Notes to Contributors

Online submission
Submission is accepted only through this online portal. Submissions via email or any other method will not be accepted.

LSA membership
Since Language is a journal of the LSA, it is strongly encouraged that at least one author of any manuscript submitted for review should be a member of the LSA (although this will not be enforced as a requirement of submission). However, for any manuscript that appears in Language, it will be strictly enforced that at least one author is a current LSA member. (Book reviews and responses to papers in the Perspectives section are exempt from this requirement.)

The section to which you should submit your manuscript
Each contribution should be submitted to the appropriate section for review. More information about the different sections, as well as the kinds of manuscripts appropriate for each section, is available here. If you are uncertain about the appropriate section for your manuscript, contact the editor prior to submission. The editor will not change the section designation of any contribution without discussing it with the author(s).

Manuscript format/style
All manuscripts must be submitted as a single file in PDF format (excluding supplementary files that may be uploaded as separate files). Submissions in a different file format, or that consist of multiple files, may be returned to authors without review. Source files for manuscripts (e.g. .docx, .tex) should not be included in the materials provided for review.

Articles submitted for review do not have to follow the Language style sheet. In fact, it is best if articles that are still in the reviewing stage are formatted and presented in a way that makes it easy to read and understand. This means, for instance, keeping figures and tables where they most appropriately belong in the text, and using footnotes rather than endnotes. We encourage you to keep ease of reading in mind when preparing your manuscript for initial submission. Upon acceptance for publication, submissions will have to be revised to conform strictly to the Language style sheet, and will need to be provided both in PDF format and as a basic word processing file in .docx, .tex, .rtf, or a similar format.

When preparing your final manuscript, take particular notice of the requirements with regard to references. Unlike the APA format that requires only initial for first and middle names, the Language stylesheet requires full (customary) first names. If your references do not conform to the Language format, the manuscript will be returned to you for correction prior to copy editing.

Inclusive language
Language supports the LSAʼs guidelines with regard to inclusive language (available here), both in terms of general writing style and in terms of examples. Manuscripts that do not conform to these guidelines may be returned to authors for correction.

Supplemental files
Please see the Supplemental Materials Guide for LSA Publications for guidance on the inclusion of supplemental files.

Ensuring anonymous review
To ensure the integrity of the double anonymous peer-review system, every effort should be made to prevent the identity of the authors and reviewers from being known to each other. Please note that submitted manuscripts and supplementary materials are made available to reviewers exactly as prepared by their authors. Should the editorial team notice that a document has not been properly anonymized, the document will be returned to its author for anonymizing before any further editorial action will be taken. The primary responsibility for ensuring anonymity lies with authors and reviewers (specifically those reviewers who opt to upload documents as part of their review). Consult this page for the complete policy about anonymity and for specific guidelines about how to ensure anonymity.

Manuscript length
Submissions to the journal must not exceed 18,000 words of main text inclusive of notes, any charts and tables, and appendices, but excluding references. Submissions that exceed the word limit may be returned without comment or review. Submissions that are within the word limit but otherwise quite long (over 12,000 words) will be assessed by the editor for appropriateness of their length and may be subjected to a more stringent review process. If necessary, long manuscripts will be returned for revision before being sent out for review. Authors should also keep references within a reasonable limit, and should include only sources that are directly relevant to their argument. Upon acceptance, authors may be requested to shorten the list of references associated with the paper.

This policy is in place for several reasons: First, the journal's readership is not as inclined to read longer papers as much as shorter ones. This leads to longer papers not being cited as much, which is not a good result for the paper, its authors, the journal, the society, or the discipline. Second, overly long submissions are difficult to get reviewed. It is often difficult to find referees for a very long paper. And once referees are identified, it takes them longer to assess the paper. This in turn delays the decision-making process. Finally, longer papers are more expensive to produce. The primary cost of publishing a paper, either in print or online, involves copy-editing, composition, and proofreading, and an overly long paper takes more than a fair share of these. Since the publication of one really good long article may crowd out publication of two really good shorter articles, the choice for the editor is obvious.

Color printing
Although color printing is possible, we encourage authors to stick to grey scale images as far as possible. There are two reasons for this. First, many readers print articles for reading, and since few people have easy access to color printers, that means that any color images in your article are likely to be rendered in grey scale before reading. Designing images in grey scale rather than color will therefore increase the accessibility and readibility of your article. Secondly, there are additional costs associated with color printing the hard copies of Language, and these are costs that we have to pass on to authors. If you need to use color images (which are sometimes unavoidable), you will hence be asked to cover the costs associated with the color printing of the hard copies of the journal. The exact cost depends both on the number of images and their placement relevant to each other. The cost typically runs between $300 and $800. (Note: This applies specifically to those sections of the journal that is included in the printed version of the journal. There is no additional cost associated with color images for the online only sections of the journal.)

Presentation and intended audience
Language is a general journal intended to serve the membership of the LSA.  Thus, manuscripts should be made as readable as possible to non-specialists. We generally anticipate that readers will have some facility in all areas of linguistics, but papers that appear addressed to and understandable by only those in narrow specialties will likely be returned unreviewed with a recommendation that the paper be submitted to a more specialized journal.

Number of manuscripts that can be submitted to Language
At any given time, authors may have up to two papers in review, of which at least one must be co-authored. An author may not have two manuscripts of which they are the sole author in review simultaneously. 

Submitting to other journals at the same time
Following accepted ethical practice in academia, authors should not submit the same manuscript to more than one publication venue at a time (be that a different journal or an edited book). Papers submitted to Language and found to have been submitted elsewhere will be returned immediately without review, and the editorial team of the other publication will be alerted to the double submission. Papers submitted to Language at any stage of the review process, including “accepted for publication”, will be summarily rejected if they are found to be under consideration or previously published in another venue. Authors with submissions elsewhere that bear similarity to the submitted work are encouraged to send a copy along with the submission to Language.

Submission of previously published work
As a general policy, Language will not consider for publication papers that have been published elsewhere or that are currently under consideration for publication in a different venue. Papers submitted to Language that are found to be in violation of this policy will be summarily rejected, irrespective of the stage they are at in the review process. Submissions incorporating results that have been published elsewhere  such as in a working papers or conference proceedings volume, may be considered for publication in Language, provided that they build on those results and develop the ideas and evidence along new lines or in greater depth. Contact the editor beforehand to confirm whether a submission incorporating components of previously published research will be eligible for review. The final decision about whether a paper will be considered for review rests with the editor.

Data and referencing
Authors, associate editors, and referees are asked to pay special attention to referencing and to how data is handled in the submission. References should not only include the work that the author consulted, but if at all possible the original source as well.  Data sources should be clearly referenced and, if publicly available, cited as such, e.g. with a url, or appended to the article as supplementary material.  Where the data is not publicly available, (and there are often good reasons why it is not), authors should explain why it is not made available, typically in a footnote in the paper. Generally speaking, articles reporting results of empirical studies such as quantitative analyses or experimental results should allow replication by other researchers based upon the article's contents and reference, and possibly supplementary materials. Availability of field notes, for instance, clearly depends upon circumstances, but if such notes are available they should be referenced and made available. Authors of articles reporting judgments such as acceptability or meaning judgments should be prepared to further substantiate their judgments if called into question by referees or editors, and may anticipate the possibility of such questions for their most crucial examples. Authors reporting original field work should be careful to report the appropriate metadata: where and when data were collected, how it was collected (in detail), and characteristics of those it was collected from including age, education, gender, whether bi- or multilingual, etc., along with a report on the general conditions of the language and community.

Complete and accurate identifying information for all authors, along with their email addresses, must be provided with the initial submission of a manuscript. The corresponding author must also be clearly indicated. Changes to a manuscriptʼs authorship after the initial submission, including a change of corresponding author or a change in author order, must be requested in an email to the editors, clearly stating why the change is necessary. The email should contain complete contact and professional information for every author, including email address, institutional affiliation and position (e.g., PhD student, professor, postdoctoral researcher, etc.), as well as a clear indication of which authors are to be added to or removed from the manuscriptʼs record or what other changes are to be made. Insofar as it is possible, both authors who were already connected to the submission and authors to be added should follow up with an email to the editors confirming agreement with the request. The ultimate decision to make changes after the initial submission rests with the editors.

As of 2013, authors retain copyright of their work. The Copyright License Agreement is available for review in advance of submission and must be authorized by all authors if their manuscript is accepted for publication. If an author becomes decesased or otherwise incapacitated prior to having granted the LSA permission to publish their accepted manuscript by authorizing this agreement, it may be authorized on their behalf by the author’s estate or a legal proxy. If such authorization is not obtained, within a timeframe designated by the editors, and there are co-authors who all so agree, the article will be published with their name removed from the author list, in which case a note about their contribution may be added to the acknowledgment footnote. In all other cases, the manuscript will be removed from the production queue.

Book reviews
Manuscripts of reviews should be submitted to the Review Editor. Book reviews are solicited by the Review Editor and they must adhere as closely as possible to the Language style sheet on first submission. For more information, visit the Book Review page.