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Instructions for the Preparation of Papers

The Journal of Biosocial Science publishes original papers, short reports, and debates dealing with social aspects of human biology, including reproduction and its control, gerontology, ecology, genetics and applied psychology, with biological aspects of the social sciences, including sociology, social anthropology, and education, with social and biological elements of nutrition, growth and development, health and epidemiology, and with biosocial aspects of demography. Preference is given to material that is clearly interdisciplinary.


Submission of papers
Types of JBS articles
---- Full papers
---- Short reports
---- Debate articles
Style guidelines
---- General style
---- Title page
---- Summary
---- Tables
---- Figures
---- Equations
---- References
Conflicts of interest
Ethical approval

Submission of papers

Manuscripts should be submitted to JBS via ScholarOne. The following files should be uploaded to the Journal of Biosocial Science ScholarOne site:

  • A single Word file (Word 2010 or newer) comprising the text and tables (the Main Document). The tables should be placed after the text in the Main Document.
  • The figure files (separate file for each figure).

To submit your manuscript please use the manuscript submission system here.

Types of JBS articles

Full papers

There is no word limit for full papers, but papers should be succinct; verbosity is strongly discouraged.

A short (up to about 350 words), single-paragraph Summary should precede the text. Subsequent text is then generally divided into Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion and Reference sections, but deviations from this format are acceptable. Note that Appendices are not allowed. Section headings and subheadings are not numbered.

Short reports

Manuscripts for publication as Short Reports should be of an overall maximum length of 2000 words, including Summary and References. This is equivalent to approximately four printed pages of the Journal.

If tables and/or figures are included (maximum of one page), the text should be limited to 1500 words.

The report should have a short Summary (up to about 350 words), followed by a single text section that is not divided into Introduction, Results and Discussion sections (as in full papers).

Debate articles

A section is reserved for publishing comments (maximum 500 words) on papers appearing in previous issues. Authors whose papers are involved will be given the opportunity for simultaneous response, and the authors of the original comment will be invited to respond.

Style guidelines

General style

Papers should be written in English using British spelling (as in the Oxford Concise Dictionary ), except for quotations, which should follow the original.

The use of the past tense is preferred when describing methods and findings; the present tense is acceptable when generalizing findings.

Papers in poor English will not be accepted for peer review. Non-native English speakers should have their manuscripts checked by a native English speaker before submission. If this is not possible, Cambridge University Press recommends the language editing services here.

The following are not used in the journal:

  • Personal pronouns (I, we, our etc.)
  • Endnotes
  • Footnotes
  • Appendices
  • Supplementary material

Please add line numbers to the Main Document.

Title page

The Main Document should include a title page bearing the title of the paper, authors’ names, a brief address (not full postal address) for each co-author, name, full postal address and email address of the corresponding author and a short running heading (maximum 50 characters and spaces).


The Summary section should comprise a single paragraph (without subsections or subheadings) of up to around 350 words. This should summarize succinctly the aims and objectives, sample, methodology, results and conclusions of the study.


Tables should be in Word or Excel files embedded in the Word file. Those constructed in Word should have a new row of cells for each line of data; do not separate data within columns with paragraph returns.

Tables should be referred to in the text by Arabic numerals, e.g. Table 3. Each table should have its own self-explanatory title.

Tables should be placed after the text in the Main Document. Do not insert table positions instructions in the text, but ensure that each table is cited.


Simple charts can be sent in Excel. On acceptance, these will be edited by the journal office to produce a consistent style within the journal. Other figures can be sent as TIFF (minimum resolution 300 dpi) or EPS files, or PDFs with embedded fonts.

For more detailed guidance on preparing figures see the Cambridge Journal Artwork Guide .

The journal uses both colour and black/white/grey tones, but simple charts should preferably be in the latter.

Figures should not be enclosed by boxes. Do not use gridlines or upper and right-hand axes. The font for legends and labels should be san-serif (such as Arial) and the font size chosen such that this is approximately 9 point when reduced to the size when printed in the journal.

Figures captions should not be included with the figure files: please put the text for these at the end of the Main Document Word file.

Do not insert figure position instructions in the text, but ensure that each figure is cited.


Simple mathematical equations should be set by inserting special symbols in the text in Word. Complex equations should be set using Microsoft Equations Editor. Please ensure that single-letter variables are in italics.


References in the text should be given by author(s)’ name(s) and date in parentheses. Where several references are given together they should be in date order, separated by semicolons. When a paper written by two authors is cited, both names are given; for three or more authors only the first name is given, followed by ‘et al.’.

An alphabetical list of references should be given at the end of the text. Each journal article entry should include, in order: author(s)’ name(s) (in regular case [ not upper case], bold typeface), initials, year of publication in parentheses, article title, journal name in full (not abbreviated), volume number and first and last page numbers:

Kleinman, J.C., Pierre, M. B., Madans, J. H., Land, G. H. & Schramm, W. F. (1988) The effects of maternal smoking on foetal and infant mortality. American Journal of Epidemiology 127, 274–282.

If the paper is not yet assigned to a specific issue (incremental publishing) and the Digital Object Identifier (doi) is known, it can be given at the end of the citation entry:

Kleinman, J. C., Pierre, M. B., Madans, J. H., Land, G. H. & Schramm, W. F. The effects of maternal smoking on foetal and infant mortality. American Journal of Epidemiology doi: 10.1017/S0021932003001615.

For books and conference proceedings (try to avoid citing the latter in the main text: cite peer-reviewed primary publications instead), editor(s)’ names, publisher and place of publication should be included:

Pennington, R. L. (2002) Economic stratification and health among the Herero of Botswana. In Leonard, W. R. & Crawford, M. H. (eds) Human Biology of Pastoral Populations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 183–205.

Leonard, W. R. & Crawford, M. H. (eds) (2002) Human Biology of Pastoral Populations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

For references that include a URL add the date accessed.

Unpublished material may be referred to sparingly in the text, by giving the authors’ initials and names followed by ‘unpublished observations’ or ‘personal communication’.


An acknowledgments section may be included at the end of the main text.

Conflicts of interest

Public trust in the scientific process and the credibility of published articles depend in part on how transparently conflicts of interest are handled during the planning, implementation, writing, peer review, editing, and publication of scientific work. A conflict of interest exists when professional judgment concerning a primary interest (such as patients' welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain). Perceptions of conflict of interest are as important as actual conflicts of interest.

Please provide details of all known financial, professional and personal relationships with the potential to bias the work. Where no known conflicts of interest exist, please include the following statement: “None.”

Ethical approval

Papers should comply with the journal’s ethical guidelines:

Any measurement taken on humans must have (a) ethical clearance from an established body, usually within the country in which the study takes place and (b) consent of the individuals to take part in the research having been given full details of what the study involves. If the study involves infants or children consent of the parent/guardian is required. Subjects should also be free to leave the study at any time they wish.

A statement explaining how these guidelines were complied with should be included in the Methods section of the paper.

Last updated: September 7th 2016