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Information for Authors

Key points | Submission | Page format | Colour charges | Open access | Discussions | Thematic Sets | Refereeing and editing | Production | Offprints | JGS Early Career Award | Keeping in touch

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 OA costs, which are specific to this journal 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 to help ESL authors, 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 JGS. 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 here.  

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
Find more information on the licence on our copyright page

More information on reusing your material can be found in the permissions section


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 and many others. More information is available on the ORCID website.


All submissions to the Journal should be made online via Full instructions and a tutorial can be found within that site.

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 or Latex formats (please add line numbers)
  • tables in XLS, CSV or DOC formats
  • figures/images, no greater than 5MB in PDF format (TIF, EPS or JPG formats are acceptable; see note on file size and type)
  • supplementary data files
  • Cover letter - should include;
    • highlights of the advancement the submission brings to the field, and
    • confirmation that the conclusions have wider importance beyond the studies geographical context.
  • abstracts of any related papers that you have in press
It is a good idea to put all your files in one folder. You can upload a ZIP file to the system and it will be automatically unpacked.

Note that there is a file-size limit of 5 MB 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. We recommend images are initially submitted as PDF files as these tend to reproduce well in the merged pdf for the review process. EPS, TIFF or JPG files are also acceptable but images sometimes do not appear very clear in the merged pdf that is produced for peer review. Higher resolution images (as TIF, EPS, JPG or PDF) greater than 5MB can be provided after acceptance

The submission package will guide you through the processes for submitting your files and confirmation/approval.

Papers should normally be expected to be 14 typeset pages for a Research Article. However, papers that are deemed to provide substantial contribution to the field, or papers considering large data sets will be given an extension on a case-by-case basis (after refereeing and before acceptance). There are c. 1000 words on a printed page. Don't forget to make an allowance for figures, tables and section headings and allow a quarter page for the title, authors and affiliations. Please use line numbering in your article.

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 (allow 54 per page)
  • Tables
  • Figure captions
  • Figures (5 MB maximum) in separate files
  • You can upload a ZIP file and the system will automatically unpack it

Page format

The main text is in double column format. Final printed page size: 297 mm deep by 210 mm wide. Maximum final size of illustrations: 254 mm deep by 176 mm wide. Single column width: 84 mm. Mid-width figures (caption at side): 120 mm. Number of words per page 1000.

Colour charges

Colour printing incurs extra costs, and like most publishers, we pass these costs to authors in order to keep the subscription price as low as possible. Society subscription prices are much lower than those of many commercial publishers.

For JGS the cost to authors is £500 for the first colour figure within a paper, then £100 for subsequent colour figures within the same paper.

The Journal has a small annual budget to help authors with colour costs. The budget is controlled by the Chief Editor, and the application should be made through the editor handling your paper. The appropriate time for such an application is after the paper has been accepted subject to revision. Please contact the Production Editor if you have any queries.

You can have colour in the online version at no cost provided that we can use the same file as for printing in black and white (so that 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 Journal of the Geological Society 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 on the Open Access page.

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.


Discussions on papers that have already appeared in the Journal or appropriate Society books are acceptable. Discussions should be succinct, written in an objective and scientific manner, and ideally about 1000 words in length, exclusive of title, authors, affiliations and references. Discussions should be submitted online as described above. Please ensure that you include your own address and all the references that you cite, even if they were in the original paper.

Discussions should add something to the debate and not be just an additional observation.

Thematic Sets

The Journal can accept one thematic set of papers per volume. These would not be thematic issues: other papers would also appear in that issue. They are included in the normal page budget and do not lead to increased subscription prices.

There is a page limit of 80 pages for each set and ideally the set would be made up of shorter contributions of 6 to 8 pages. Good examples of thematic sets are:
The subject of the set must be of interest to a broad international audience and the science must be of the highest quality. All the papers must be acceptable to the Journal in their own right.

Thematic sets have 'guest editors' who work closely with one of the regular editors. The guest editors would be expected to write a short introduction to the set. They will be acknowledged at the end of each paper along with the regular editor.

If you would like to submit a proposal for a thematic set in JGS, we require the following information:
  • Names and contact details of the guest editors
  • A list of papers, including title and all authors
  • A brief explanation of its aims and how it will enhance the Journal
  • Details of the meeting that generated the set (if appropriate)
  • Your planned schedule for submission, refereeing and editing

Please send this information by email to the Production Editor, who will circulate it to the Editorial Board after seeking the expert opinion of an internal or external reviewer. If abstracts are available, we would like to see those too.

Instructions for editing thematic sets will be provided once the proposal is accepted. The review procedure for the proposal will take about four to six weeks.

Refereeing and editing

The scientific editor will send your paper to at least two referees. The scientific editor will handle the papers through the reviewing and scientific editing procedure and approve the finalised script for publication. We expect the reviewing and editing procedure to take about two to three months in the case of a paper requiring little revision. We are of course dependent on the goodwill of unpaid reviewers to achieve these targets.

You can keep track of this process through the online submissions package.


The Production Editor will write to the corresponding author notifying them of when the paper is due to be published. The paper will be copyedited and then sent to an external typesetter. Proofs will be placed on the Society's FTP site and you will be given full instructions on how to access them. We do not generally send revised proofs to the author.

The production process takes 6–8 weeks from acceptance to publication.


You will be emailed instructions on how to download a PDF of your paper from the online version of the Journal. Paper offprints can be ordered; instructions will be sent with the proof email.

JGS Early Career Award

Starting in 2017, the Journal will make an award for the best paper from an Early Career author. The prize is two years free membership of the Society and a Special Publication. This award has previously been called the Young Author award, but from 2017, the criteria has been update to reflect the changing demographic of our authors. 

The prize is two years free membership of the Society and a Special Publication.

Criteria for the award are as follows.

  • The author should be within three years of earning their PhD
  • Single or lead author. If the latter a declaration from their supervisor will be sought stating that the candidate led the work.
  • Have had no more than three first author publications
  • Exciting topic set in a general context - not parochial.
  • Should be a novel approach or interpretation.
  • Discussion and development of ideas, not just a collection of results/observations.
  • Clear conclusions of general relevance.
  • Clearly and concisely written - not over-long.
  • Logical structure and argument.
  • Relevant and clear diagrams.

If you wish your paper to be considered for this award you will be asked to notify the Production Editor when the manuscript is accepted, Please note that excessive corrections at proof stage will disqualify the paper.

See past winners on the JGS Early Career award

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.