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APSR Submission Guidelines, Updated August 26, 2016

The American Political Science Review (APSR) is founded by the Constitution of the American Political Science Association (APSA).

Scope and Aims

The APSR publishes scholarly research of exceptional merit, covering all disciplinary fields of political science, which demonstrates the highest standards of excellence in scholarly analysis. Submitted manuscripts should be interesting, original, well crafted, and will employ whatever methodologies and methods are appropriate for the problem under scrutiny.


Under these conditions, the APSR accepts submissions of two types of articles:

● manuscripts that use original work to advance understanding of important political issues, and which are of general interest to the field of political science (typical length 12,000 words);

● letters that address an important research problem or question, showing a novel perspective on existing research and encouraging scholarly debate in the discipline (maximum length 4,000 words).


Review Process

Articles submitted for review may be desk rejected by the editors upon initial submission if they do not satisfy the conditions outlined in these guidelines. Articles that are not desk rejected will be considered under a double-blind review process. To maintain the quality of the review process, authors of submitted manuscripts are expected to review future manuscripts for APSR. Editors may desk reject submissions of manuscripts by authors who repeatedly fail to provide invited reviews.

Prior Publication Policy

The APSR publishes only original work. Authors who have submitted or published work that is similar or closely related to their submitted manuscript elsewhere at any point, including in published conference proceedings, must immediately notify the editors.

Reproduction Policy

APSR expects that empirical analyses are reproducible and interpretable, depending on the nature of the research. Authors of accepted papers with quantitative, experimental, and simulation results will be required to submit data sets, software and code, and all information needed for reproducing their findings to To encourage qualitative scholars to make their research transparent and accessible, we will request authors to archive relevant evidence and research protocols where possible. The editors recognize that reproduction standards in qualitative research are under discussion, and authors who are unsure about the nature of the evidence required can contact the editors for clarification. We also urge authors to consult our “frequently asked questions” page, which will be updated periodically. Appropriate embargo periods for both quantitative and qualitative research materials will be negotiated with authors where reasons for embargo are consistent with existing guidelines.

Disclosure Policy

Every submitted article must state the sources of financial support for the research it describes. Furthermore, APSR fully expects authors to conform to generally accepted norms concerning the protection of human subjects, and the editors may require certification of appropriate institutional review. 1

The APSR accepts only electronic submissions at The website provides detailed information about how to submit, what formatting is required, and what type of digital files may be uploaded. Please direct any remaining questions to the journal's editorial offices at [email protected]

Manuscript Preparation and Formatting

In order to optimize the quality of the review process, authors are allowed to provide up to four self-citations of their published work, so long as the manner of the citation does not threaten the integrity of the double-blind review process.

Manuscripts will typically be around 12,000 words. Letters should be no longer than 4,000 words. These word counts include text (abstract is excluded), all tables and figures, notes, references, and appendices intended for publication in the main manuscript. Font size must be 12 point for all parts of the submission, including notes and references, and all body text (including references) should be double-spaced. Authors must include an abstract of no more than 150 words.

Manuscripts should present their contributions effectively and efficiently.

Authors are encouraged to outline their main argument and research findings by using graphical illustrations in figures, where appropriate. However, the usage of color figures should be minimized.

For initial review, authors are encouraged to locate tables and figures approximately where they fall in the text.

Explanatory footnotes may be included but should not be used for simple citations. Simple citations should be made in-line. Do not use endnotes. Do not use acronyms or computational abbreviations when discussing variables in the text. All variables that appear in tables or figures should be described in appropriate detail in the text.

If your submission is accepted for publication, you may also be asked to submit high-resolution digital source files of graphs, charts, or other types of figures. Following acceptance, all elements within any tables submitted (text, numerals, symbols, etc.) should be accessible for editing and reformatting to meet the journal's print specifications, e.g., they should not be included as single images not subject to reformatting.

Specific Procedures

Please follow these procedures for submission:

1. Before submitting any manuscript to the APSR, download a PDF of the Transfer of Copyright Agreement from the Editorial Manager login page at, and review its terms and requirements, as well as the permissions granted to authors under its provisions. A signed agreement will be required for all work published in this journal.

2. When you submit at, you will be invited to provide a short list of appropriate reviewers of your manuscript. Exclude anyone who has already commented on the research included in your submission, exclude any of your current or recent collaborators, institutional colleagues, mentors, students, or close friends. You may also "oppose" potential reviewers by name, as potentially biased or otherwise inappropriate, but you will be expected to provide specific reasons. The editors will refer to these lists in selecting reviewers without guarantee that this will influence final reviewer selections.

3. You will be required to upload a minimum of two separate files.

a. An "anonymous" digital file of your submission, which does not include any information that identifies the authors. The names of any other collaborators in the work (including research assistants or creators of tables or figures) also have to be excluded. Likewise do not provide in-text links to any online databases that are stored on personal websites or at institutions with which any of the co-authors are affiliated. Do not thank colleagues or include institution names, web addresses, or other potentially identifying information.

b. A separate title page has to include the full manuscript title, names and contact information (mailing address, telephone, and e-mail address) for all credited authors, in the order their names should appear, as well as each author's academic rank and institutional affiliation. You may also include any acknowledgements or other author notes about the development of the research (e.g., previous presentations of it) as part of this separate title page. In the case of multiple authors, indicate which should receive all correspondence from the APSR.

4. If your previous publications are cited, please do so in a way that does not make the authorship of the work being submitted to the APSR obvious. Assuming that in-text references to your previous work are in the third person, you should not redact self-citations and references (possible exceptions being any work that is "forthcoming" in publication, and which may not be generally accessible to others). Manuscripts with potentially compromised anonymity may be returned, potentially delaying the review processes.

5. Please make sure the file contains all tables, figures, appendices, and references cited in the manuscript.

Tables and Figures

Tables and figures should be comprehensible without reference to the text, e.g., in any figures, axes should be clearly labeled. Please bear in mind that the published and online versions of the Review normally charge costs for providing figures in color; therefore, be sure that a gray scale version will be comprehensible to referees and readers.


Appendices should be lettered to distinguish them from numbered tables and figures. Include a descriptive title for each appendix (e.g., "Appendix A: Data Transformation and Estimation"). Appendices that are supposed to be posted online do not count against the word limit and will be made available on the article webpage of APSR.


References should be listed in a separate section headed "REFERENCES." All listed references must be cited in the text, and vice versa. Publication information for each reference must be complete and correct.

References should be listed in alphabetical order by authors' last names; include first names and middle initials for all authors when available. For works with more than one author, only the name of the first author is inverted (e.g., "King, Gary, Robert O. Keohane and Sidney Verba"). List all authors; using "et al." in the reference list is not acceptable.

When the cited material is not yet published but has been accepted for publication, use "Forthcoming" in place of the date and give the journal name or publishing house.

List two or more entries by the same author(s) in the order of the year of publication. If two or more cited works are by the same author(s) within the same year, list them in alphabetical order by title and distinguish them by adding the letters a, b, c, etc., to the year (or to "Forthcoming").

For dissertations and unpublished papers, cite the date and place the paper was presented and/or where it is available. If no date is available, use "n.d." in place of the date.

References for data sets should include a persistent identifier, such as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). Persistent identifiers ensure future access to unique published digital objects, such as a text or data set.

The following list illustrates common reference types and is not exhaustive. For additional reference guidance please see The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition.


Ahlquist, John S. and Margaret Levi. 2013. In the Interest of Others: Leaders, Governance, and Political Activism in Membership Organizations. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Mansbridge, Jane J. 1986. Why We Lost the ERA. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

U.S. Department of State. 1979. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1951. Vol. II: United Nations; Western Hemisphere. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.


Gerring, John. 2005a. "Causation: A Unified Framework for the Social Sciences." Journal of Theoretical Politics 17:2 (April):163-98.

Gerring, John. 2005b. "Minor Parties in Plurality Electoral Systems." Party Politics 11:1 (January): 79-107.

Wedeen, Lisa. 2002. "Conceptualizing Culture: Possibilities for Political Science." American Political Science Review 96:4 (December): 713-28.

Chapter in Edited Collection

Brady, Henry E. and Cynthia S. Kaplan. 2011. "Conceptualizing and Measuring Ethnic Identity." In Measuring Identity: A Guide for Social Scientists, eds. Rawi Abdelal, Yoshiko M. Herrera, Alastair Iain Johnston, and Rose McDermott. New York: Cambridge University Press, 33-71.

Edited Collections

Boix, Carles,and Susan C. Stokes, eds. 2007. The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics. New York: Oxford University Press.


Boas, Taylor. 2009. "Varieties of Electioneering: Presidential Campaigns in Latin America." PhD dissertation, Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA.

Web Sites

American Political Science Association. 2013. "About the APSA Africa Workshops." Washington, DC: American Political Science Association. Retrieved October 10, 2013 (

Data Sets

Levy, Jack S. and T. Clifton Morgan. Great Power Wars, 1495-1815. [Computer file]. ICPSR09955.v1. 1989. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1994. doi:10.3886/ICPSR09955.v1

Further Questions

A list of frequently asked questions and their responses are available at the APSA website here.

Do not hesitate, in any cases of doubt, to consult the APSR Editorial Offices with more specific questions by sending an e-mail to: [email protected].


Data Access, Production Transparency, and Analytic Transparency

The APSR expects authors to comply with the access and transparency obligations described on pp. 8-10 of APSA's A Guide to Professional Ethics in Political Science ( Researchers have an ethical responsibility to facilitate the validation of their evidence-based claims so that their work can be fully evaluated, including through reproduction and replication when appropriate, or by providing sufficient evidence and material to permit others to develop their own interpretation. This involves providing access to the data or evidence underlying their analysis, and achieving transparency in both the production and analysis of evidence. All relevant materials must be made available in the APSR dataverse at More specifically:

● Access to empirical materials: Authors making evidence-based knowledge claims should provide clear and complete citations to the evidence that support those claims in the reference section of the article; citations should include a "persistent identifier" (e.g., a "digital object identifier" or DOI). Authors should also provide comprehensive documentation that describes the evidence in full. Authors are expected to make these materials available if they themselves generated or collected them. However, if the protection of human subjects requires non-disclosure, if confidentiality agreements prohibit disclosure, if empirical materials are under legal constraint (i.e., they are classified, proprietary, or copyrighted), and/or if the logistical burden of sharing relevant evidence would be particularly high, the author will inform the editor at the time of submission. The editors can grant an exception with or without conditions, and may require an explanation of the restriction(s) prior to publication of the piece. Once again, we encourage authors to consult our “frequently asked questions” page for more specific information.

Production transparency: Authors providing access to evidence they collected themselves and/or generated are expected to offer a full account of the context in which the materials were collected and/or generated and the procedures used to collect and/or generate them. They should also make available any research instruments they used (e.g., interview protocols, coding protocols, procedures for identifying appropriate informants). Authors whose claims are based on the analysis of a set of materials they created themselves should clearly describe how they assembled it.

● Analytic transparency: Researchers should clearly map the path from the material to the claims. In addition to information provided in the article's main text and footnotes, this path should be mapped in ways that correspond with the methodology and method employed. For example, researchers may wish to provide software code and associated supplemental material, a methods appendix, or a transparency appendix (TRAX2). Generally, researchers should make available materials sufficient to allow others to fully understand and, where relevant and applicable, reproduce, replicate, and interpret their results.

These guidelines apply to all research in political science, which combines evidence and analysis to reach conclusions. APSR recognizes, however, that these general principles will be put into practice differently in different research traditions: different types of materials and information can be provided in different ways, including, but not limited, to the following examples.3

● For survey research, along with providing the parts of the data set that they analyzed, authors might provide sampling procedures, response rates, and question wordings; and a calculation of response rates according to one of the standard formulas given by the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Standard: Final Dispositions of Case Codes and Outcome Rates for Surveys (Lenexa, KS: AAPOR, 2006).4 For observational data, authors should list the dataset in the reference section of their article, and provide the parts of the dataset that they analyzed.

● For articles that include candidate gene or candidate gene-by-environment studies, APSR uses the same policy as the journal Behavior Genetics.5 In the relevant part, that policy states that an article will normally be considered for publication only if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

● It was an exploratory study or test of a novel hypothesis, but with an adequately powered, direct replication study reported in the same paper.

● It was an exploratory analysis or test of a novel hypothesis in the context of an adequately powered study, and the finding meets the statistical criteria for genome wide significance—taking into account all sources of multiple testing (e.g. phenotypes, genotypes, environments, covariates, subgroups).

● It is a rigorously conducted, adequately powered, direct replication study of a previously reported result.

● For articles that analyze a qualitative dataset in aggregate (e.g if using Qualitative Comparative Analysis) authors should list the dataset in the reference section of their article, and provide the parts of the dataset that they analyzed. Where authors draw on individual sources (e.g., books, interviews, newspaper articles, videos, etc.) as distinct inputs to the analysis, each source must be cited, and then listed in the reference section of their article. Whenever possible (within the confines of human subject protections and other exceptions mentioned in the section on Access to Empirical Materials) authors should share the relevant fragment of sources that support contested or central empirical claims and make the original sources available to other researchers. If the evidence used to create the dataset or the individual sources were collected and/or generated by the author, s/he should provide a methods appendix or section in the paper that explains how the evidence was collected and/or generated and selected for citation, and all relevant evidence-collection instruments. These and other (?) analytical transparency requirements can be satisfied for qualitative research using individual sources by preparing a transparency appendix (TRAX) if the author chooses to do so.

● To achieve transparency in experimental research, authors should provide full descriptions of experimental protocols, methods of subject recruitment and selection, payments to subjects, debriefing procedures, and so on.

Generalizing beyond particular examples, the core principle is that analytical transparency should be provided in ways that are relevant for the type of research that was undertaken, and the inferential and interpretive steps the author took to reach a conclusion.

At the time a manuscript is submitted to APSR for review, authors must provide the main text, notes, bibliographic references, and any tables and diagrams. If they so choose (but this is not required), authors may also provide the underlying evidence, and information needed to achieve production and analytic transparency and interpretability, as supplemental materials. These supplemental materials may be submitted as a file accompanying the manuscript submission or authors may provide a hyperlink to a trustworthy digital repository where they reside. Although not a requirement for submission, data access and production and analytical transparency materials may make the manuscript more understandable and more compelling for reviewers.

By the time the manuscript is published in the journal, the underlying evidentiary material necessary to meet APSA's access, production transparency, and analytic transparency standards must be available in, which are made accessible when the article is published.


1. One widely accepted guide to such norms is given by the American Anthropological Association's Code of Ethics, particularly Section III, available online here:

2. A TRAX consists of two elements: (1) a brief overview outlining the data-collection and data-generation processes employed and (2) activated (digitally enhanced) citations. Activated citations follow the format of traditional footnotes or endnotes, but are digitally augmented to include, for each source: (a) a precise and complete reference such that scholars can locate the source and find the relevant information within it; (b) a redaction of/excerpt from the source; (c) if needed, an annotation that explains how the source supports the textual claim with which it is associated; and (d) the source itself (if available and shareable) or a hyperlink thereto. For more details, see

3. This parallels the position taken by APSA. See, for example, Guidelines for Data Access and Research Transparency for Qualitative Research in Political Science, and Guidelines for Data Access and Research Transparency for Quantitative Research in Political Science

4. See AAPOR's Code of Ethics.



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