (manuscripts which simply summarize an existing body of literature without contributing new evidence or analysis are particularly common); and prior publication.

Turnaround time: The journal strives to provide a decision on every manuscript within five or six months, dating from the time when a complete submission packet has been received. This time frame is often shorter, but is occasionally extended if circumstances hinder the effort to find a full complement of reviewers.

Anonymity: Under no circumstances will journal staff disclose the names of CSSH reviewers without their prior consent. Authors should not request reviewers’ names or contact information; any concerns about the review process should be directed to the editors.

Length: Manuscripts for review must be fourteen thousand words or less in length, including notes and bibliography and abstract. Essays exceeding this limit will not be accepted for review. Please do not request that we waive this rule. The editors may ask that an article be shortened further as a condition of acceptance. Recommendations for specific cuts may be made at the copyediting stage as well, even in manuscripts that were accepted at their original length. Abstracts may not exceed 250 words in length.

Style: All manuscripts must be double-spaced throughout, including extracts, notes, and bibliography, with one-inch margins on all sides. Use twelve-point Times New Roman font for all body text and endnotes, footnotes, and References sections. Please do not double-space after periods; modern word-processing software automatically adjusts the spacing between sentences.

The journal’s style is based on The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.); Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) is regarded as the authoritative guide to spelling and usage. These sources may be consulted on all questions of style and grammar. Please note that the journal uses spellings of the American variant, rather than allowing authors to choose the British style (e.g., use “utilize” not “utilise”; double-quotation marks; periods and commas within quotation marks). We will accept papers employing British spellings and style for the purposes of manuscript review; but they both must be changed to the American style before the copyediting stage in any paper accepted for publication.

Non-standard fonts and symbols: When providing a digital copy of the manuscript, authors must also supply copies of any non-standard fonts or characters (such as diacritica) used in their essay. “Non-standard” is defined as any font or character not provided by Microsoft Corporation with their most recent Word academic software package. Please keep in mind that such materials must be provided in full compliance with existing copyright law: unauthorized or pirated copies of fonts or other software will not be accepted. We expect authors to provide proof of such authorization when submitting the files.

References: The journal does not enforce a single house style for references or bibliographic citations: authors are free to utilize styles accepted for work in their own discipline, though they must be consistent throughout. This is done out of consideration for the widely varying disciplinary backgrounds of the journal’s contributors. This lack of standardization makes proofreading more difficult, however, and authors should check the consistency of their citations very carefully. Within any particular reference style, we may adjust aspects of references to bring them in line with CSSH’s use of that style. Please do provide the full, inclusive page numbers of journal articles in your references. Do not put your full references in both the notes and a references section, though abbreviated citations in the notes and text that refer to a References section are fine: (Smith 2005: 125–28). If you use such in-text citations, cross check that all references cited in the text, notes, and captions are listed in the References, and vice-versa. Or, you may include your full references in notes only and not use a References section at all. If you do that, use a short version of the citation after its first occurrence. However, authors must not use both styles and thereby duplicate their references. Notes should be numbered in a single continuous sequence, from the beginning of the paper to its end. The notes must be attached to the note numbers in the text, so that clicking on the note number will bring up the note. Acknowledgments must be formulated in a single, unnumbered note appearing at the top of the notes section. If a manuscript is published, the acknowledgments will appear as an unnumbered footnote at the bottom of the article’s first page. Please place a page break at the start of the endnotes, and at the start of your References section if you have one. Endnotes will be converted to footnotes at publication. Samples of CSSH citation styles are available on request, or authors can simply look at a recent issue.

While we welcome images, we must be selective. Authors should clearly number the figures in the desired sequence, and indicate where they should be located in the text. Do not embed images in the text. Please supply a caption list as well (for details on how to format caption text, see below), numbering each caption to correspond with one figure. Lower-resolution figures are preferable when submitting an essay for review, since we typically email them to reviewers, but authors must furnish high-quality images if the article is accepted. A Cambridge University Press guideline sheet for images is available on request. You must also provide any necessary permissions for any images before publication of the manuscript. CSSH will not publish copyrighted images or figures until the necessary permissions are on file in the journal office: failure to provide permissions will delay or prevent publication of the manuscript. Any fees for copyrighted materials are the responsibility of the author.

Camera-ready formats: Once the article is accepted, images may be submitted in the form of high-quality files (for photographs, etc.), and Microsoft Excel files (for tables and charts). This is a common problem for authors whose articles employ maps, since professional cartographers often design their work in formats not accepted by the CSSH typesetter. Because of schedule and professional restrictions, the journal staff cannot assist authors with file conversions: please convert your materials into one of the accepted formats before sending the electronic files to the journal. Note that if you are sending a large number of higher quality images digitally, you should submit them to CSSH on a CD or via a file-sharing service, rather than as an email attachment, unless you make prior arrangements with the managing editor. Be sure and retain your own high-quality copies of any images that you send to us. Each image should be in its own file, numbered in its caption to match the caption list: (Smith image 1).

Caption text: Caption text should not be written on the image itself, or in the file name. Instead, provide all captions and legends in a separate Word file, making sure that each caption clearly corresponds to a numbered figure. The captions should include the author’s name and the image number (Smith image 1, Smith image 2, etc.) Include in the captions an acknowledgment to the source, even in cases where this is not legally required, since for images in the public domain the custom is nonetheless to note the source in the following fashion: Courtesy [name of the archive or other source]. Please mark the first page of the caption text clearly.

Digital images: Cambridge has now instituted a service to allow CSSH to publish images in color online without cost to the author. In most cases these would be the same images that are published in black and white in the journal itself. Production editors at Cambridge University Press will resize and sometimes, with the author’s permission, crop images as necessary.

Scheduling: Manuscripts accepted by the journal will be copyedited three to four months prior to their final date of publication. Authors typically receive notice of their article’s scheduling five to six months before it is published.

Goals: The copyeditor’s primary obligation is to bring each paper into conformity with conventions of style and form. In this spirit, the editor may make recommendations of varying scopes. The editors view the copyediting process as a collaborative one, which will hopefully help the author to enhance the readability of their manuscript at the same time that it attunes the journal to the subtleties and nuances of the author’s arguments. The journal is sensitive to the proprietary rights of authors over their creative efforts.
We hope that you will find the collaboration a productive one.


CSSH employs an on-line editing process, using Track Changes in Microsoft Word. This makes it much easier for authors to track and respond to the copyeditor’s changes. Once an article has been scheduled for publication, and the paper edited, the edited manuscript will be sent to the author by email attachment to review the edits.

When we have received the authors’ responses and made the necessary adjustments to all of the papers in an issue, they are sent on together to our publisher, Cambridge University Press, for typesetting. Approximately one month thereafter, Cambridge will email each author a link to download a pdf file of the proofs of their paper, along with instructions for making any corrections. Since the journal staff provides Cambridge’s production editor with each author’s contact information for this purpose, please be absolutely sure to let us know if you will require the proofs to be sent to an alternative address, or will be away from your email for any significant length of time. We will need this information well in advance.

Once an article has been copyedited, we will send the file to the author by email attachment. You should scan such documents carefully for viruses, then open and inspect them immediately. Let us know right away if you have any trouble opening your attachment, or if you believe that the contents have been corrupted. Although we employ the most recent versions of industry standard anti-virus software, it is always advisable to check any file sent across the Internet. Once you have determined that the file was transmitted properly, you should immediately save it to your local hard drive or other dedicated filespace. Please do not change the name of the file!

Other instructions on how to deal with edits will be dealt with in a cover email sent with the edited manuscript.

Thank you again for taking the time to read these guidelines. If you have any questions or suggestions about how we could improve this process, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

All editorial correspondence should be sent to:
David Akin, Managing Editor
Comparative Studies in Society and History
University of Michigan
6503 Haven Hall
505 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1045 USA