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Instructions for authors


International Organization (IO) seeks to publish the best and most innovative scholarly manuscripts on international relations. A study that does not emphasize any international (or cross-border) phenomenon as a major cause or effect falls outside the journal’s domain. IO features articles that contribute in some way to the improvement of general knowledge or empirical theory defined broadly. Although we may publish a manuscript designed to propose a solution to a current world problem, we prefer to publish those that also apply theoretical ideas, contribute empirical analyses or address general questions debated in the scholarly community.

The editorial team sends submissions, except letters to the editor, to reviewers before making a decision to publish. Approximately 5 percent of manuscripts submitted to IO are ultimately published by the journal, while approximately 40 percent are judged by the editors as not ready or appropriate for external review. The standards of IO’s reviewers are high. Before submitting their work, authors are strongly encouraged to seek advice and detailed comments from colleagues.

Articles take three main forms. First, longer research articles (14,000 words, maximum) present new theoretical arguments and/or empirical evidence that constitute a substantial advance of knowledge.

Second, research notes (maximum 8,000 words) must be of similar importance and potential impact but likely with a somewhat narrower objective. For example, research notes can present new empirical evaluations of important existing theoretical propositions. Or, research notes could focus on conceptual and theoretical contributions without providing new empirical evidence. Research notes may also provide new descriptive analyses of important trends that call into question current understandings and/or generate new questions for future research, such as the rise or decline in the number of and intensity of wars or long-term trends in (some aspect of) globalization.

Third, review essays survey new developments in a particular area of study. Review essays might be based on books but could also draw on scholarship that has been published in articles, including in areas not traditionally covered by IO but that are nonetheless important and relevant for an IO audience. Prospective authors can either submit the entire manuscript for review or they can submit a ten-page, double-spaced proposal detailing the body of research to be covered and the main themes to be explored. Promising proposals will be sent to two referees. On the basis of their reviews, which will be sent anonymously to the author, the editors will write a decision letter.

Special Issue Proposals

IO invites the submission of innovative proposals for symposia and special issues on international relations defined broadly. A symposium consists of two to five articles on a common subject, published as a set in the same issue. Papers submitted together for consideration as a symposium are all judged by the same referees. Special issues, in contrast, are designed and edited by guest editors and include an introductory or concluding essay written by the editors. The goals of a special issue are to focus attention on promising ideas and important subjects in international relations defined broadly, and to advance the critique and development of economic or political theory in some way.

Proposals are submitted to the editors and should include the following elements:

  • A preliminary draft of the introductory or concluding essay by the guest editor or editors, from 4,000 to 8,000 words in length. In the essay the editors should present the main argument, ideas, or debate to be developed by the volume. The most convincing essay will emphasize the most promising original contributions of the project as a whole, and its potential to influence theory and other scholarship. The planned volume should be differentiated briefly from the closest rival works already available or in preparation. The essay should also identify each contributor and preliminary paper title, and explain in a paragraph or two how each article is expected to contribute to the issue’s purposes.
  • A list of proposed papers, including paper titles, authors, and abstracts.
  • A curriculum vitae for each editor, and optionally for other contributors.

Please contact the editorial office for more information.


IO does not evaluate works already published elsewhere or currently under review by another publisher. Our guideline is that a manuscript is clearly not original enough if as much as half of the ideas or evidence has been published elsewhere. If a question of overlap arises, please send a copy of the earlier work at the time of submission and ask the editors for a determination. As a partial exception, a study that is promised to a future edited volume can normally be published by IO if the volume will appear at least six months after the article’s publication in IO and the author has arranged for the IO editor’s agreement at the time of submission.


IO will not review a manuscript containing more than 14,000 words, including notes and references. Please provide a word count in your submission. Research notes should be no longer than 8,000 words. Supplemental appendices do not count toward the word limit. Supplemental appendices should only contain information that is referenced in the main text of the manuscript. Additional analyses should be clearly labeled.


Authors wishing to submit manuscripts to IO should go to This website will guide authors through the submission procedure. Please direct any questions to the managing editor at

Manuscript Preparation

Manuscripts submitted to IO must conform to the following guidelines:

1. Omit self-references after the title page that reveal your identity. You can modestly cite your own work without using pronouns that reveal your identity. Do not use references to “Author” when these are likely to reveal your identity.

2. Include figures and tables as part of the main manuscript.

3. Number the pages consecutively.

4. Submit an abstract, word count, and acknowledgments separately from the manuscript. Do not include any identifying information in the abstract.

We recommend using short author-date footnotes rather than parenthetical references because any paper accepted for publication will be required to use this style. However, we do not require IO-style citations at the submission stage as long as the citations conform to a generally accepted standard. The reference list should contain the complete facts of publication or availability for each source cited. Include only those sources specifically cited in the text. As you may know, recent research has shown that there is a gender citation gap. We ask you to be mindful of this when preparing your submission. If your manuscript is accepted for publication, we will provide further guidance regarding how to prepare it for copy-editing.

Overleaf is a free online tool for writing and submitting scholarly manuscripts. An International Organization article template is available in the tool, which allows authors to easily comply with the journal’s formatting guidelines. Overleaf is based on LaTeX but includes a rich text mode: an author writing would need to have some knowledge of LaTeX in order to use it but could collaborate through the tool with an author who is not a LaTeX expert. Other benefits of Overleaf include: an intuitive interface; version control and a typeset preview of the article; and collaboration tools (sharing with co-authors; highlighting and commenting on sections of the text).

Overleaf provides support for authors using the tool. At the end of the process, you will be guided to submit files into the IO Editorial Manager system.


Offer your readers vigorous, concise prose in the active voice. Choose vivid verbs and expressions that clearly communicate your meaning. Avoid using academic, “insider” jargon. Use the full name of a person, organization, program, or agency when mentioning it for the first time in your manuscript, and provide titles and explanatory phrases when appropriate. To enhance accessibility, avoid overusing abbreviations, initialisms, and acronyms. Use gender-neutral language whenever possible. Double-check the spelling of non-English words, and include special characters such as accents and umlauts.


Weak or extraneous prose detracts from the strength of your argument. Scrutinize your draft for potential deletions, such as expressions, sentences, and paragraphs whose absence would not harm the argument or would help it to stand out more prominently. Prime candidates are complex constructions where simpler phrasing would do, distractions from the main line of argument, and excessive repetition. Rare is the manuscript that cannot be improved with tightening. The following classics offer much concrete advice: On Writing Well by William Zinsser, The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White, and The Careful Writer by Theodore M. Bernstein.

Data Availabilty

At the time of final submission of accepted papers, authors of papers using quantitative data must provide the data set and accompanying command files to reproduce tables presented in the paper and any other specifications referenced in it (for example, results verbally described in the main text or in footnotes). Data sets and supporting files should be uploaded to the IO Dataverse. Quantitative results will be replicated by IO staff and the paper will not begin the publication process until all results are confirmed. You do not need to send quantitative data until your article is accepted.

Data and accompanying files should be uploaded to the IO Dataverse in an entry that includes the article title and abstract. IO’s Dataverse can be found at

Upon saving the data in Dataverse, a citation record is generated that includes a DOI (a permanent identifier).

For example:

Brown, Joseph M. 2020, “Replication Data for: Correlates of Warning: Territory, Democracy, and Casualty Aversion in Terrorist tactics,”, Harvard Dataverse, V1

At the end of the article, before the references, the author should include a Data Availability Statement that refers to the DOI of the data. For example:

Data Availability Statement: The data that support the findings of this study are openly available in Harvard Dataverse at

For more information about Data Availability Statements and further examples, see this page on Cambridge Core.

Conflicts of Interest

Should any author (including coauthors) submitting a paper to IO believe they have a conflict of interest (COI) with any editor that they, the author, fear may compromise the objectivity of the review process, the author has the right to disclose this conflict and to request that the submission be handled under the alternate review process, procedures for which are laid out in the Policy on Conflicts of Interest for IO Editorial Team. A mechanism for reporting a potential COI is built into the Editorial Manager submission process; only the IO managing editor will have access to the reports, and will forward them to the IO Ethics Committee. Under rules of strict confidentiality, the Ethics Committee may request additional information about the potential COI from any editor or the submitting author. The submitting author may request that the editor not be informed about the alternative review process request. In reviewing the information provided and the potential COI, the Ethics Committee will determine whether a COI exists and recommend appropriate action to the IO Executive Committee.

IO Ethics Committee: Professor Beth Simmons (Chair), Professor Songying Fang, Professor David Lake


You may contact the editorial office at:

International Organization
Walsh School of Foreign Service
Georgetown University
Intercultural Center 702
37th and O Streets NW
Washington, DC 20057