Guidelines for Authors
Purpose of Guidelines Audience Profile Editorial Policy & Process Copyright & Privacy Writing Tips Style Guidelines Citation Format Reference Format Abstract Format Submission Format Final Checklist Online Resources
Purpose of Guidelines
To streamline the editorial process and ensure that all papers meet the needs of a diverse international audience, the editors of First Monday have developed Guidelines for Authors to assist you with the preparation of your submissions.
Although nearly all contributors are skilled writers, your attention to the Guidelines for Authors will help First Monday’s volunteer staff members spend less time editing your work and help you ensure that your message is communicated clearly to readers.
The Guidelines for Authors provide you with quick tips that emphasize the following:
- The electronic medium. Shorter sentences and paragraphs are best suited to electronic publications. Readers need text that is concise and useful rather than wordy and general; therefore, writing to express rather than impress will best promote your ideas. (Refer to Writing Tips for further information.)
- The First Monday audience. Since the First Monday audience is both diverse and international in scope, readers will better understand your message through simple explanations and less complex sentences. (Refer to Audience Profile for further information.)
- Consistency in style and format. The specified guidelines for style as well as abstract, citation, reference, and submission formats create a smoother editorial process for First Monday staff members. Consistency in these elements also minimizes readers’ confusion about the treatment of various elements. (Refer to Style Guidelines, Citation Format, Reference Format, Abstract Format, and Submission Format for further information.)
First Monday’s Guidelines for Authors are not absolute and certainly subject to variances. However, keeping them in mind helps the editors, and more importantly, helps your readers.Return to Menu
First Monday attracts a diverse international readership from over 200 countries.
When preparing documents for submission, consider the following:
- English is not the first language of many First Monday readers.
- A large percentage of First Monday readers are not a part of academia.
- Cultures, educational backgrounds, and fields of study vary greatly among First Monday readers.
The demographics of First Monday’s audience suggest that more readers will better understand your message through simple explanations and less complex sentences. Even an expert in your own industry or field of study would prefer to glean your meaning without sorting through overly complex writing.
Refer to the Writing Tips section for further information on creating concise text for a diverse international audience.Return to Menu
Editorial Policy & Process
First Monday publishes articles on all aspects of the Internet, including comments on trends and standards, technical issues, political and social implications of the Internet, and educational uses. Its focus is simply on interesting and novel ideas related to the history, current use, and future of the Internet.
The flow of a typical article, from author to publication (see diagram below, artwork by Melanie Gray):
- An author is contacted by an editor to write an article, or
- An author submits an article to an editor by electronic mail. The paper is forwarded by electronic mail to the Editorial Office in Chicago.
- The Editorial Office starts the peer review process by forwarding the article to First Monday’s editors and reviewers by electronic mail.
- Comments on the article are received in the Editorial Office and the author is asked to complete a revision.
- The revised paper is reviewed and accepted for publication.
- A proof version of an upcoming issue is prepared; authors and editors review the contents and make corrections as necessary.
- The issue is released to the public on the First Monday server on the first Monday of each month, and a notice of availability is circulated to subscribers of First Monday’s Tables of Contents Service.
Return to Menu
Copyright & Privacy
Authors submitting a paper to First Monday automatically agree to confer a limited license to First Monday if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication. This license allows First Monday to publish a manuscript in a given issue.
Authors have a choice of:
- Dedicating the article to the public domain. This allows anyone to make any use of the article at any time, including commercial use. A good way to do this is to use the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication Web form; see http://creativecommons.org/license/publicdomain-2?lang=en.
- Retaining some rights while allowing some use. For example, authors may decide to disallow commercial use without permission. Authors may also decide whether to allow users to make modifications (e.g. translations, adaptations) without permission. A good way to make these choices is to use a Creative Commons license.
- Go to http://creativecommons.org/license/.
- Choose and select license. Choose "generic" if you are in the U.S. and "text" for First Monday articles.
- What to do next you can then email the license html code to yourself. Do this, and then forward that email to First Monday’s editors. Put your name in the subject line of the email with your name and article title in the email.
Background information about Creative Commons licenses can be found at http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/.
- Retaining full rights, including translation and reproduction rights. Authors may use the statement:
© Author 2005 All Rights Reserved.
Authors may choose to use their own wording to reserve copyright. If you choose to retain full copyright, please add your copyright statement to the end of the article.
Authors submitting a paper to First Monday do so in the understanding that Internet publishing is both an opportunity and challenge. In this environment, authors and publishers do not always have the means to protect against unauthorized copying or editing of copyrightprotected works.
Copyright © First Monday 19962005, First Monday is a copyrighted compilation, and all rights are reserved worldwide. Permissions to reprint or use full issues of First Monday should be directed to Edward Valauskas, Chief Editor, email@example.com. Permissions to reprint or use individual articles should be directed to the author(s) of the article, unless permission is granted via a Creative Commons or other license.
Consider the following tips for creating concise text:
|Be Specific||Be specific about all references to time, quantity, etc.|
|Instead of using currently or recently, specify last spring. Often when now and currently are implied, these words can be deleted without loss of meaning.|
|Instead of saying several units were added, give a number or a rough estimate, such as almost 100.|
|Use Shorter Words||Choose short, familiar words whenever possible.|
|When more than 15 percent of your words (except verbs and proper nouns) are three or more syllables, readers work too hard to understand your message. To reduce larger words, consider these tips:|
|Delete Extra Words||Making your point without extraneous words helps readers clearly understand your message.|
|Use Shorter Sentences||Keep at least 75 percent of your sentences an average length of 1020 words. If a sentence is longer than three typed lines, consider shortening it.|
|Think of your sentence lengths as music: quick, quick, slow becomes short, short, longer. Pleasing variations help your readers pay attention.|
|Use Shorter Paragraphs||Keep at least 75 percent of your paragraphs one to three sentences long. If a paragraph is more than five typed lines, consider shortening it.|
|Avoid Cliches & Jargon||Choose original ways of writing your message, avoiding wellknown phrases such as, When push comes to shove and By the same token. These cliches and wellworn phrases will bore your readers.|
|Avoid the use of jargon whenever possible. This type of language or terminology will serve only to confuse readers who may be unfamiliar with your field of study.|
|Watch Use of It||Avoid starting a sentence or clause with It unless the pronoun has a clear antecedent.|
|Watch Use of There||Avoid starting sentences with There to prevent the use of "empty" introductory language.|
|Use Strong Verbs||Use "strong" verbs whenever possible. Forms of the verb to be (e.g. am, is, are, was, were) do not maintain readers’ interest.|
|Instead of saying, "The meeting was productive," consider, "The meeting generated good ideas for . . . . "|
|Favor the Active Voice||Favor the active voice over the passive voice to avoid vagueness unless the action is more important than the doer of the action.|
|Use of the imperative is a good technique for attracting readers and minimizing the use of passive voice constructions.|
|Ask So what?||After you've written your text, evaluate every sentence by asking yourself, Why is this particular piece of information important to my readers?|
|If you cannot answer the question adequately about a sentence, consider deleting it.|
For general Internet writing style and usage, authors are encouraged to consult Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age, edited by Constance Hale (San Francisco: HardWired, 1996).
For First Monday’s editorial purposes, please adhere to these style guidelines when referencing the following:
|Acronyms||Explain each and every first occurrence.|
|For example, state World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), allowing the use of WIPO later in the manuscript.|
Dates should appear in datemonthyear format, as in "The first issue of First Monday appeared on Monday, 6 May 1996."
|Electronic Mail||Refer to electronic mail as email or Email but not email or Email.|
|Internet||The Internet should be called the Internet, not the internet, the net, the Net, or the ’Net.|
|Numbers||The numbers zero through nine should be spelled out except when referring to data or measurements, such as "The figure measures 3 pixels by 2 pixels ...."|
|All whole numbers above nine should appear as Arabic numerals, such as 10, 11, 12,....|
|Ordinal numbers should be spelled out, as in twentieth.|
|A number at the start of a sentence should be spelled out, as in " Fourteen search engines were examined .... "|
|Percentages||Write percent, not %.|
|Person||Favor the use of the secondperson pronoun, you, over the indefinite thirdperson singular pronoun, one.|
|Do not assume that the pronoun for a thirdperson singular noun is him or he. To avoid awkward constructions like he/she, revise sentences.|
|Tables & Figures||Capitalize all references to your own tables and figures, such as "see Figure 1" or "see Table 2 below".|
|Always spell out the words Figure or Table in reference to illustrations in the course of the paper.|
|Use lower case for references to figures or tables in cited literature, such as (Kokomo, 1999, figure 8) or (Dolton, 1968, table 5).|
|Verb Tense||Choose a verb tense and maintain its use throughout the document. Carefully consider use of the future tense, as often it is unnecessary.|
|In discussions of the literature, use the past tense, as in "Valauskas (1990) remarked that ... ."|
|World Wide Web||Use the Web or the World Wide Web but not the web.|
Citations in the course of the manuscript should appear in the following ways:
|General Format||The last name of the author of cited work should appear in the paper, followed by the year of publication of the book, paper, report, or document, as in (Jones, 1990).|
|If there are several references to authors with the same surname, initials should be used to differentiate between the authors, as in (C. Jones, 1990; D. Jones, 1985).|
|Two Authors||For references containing two authors, list the authors in order of their appearance in the original publication, followed by date of publication, as in (Smith and Jones, 1986).|
|Three or More Authors||If a reference contains three or more authors, the citation should appear as (Rogers et al., 1980).|
|Publications in Press||Cite publications in press (i.e. those documents accepted for publication but not yet published) as (Rivers, in press).|
|Direct Quotations||Cite direct quotations as (Merrell, 1994, p. 98).|
|Indirect Quotations||A citation can refer to text written by one author embedded in the text of a book or paper written by another author, such as (Ransmayr in Rothenberg, 1995).|
|Multiple Quotations||Multiple citations can appear in whatever order the author deems relevant, such as (Shane and Cushing, 1991; Chalmers, 1990; Kendall and Wells, 1992).|
All citations in the course of the paper should be completely described in the Reference Format section. Papers listed in the References section that are not cited in the course of the paper will be removed. Citations to papers not found in References will be removed from the contents of the paper.Return to Menu
References should take the following formats:
Papers in Journals
Papers in Press
Papers in Edited Volumes
Papers in Conference Proceedings
Papers in Journals on the World Wide Web
World Wide Web Sites
Book by One Author
Books by More Than One Author
All papers submitted to First Monday for consideration must include an abstract, or a brief summary of a paper’s fundamental findings and conclusions. A wellwritten abstract will pique the interest of readers by succintly presenting that facts and ideas that build a paper.
Consider the following guidelines for creating effective, elegant abstracts that express main ideas and engage readers:
Submit one complete copy of your manuscript, including tables and figures, for review purposes to the Editorial Office and the Chief Editor.
Each manuscript should contain the following elements:
Title and Author(s)
Illustrations, Figures & Tables
Word Processed Submissions
Use the following checklist to ensure that your text is ready for submission to First Monday:
|My introductory text quickly engages readers’ interest because it does one of the following:|
|I have made my text as concise as possible while maintaining its logic and completeness. Each word I have included is essential. (Refer to Writing Tips for further information.)|
|I have formatted the text according to First Monday’s stated requirements. (Refer to Submission Format for further information.)|
|I have avoided dull language by using lively verbs where appropriate and specific examples with clear references to time, size, etc. (Refer to Writing Tips for further information.)|
|My entire document effectively meets the needs of First Monday’s diverse international audience. (Refer to Audience Profile for further information.)|
|My entire document is consistent with First Monday’s stated style guidelines. (Refer to Style Guidelines for further information.)|
|All of my references, bibliographic notes, endnotes, and/or footnotes are consistent throughout the document and meet First Monday’s stated requirements. (Refer to Citation Format and Reference Format for further information.)|
|I have included a succint abstract that clearly states my paper’s fundamental findings and conclusions. The abstract meets First Monday’0s stated requirements. (Refer to Abstract Format for further information.)|
|My text has been proofread carefully more than once to eliminate all inaccuracies in fact, word choice, spelling, and grammar. (Refer to Writing Tips for further information.)|
To assist you with the selfediting process, First Monday has compiled the following list of online resources on grammar and style. You may wish to consult these resources prior to submitting your manuscript for consideration.
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
Common Errors in English
Copyright © 19962005, First Monday