Submission Guidelines

The Submission Guidelines, Guide to Authors, Editorial Policies and Guide to Referees are also available to download as a PDF.

Pre-submission checklist

Authors should ensure that the following key issues are addressed prior to submission; additional guidance on manuscript preparation is outlined in the detailed sections that follow.

Supporting cover letter


All submissions should be accompanied by a cover letter that includes the following key points for the Editors:

  • Statement on why the work is appropriate for Palgrave Communications;
  • Clear indication of the research question/knowledge gap the work sets out to address;
  • Outline of the paper’s key aims and key conclusions;
  • Short description of how the paper builds on, and advances, existing thinking in the relevant field(s) of scholarship.

Authors should also indicate whether they have had any prior discussions with a Palgrave Communications Editor or Editorial Board Member about the work described in the manuscript.

Abstract (for Articles and Reviews)

Please include an abstract in the manuscript file that includes the following ingredients:

  • Background context (e.g. for the general reader);
  • Specific knowledge gap the work aims to fill and/or the research question explored;
  • Methods/approach used in the study;
  • Key findings, conclusions or observations;
  • Implications, wider significance, or applications of the work.

A reader should have a clear impression from the abstract of the novelty and significance of the work, and how it builds on existing scholarship. Abstracts should not exceed 350 words.

Abstracts (for Comments)

Please include an abstract in the manuscript file that includes the following ingredients:

  • Statement of broader context (e.g. for the general reader);
  • Clear articulation of why the topic or issue under discussion is of pressing importance or significance;
  • Specific goal of paper (i.e, the ‘hook’, central line of argument, and/or call to action, as appropriate);
  • Brief summary of the ground covered in the main body of the article;
  • Closing conclusions, take-away messages or future perspective, as appropriate.

Abstracts should not exceed 350 words.

Anonymised manuscript files


Manuscript files should not include any information that can identify the authors or collaborators (e.g. acknowledgements). All such information should be entered into the submission system and/or cover letter as appropriate.

Article references/bibliography

All submissions should follow the Harvard style of in-text parenthetical citations, followed by a complete list of works cited at the end of the paper. Further details can be found here.

Data Availability statement


All original research articles should include a Data Availability statement at the end of the manuscript following the reference list—this includes papers that do not analyse or generate any datasets. Template statements can be found here.

Clarity of written English

Authors should ensure papers are written in clear English. Papers that are not of a sufficient quality to be understood by the editors and reviewers will be returned to the authors. Additional information on English language support can be found here.


Permission to reuse copyrighted materials


All figures should be uploaded as separate files - and not included in the article text. Note: tables may be included in the main text.

Figure legend(s) should be included at the end of the main article file as a list.

All figures must have individual legends. These should begin with a brief title sentence for the whole figure and continue with a short description of what is shown; methodological details should be kept to a minimum as much as possible.

Authors bear the responsibility for checking whether supporting material (e.g. figures, illustrations, datasets) submitted is subject to copyright or ownership rights. Authors must obtain permission to reproduce any such items, and include these permissions with their final submission. Please see our further guidance on the use of 3rd party materials. Publication of papers will be delayed if such information is not provided.

Please include full copyright and permission for reuse information in all figure/table legends (where applicable). This published paper provides a worked example.


The editorial team can answer any questions regarding the submission process.

General information for preparing manuscripts

Online submissions include a cover letter, a manuscript text file, individual figure files and optional Supplementary Information files. Authors are asked to separate any figures files from the main manuscript text - with figure legends listed at the end of the paper, or included as place holders among the main text. Tables may be included in the main manuscript file either within the text or at the end of the document. Supplementary Information should be combined and supplied as a separate file.

Authors should note that only the following file types can be uploaded for article text and figures:

  • For article text: txt, doc, docx, tex
  • For figures: eps, tiff, jpg

If your paper does not include formulas, we strongly encourage you to submit your paper in txt, doc or docx rather than tex.

Palgrave Communications is read by academics and researchers from diverse backgrounds. In addition, many are not native English speakers. Authors should, therefore, give careful thought to how their findings may be communicated clearly. Although a basic knowledge may be assumed, please bear in mind that the language and concepts that are standard in one field may be unfamiliar to non-specialists. Thus, technical jargon should be avoided as far as possible and clearly explained where its use is unavoidable.

Abbreviations, particularly those that are not standard, should also be kept to a minimum. Where unavoidable, abbreviations should be defined in the text or legends at their first occurrence, and abbreviations should be used thereafter. The background, rationale and main conclusions of the study should be clearly explained. Titles and abstracts in particular should be written in language that will be readily intelligible to any academic or researcher. We urge authors to ask a colleague with different expertise to review the manuscript before submission, in order to identify concepts and terminology that may present difficulties to non-specialist readers.

The format requirements of Palgrave Communications are described below.

Palgrave Communications uses UK English spelling.

Writing in English

For editors and reviewers to accurately assess the work presented in your manuscript you need to ensure the English language is of sufficient quality to be understood. If you need help with writing in English you should consider:

  • Exploring this collection of free resources offering advice on writing in English;
  • Asking a colleague who is a native English speaker to review your manuscript for clarity; 
  • Using a professional language editing service where editors will improve the English to ensure that your meaning is clear and identify problems that require your review. Two such services are provided by our affiliates Nature Research Editing Service and American Journal Experts. Springer Nature authors receive 10% off their first submission to either service. 

Please note that the use of a language editing service is neither a requirement for publication in Palgrave Communications, nor does it imply or guarantee that the article will be selected for peer review or accepted.

Cover letter

Authors should provide a cover letter that includes the affiliation and contact information for the corresponding author. Authors should briefly explain why the work is considered appropriate for Palgrave Communications. Authors are asked to suggest the names and contact information for reviewers and they may request the exclusion of certain referees. Please ensure that your cover letter also includes suggestions for Editorial Board members who would also be able to review or advise on your submission. Finally, authors should indicate whether they have had any prior discussions with a Palgrave Communications Editorial Board Member about the work described in the manuscript.

Format of manuscripts

In most cases we do not impose strict limits on word and page lengths, however we encourage authors to write concisely and suggest authors adhere to the guidelines below.

The manuscript text file should include the following parts. The main text of an Article should begin with an Introduction or other introductory section (with heading) of referenced text that expands on the background of the work (some overlap with the Abstract is acceptable), followed by the main sections of the paper. The file should also contain Reference and any Acknowledgements (optional). Additional Information (including a Competing Interests statement), Figure Legends and Tables (maximum size of one page) can be added as relevant. Footnotes are allowed.

For first submissions (i.e. not revised manuscripts), authors may choose to incorporate the manuscript text and figures into a single file up to 3 MB in size - the figures may be inserted within the text at the appropriate positions, or grouped at the end. Any Supplementary Information should be combined and supplied as a separate file, preferably in PDF format. The first page of the Supplementary Information file should include the title of the manuscript and the author list.

Authors who do not incorporate the manuscript text and figures into a single file should adhere to the following: all textual content should be provided in a single file, prepared using either Microsoft Word or LaTeX; figures should be provided in individual files.

TeX/LaTeX - Authors submitting LaTeX files may use any of the standard class files such as article.cls, revtex.cls or amsart.cls. Non-standard fonts should be avoided; please use the default Computer Modern fonts. For the inclusion of graphics, we recommend graphicx.sty. Please use numerical references only for citations. References should be included within the manuscript file itself as our system cannot accept BibTeX bibliography files. Authors who wish to use BibTeX to prepare their references should therefore copy the reference list from the .bbl file that BibTeX generates and paste it into the main manuscript .tex file (and delete the associated \bibliography and \bibliographystyle commands). As a final precaution, authors should ensure that the complete .tex file compiles successfully on their own system with no errors or warnings, before submission.

Manuscripts published in Palgrave Communications are not subject to in-depth copyediting as part of the production process. Authors are responsible for procuring copy-editing or language editing services for their manuscripts, either before submission, or at the revision stage, should they feel it would benefit their manuscript.


References will not be copy-edited by Palgrave Communications. References will be linked electronically to external databases where possible, making correct formatting of the references essential.

All submissions should follow the Harvard style of in-text parenthetical citations, followed by a complete list of works cited at the end of the paper. The journal does not permit numbered referencing; numbered footnotes may be used to amplify on the main text or provide extra information. Authors should ensure that all references cited in the article text are included in a reference list at the end of the paper. 

Please use the formatting outlined in the examples below. For any needed clarification of the style, please consult one of the many online guides to the Harvard style. 

  • Journal articles

Lang D C, Monefeldt C and Rosenhead J V (2000) Looking in the wrong place for healthcare improvements: A system dynamics study of an accident and emergency department. Journal of the Operational Research Society 51(5): 518-531.

  • Online articles

Ormerod R J (2009) Rational inference: deductive, inductive and probabilistic thinking. Journal of the Operational Research Society advance online publication 26 August, doi:10.1057/jors.2009.96.

  • Books

Glover F and Laguna M (1997) Tabu Search. Kluwer Academic Publishers: London.

  • Chapter in a contributed volume

Osman IH (1995) An introduction to meta-heuristics. In: Lawrence M and Wilsdon C (eds) Operational Research Tutorial 1995. Operational Research Society: Birmingham, pp 92-122.

  • Websites

Author last name First initial (Year published). Page title. [online] Website name. Available at: URL [Accessed Day Mo. Year].

  • Magazines

Author last name First initial (Year published) Article title. Magazine, (Volume), Page(s).

  • Artworks

Author last name First initial (Year created) Title. [Medium]. City that the artwork is/was displayed in: Gallery or Museum.

  • Archive material

Author last name First initial (Year published) Title of the material. [format] Name of the university, library, organization, Collection name, code, or number. City.

  • Published research dataset with a persistent identifier

Hao Z, AghaKouchak A, Nakhjiri N, Farahmand A (2014) Global Integrated Drought Monitoring and Prediction System (GIDMaPS) Datasets. figshare.


Acknowledgements should be brief, and should not include thanks to anonymous referees and editors, or effusive comments. Grant or contribution numbers may be acknowledged. Assistance from, proof-readers and editors should also be acknowledged here.

Author contributions

Palgrave Communications  permits the designation of up to six equally contributing authors, up to six joint supervisors, and up to three corresponding authors. Any requests to include more equally contributing, supervising, or corresponding authors are reviewed by the Managing Editor. When applicable, equally contributing and jointly supervising authors should be clearly indicated in the manuscript, using the exact wording: ‘These authors contributed equally to this work’; ‘These authors jointly supervised this work’. For corresponding authors the following wording should be used: ‘Corresponding author’ followed by ‘Correspondence to:’

Clearing Permissions

The author bears the responsibility for checking whether material submitted is subject to copyright or ownership rights, eg figures, tables, photographs, illustrations, trade literature and data. The author will need to obtain permission to reproduce any such items, and include these permissions with their final submission.  Where use is so restricted, the Publisher must be informed with the final submission of the material. Please see our further guidance on the use of 3rd party materials. Please add any necessary acknowledgments to the typescript, preferably in the Acknowledgments section. Credit the source and copyright of photographs, figures, illustrations etc. in the accompanying captions.

Competing interests

Where appropriate a competing interests statement is required for accepted papers published in Palgrave Communications where authors have competing financial interests.

Data availability

All original articles should include a Data Availability statement after the References section. This should, wherever possible, include a link to and citation of any datasets analysed or generated in the study, when these are available in an appropriate public repository (suggestions of public repositories can be found here).

We recognise it is not always possible to share research data publicly, for instance when individual privacy could be compromised, and in such instances data availability should still be stated in the manuscript along with any conditions for access. Data Availability statements can take one of the following forms (or a combination of more than one if required for multiple datasets):

  1. The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available in the [NAME] repository, [PERSISTENT WEB LINK TO DATASETS]
  2. The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due [REASON WHY DATA ARE NOT PUBLIC] but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
  3. Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.
  4. All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article.

An example of a Data Availability statement can be found in the paper by Shutters et al. (2015).

While deposition of data in specialised public repositories (statement #1) is the preferred approach wherever possible, in principle all authors who generate or analyse research data are expected to comply with #2, which is the minimum journal policy.

The journal’s editorial team carries out appropriate checks to ascertain whether non-availability of data is for legitimate reasons. More details on the journal's policy on data availability are outlined here.

Figure legends

Figure legends begin with a brief title sentence for the whole figure and continue with a short description of what is shown in each panel in sequence and the symbols used; methodological details should be kept to a minimum as much as possible.


Please submit tables at the end of your text document (in Word or TeX/LaTeX, as appropriate). Tables that include statistical analysis of data should describe their standards of error analysis and ranges in a table legend.


Equations and mathematical expressions should be provided in the main text of the paper. Equations that are referred to in the text are identified by parenthetical numbers, such as (1), and are referred to in the manuscript as "equation (1)".

If your manuscript is or will be in .docx format and contains equations, you must follow the instructions below to make sure that your equations are editable when the file enters production.

If you have not yet composed your article, you can ensure that the equations in your .docx file remain editable in .doc by enabling "Compatibility Mode" before you begin. To do this, open a new document and save as Word 97-2003 (*.doc). Several features of Word 2007/10 will now be inactive, including the built-in equation editing tool. You can insert equations in one of the two ways listed below.

If you have already composed your article as .docx and used its built-in equation editing tool, your equations will become images when the file is saved down to .doc. To resolve this problem, re-key your equations in one of the two following ways.

  1. Use MathType to create the equation. MathType is the recommended method for creating equations.
  2. Go to Insert > Object > Microsoft Equation 3.0 and create the equation.

If, when saving your final document, you see a message saying "Equations will be converted to images," your equations are no longer editable and we will not be able to accept your file."

General figure guidelines

Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to publish any figures or illustrations that are protected by copyright, including figures published elsewhere and pictures taken by professional photographers. The journal cannot publish images downloaded from the internet without appropriate permission.

Figures should be numbered separately with Arabic numerals in the order of occurrence in the text of the manuscript. One- or two-column format figures are required. When appropriate, figures should include error bars. A description of the statistical treatment of error analysis should be included in the figure legend.

Figure lettering should be in a clear, sans-serif typeface (for example, Helvetica); the same typeface in the same font size should be used for all figures in a paper. Use symbol font for Greek letters. All display items should be on a white background, and should avoid excessive boxing, unnecessary colour, spurious decorative effects (such as three-dimensional 'skyscraper' histograms) and highly pixelated computer drawings. The vertical axis of histograms should not be truncated to exaggerate small differences. Labelling must be of sufficient size and contrast to be readable, even after appropriate reduction. The thinnest lines in the final figure should be no smaller than one point wide. Authors will see a proof that will include figures.

Figures divided into parts should be labelled with a lower-case bold a, b, and so on, in the same type size as used elsewhere in the figure. Lettering in figures should be in lower-case type, with only the first letter of each label capitalized. Units should have a single space between the number and the unit, and follow SI nomenclature (for example, ms rather than msec) or the nomenclature common to a particular field. Thousands should be separated by commas (1,000). Unusual units or abbreviations should be spelled out in full or defined in the legend. Scale bars should be used rather than magnification factors, with the length of the bar defined on the bar itself rather than in the legend. In legends, please use visual cues rather than verbal explanations such as "open red triangles".

Unnecessary figures should be avoided: data presented in small tables or histograms, for instance, can generally be stated briefly in the text instead. Figures should not contain more than one panel unless the parts are logically connected; each panel of a multipart figure should be sized so that the whole figure can be reduced by the same amount and reproduced at the smallest size at which essential details are visible. When a manuscript is accepted for publication, we will ask for high-resolution figure files. This information will be included in the acceptance letter. See below for details of digital image production and submission.

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Figures for peer review

Figures should be uploaded on submission via our online submission system, in one of our preferred formats. Please use the smallest file size that provides sufficient resolution for their content to be clearly legible, preferably less than 1 MB, so that referees do not have to download extremely large files.

Figures for publication

When possible, we prefer to use original digital figures to ensure the highest-quality reproduction in the journal. For optimal results, prepare figures to fit either one (87mm wide) or two columns (180mm wide). When creating and submitting digital files, please follow the guidelines below. Failure to do so, or to adhere to the following guidelines, can significantly delay publication of your work.

Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to publish any figures or illustrations that are protected by copyright, including figures published elsewhere and pictures taken by professional photographers. The journal cannot publish images downloaded from the internet without appropriate permission.

1. Line art, graphs, charts and schematics

All line art, graphs, charts and schematics should be supplied in vector format, such as EPS (preferred), and should be saved or exported as such directly from the application in which they were made.

They should not be saved as bitmaps, jpegs or other non-vector file types unless strictly necessary.

2. Photographic and bitmapped images

All photographic and bitmapped images should be supplied in TIFF (preferred) or JPEG format at 300 DPI if possible. A single column width measures 88 mm and a double column width measures 180 mm.

Please do not supply Word or Powerpoint files with placed images. Images can be supplied as RGB or CMYK (note: we will not convert image colour modes).

Please do not scan laser printouts of figures and send them to us as digital files. The dot pattern on a laser print often creates a moiré pattern when scanned.

Figures that do not meet these standards will not reproduce well and may delay publication until we receive high-resolution images.

Supplementary information

Any Supplementary Information should be submitted with the manuscript and will be sent to referees during peer review. It is published with the online version of accepted manuscripts. We request that authors avoid "data not shown" statements and instead include data necessary to evaluate the claims of the paper as Supplementary Information. Supplementary Information is not edited by Palgrave Communications, so authors should ensure that it is clearly and succinctly presented, and that the style and terminology conform to the rest of the paper. Authors should include the title of the manuscript and full author list on the first page.

Please note that the preferred way to share datasets associated with papers is via specialised public repositories, if one exists, or through a general data repository that can assure permanence and unique identification of deposited datasets. Please consult the journal’s data availability policy for further guidance.

The guidelines below detail the creation, citation and submission of Supplementary Information - publication may be delayed if these are not followed correctly. Please note that modification of Supplementary Information after the paper is published requires a formal correction, so authors are encouraged to check their Supplementary Information carefully before submitting the final version.

  1. Designate each item as Supplementary Table, Figure, Video, Audio, Note, Data, Discussion, Equations or Methods, as appropriate. Number Supplementary Tables and Figures as, for example, "Supplementary Table S1". This numbering should be separate from that used in tables and figures appearing in the main article. Supplementary Note or Methods should not be numbered; titles for these are optional.
  2. Refer to each piece of supplementary material at the appropriate point(s) in the main article. Be sure to include the word "Supplementary" each time one is mentioned. Please do not refer to individual panels of supplementary figures.
  3. Audio and video files should use a frame size no larger than 320 x 240 pixels.
  4. Images should be just large enough to view when the screen resolution is set to 640 x 480 pixels.
  5. Remember to include a brief title and legend (incorporated into the file to appear near the image) as part of every figure submitted, and a title as part of every table.
  6. File sizes should be as small as possible, with a maximum size of 10 MB, so that they can be downloaded quickly.
  7. With the exception of spreadsheet, audio and video files, please submit the Supplementary Information as a single combined PDF if possible (in the order figures, tables and text). If necessary, we can also accept any of these formats:

.txt - Plain ASCII text
.gif - GIF image
.html - HTML document
.doc - MS Word document
.jpg - JPEG image
.swf - Flash movie
.mov - QuickTime movie
.xls - MS Excel spreadsheet
.pdf - Adobe Acrobat file
.ppt - MS Power Point slide
.wav - Audio file

Further queries about submission and preparation of Supplementary Information should be directed to


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