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Information for Authors

Key points to consider before you submit 

Preparing your paper

Guidelines for preparing text and illustrations can be found in the box to the right of this page. Those apply to all GSL publications. Detail of page size, colour and Open Access costs, which are specific to this book series are below.


We welcome papers from authors in all countries, but if you are not fluent in English please seek assistance before submission. There are resources for authors here, some of which are written in other languages.


We expect all authors, reviewers and editors to comply with the Society’s Code of Publishing Ethics. Please ensure that you have read, understood and complied with this, particularly the sections on authors and sample collection. You will be asked to confirm this when you submit your paper.

Submission or publication elsewhere is not acceptable while your paper is under consideration for the Special Publication. Dual submission and publication are serious breaches of widely accepted publishing ethics.

The Society is now gathering information on the role of each author on submitted papers. We are using the CRediT taxonomy developed by CASRAI: This information is for internal use and is not currently published. 

The Society’s policy on corrections and retractions can be found in the CrossMark Policy.

Publishing agreement and terms of use

If your paper is accepted you (or your employer) will be required to grant the Society an exclusive licence to publish and accept the terms and conditions for use of your final PDF.
  • You can reuse your figures and data without permission
  • You can post your original version at any time
  • You can post the refereed manuscript version 12 months after publication
  • You can pay to make your paper Open Access (see below)
  • You cannot post the final PDF or proofs at any time unless you have paid for Open Access

More information on the licence can be found in the Copyright Policy.

More information on reusing your material can be found on the permissions page.


If you have not already done so, we encourage you to register for an ORCID iD. You can use your iD to log into our submission system. More information can be found on


All Special Publications use Online Submission. The Society is currently transitioning to a new system. There is a list of which site each volume is using when you click on ‘Submit a Paper’.

Before submitting a manuscript, it is recommended that you have the following to hand:
  • all authors' first, middle names/initials and last names
  • all authors' email addresses
  • the role of each contributor in preparing the paper (see:
  • manuscript files in Word or RTF formats (Latex is acceptable in new, but not old site)
  • tables in XLS, CSV or DOC formats
  • figures/images no greater than 5 MB in PDF format (TIF, EPS or JPG formats are acceptable; see note below)
  • supplementary data files
  • covering letter (which the referees will see)
  • abstracts of any related papers that you have in press or in review

It is a good idea to put all your files in one folder (you can upload a Zip file to the new site).

We recommend that images are initially submitted as PDF files because these provide optimum reproduction for the merged pdf for the review process. EPS, TIFF or JPG files are also acceptable, but those images sometimes appear less clear in the merged pdf. Note that there is a file-size limit of 5 MB in the new system to keep the merged PDFs manageable for editing and review. If your files are bigger, please make smaller versions for review and we will request the high-resolution files off-system when your paper is accepted.

The submission package will guide you through the processes for submitting your files and confirmation/approval. The final stage can be slow, so please be prepared to save and revisit.

Papers should be arranged as follows:
  • Title: brief and specific; followed by name(s) and address(es) of authors(including email address of corresponding author)
  • Abstract: this must be intelligible without reference to the paper, and should not exceed 200 words. Figures are not allowed in the Abstract
  • Main body of paper: subdivided into 1st, 2nd and 3rd order headings; omit heading 'Introduction'
  • Acknowledgements and funding
  • Appendices: see Supplementary Data
  • References: in full; authors' names must be keyed as capitals and lower case
  • Tables
  • Figure captions
  • Figures (5 MB maximum for new system) in separate files

Page format

Special Publication papers look very much like journal articles. The authors are listed at the start of the paper; they have abstracts and a reference list at the end of each chapter. The main text is in double column format. Final printed page size: 248 mm deep by 172 mm wide. Maximum final size of illustrations: 204 mm deep by 135 mm wide. Single column width: 65 mm. Number of words per page: 800. It is not possible with this page size to have captions at the side of figures.

Colour charges

Special Publications authors are entitled to three free colour figures in each article. Additional colour figures in the print version can be included for £100 per figure. This offer applies only to Special Publications and not to other books series or journals.

You will be sent a link to a payment form when your paper is accepted.

If you wish to have fold-out figures, please contact the Commissioning Editor

If you have funds for publication costs for your paper, we would be grateful if you could pay for all your figures to be printed in colour. This will help to reduce the price of the volume. If you are able to contribute £5000, your organization’s logo can appear on the back cover (please contact the Commissioning Editor to discuss).

You can have any number of colour figures in the online version at no cost provided we can use the same file as for printing in black and white (i.e. we can just switch the colour off in the print version).

Open Access publishing

Authors may choose to make their article fully Open Access (sometimes called ‘Gold Open Access’) on payment of an Article Processing Charge. For Special Publications the APC is £1600/$3200. Articles where the first author or at least half the authors are Fellows of the Geological Society are entitled to a £250 discount. There is a 50% discount for articles where all the authors are at a research institution in a developing country. More information on the Society’s policy can be found at

You can select Open Access when you submit your article online. You do not need to pay until after your article is accepted. There will be a link to the payment authorization form in the acceptance letter.

If you require Open Access but cannot pay the APC, the Geological Society also supports ‘Green Open Access’, where you can post your final post-refereed version of the article to a website or repository 12 months after the online publication date.

Authors must not post a typeset proof or final version to any website or repository unless the article is fully Open Access.

There is no discount for whole books being Open Access.

Citation Data for Special Publications

GSL Special Publications and most other books published by the Society from 2008 onwards (with incomplete coverage from 2005) will be included in the Thomson Reuters Book Citation Index or the Conference Proceedings Citation Index, which are components of Web of Science. Citation counts for individual articles will be available, and the counts will be included in an author’s h-index. TMS and IAVCEI Special Publications are also eligible for the BkCI. GSL Special Publications are also included in Elsevier's Scopus and citation counts can also be found through Google Scholar.

Refereeing and editing

The volume editors will send your paper to at least two referees. The volume editors will handle the papers through the reviewing and scientific editing procedure. We expect the reviewing and editing procedure to take about five to six months - but this is dependent upon referees and schedules of the scientific editors.


Discussions on papers in GSL books can be submitted to an appropriate GSL journal. The editorial board of the journal will be responsible for review and acceptance. Discussions should add something to the debate and not be just an additional observation.


Once the first batch of papers is finalized and the Commissioning Editor considers the book ready to start production, a Production Editor will be assigned. The Production Editor will write to the authors notifying them of when proofs are due and if there are any problems or costs to be incurred. The paper will be copyedited and then sent to an external typesetter. You will be instructed on how to access your proofs. We do not generally send revised proofs to authors. When all the papers for the book have been published online, we will paginate them and they will move to the main part of the Special Publications Lyell site. We will also print them as a hardback book.

What do authors receive?

Corresponding authors receive a free internet-quality PDF, which they can forward to their co-author, and the option to purchase paper offprints.

Shortly after publication, all authors of each paper will receive a special order form allowing them to buy up to two copies of the print book at a heavily discounted price, usually 75% off the full list price. Further copies can be purchased at the GSL Fellows’ rate, usually half the full list price – although please note there will be no extra discount for authors that are GSL members.

We are not able to provide free books for authors in these volumes, because of the considerable costs involved and also due to the number of authors involved in each book. We strive to keep our production costs as low as possible, so that we can make the books available to individuals at reasonable prices.

Keeping in touch

GSL produces a regular author email newsletter (about 6 times each year). If you would like to receive this, please contact our marketing department ( You do not have to be a published author to sign up. You can unsubscribe at any time.