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Ms mechanics

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This section tells you how about the mechanics of your ms, such as layout, length, headings, punctuation and headings.

 Ms ID & layout 

Each ms must have an ID.  For details, see ms ID.   See the section e-mail submission of ms for more details on how to format your e-mail messages.  More details on layout can be found in the example ms.  S&G does not accept submissions on article (if you find references to article submission in the guide, please ignore; the guide needs updating!)

 Layout basics 

This section contains important information on language, manuscript length, presentation, punctuation, headings and paragraphs, underlining, notes, abbreviations, spelling and so on.  Also look carefully at the section on good writing.


Major academic articles should normally be no longer than 9,000 words (including references, appendices, bio-statements, etc.).  Lengths of 4,000 to 6,000 are particularly welcome.  Articles for the R&C section should be no longer than 2,000 words (including all matter).  Largish figures and tables will print on one full page, and smallish ones on half a page.

On the cover sheet indicate the manuscript length in words and the number of additional pages of figures and tables (e.g., 3700 words + 2 full-page tables).

In any case, make sure that the length of your article suits your topic and the content; and remember that brevity is the soul of wit!  Write what is germane to the topic and omit the tangential.  If your article is too long for what it says, you will be asked to shorten it -- possibly to shorter than what would have been accepted had it been submitted with an appropriate length in the first place!  Both the editor and the reviewers are sensitive to and strict on length.

To put it a different way: imagine that we are charging you the price of a CD for every word you use and ten times that for every outside jargon word.  Think about your readers (the first of whom are the reviewers) -- their time is limited and they want to know, very early, that you realize this or else they will simply stop reading and send it back to me recommending an outright rejection.  To put it another way again: help your reviewers to provide positive evaluations and constructive feedback.  More comments on length can be found in the section on good writing.

 Language & presentation 

Articles should be written in American EnglishE-mail (for all drafts & the final).  E-mail copy should be sent as indicated in the section on e-mail, with the correct ms ID in the subject header.  Do not right justify.

Refer to your piece as an article, not as a paper, and to all pieces in S&G as articles.  If you quote from another article that uses the word paper, then use that term (quote the source exactly).


Use one space after, and no space before, commas, semi-colons, etc.  Use two spaces after a period (full stop).

 Check list 

Do not forget to send the checklist every time you send a draft or final version.

 Word processing 

Do not use any of the fancy formatting features of your word processor, such as running heads, automatic table of contents, centered page numbers, forced page breaks, and so on.   You should rarely need to use anything more than left and right margin settings.  Do not (right) justify.  Use Word 2003 or earlier for file format (not Word for Vista, docx).

 Headings & paragraphs 

Make ample use of short headings, sub-headings and minor headings where appropriate.  They should highlight the structure of your article visually as well as propositionally. All headings are in lower case, unless the word requires upper case, as in a proper noun, or following a colon.  Examples follow.

Main, level-one heading: Example

Main headings should be in lower case (except for initial letter of heading), with an extra double space above the heading (ordinary spacing below the heading).

Sub-headings: Level two

Sub-headings should be in lower case (except for initial letter of heading), set left, with an extra double space above (ordinary space below).  Paragraphs should normally contain at least two sentences.

Minor, level-three headings Use all lower case (except for initial letter of heading), underlined, indented as for a paragraph, with one extra space above, and text following on the same line.  Avoid headings at the bottom of pages with less than two lines of ordinary text following immediately on.

        Use an extra space between paragraphs.  The start of paragraphs should be indented (about 5 spaces).

Numbered, lettered or bulleted lists and sub-paragraphs should be done as follows:

  1. The previous sections in this Guide concerned layout of manuscripts, while this one provides more detail on paragraphing. Make sure vertical alignment is respected as in this example.
  2. The following two sections deal with:

a. how references and quotes are dealt with in the text; and
b. how the reference list at the end of the article is done.

   3.    You should use bullets for a list of short items, as in the following example:

  • This is the first bullet;
  • This is the second, or the middle, or the last but one bullet; and
  • This is -- yes you've guessed it -- the last bullet.

Use numbers for items that are sequentially related in some way (e.g., chronological).
Use letters either as sub-categories of numbered sequences or for items that are structurally related in some way (e.g., system parts).
Use bullets either as sub-categories of above or for items that constitute a simple collection of small elements.  Prefer bullets whenever numbers or letters can be dispensed with.

 Highlighting, underlining & notes 

To indicate very unusual or non-literal uses or forms of words, use quote (quotation) marks.  To emphasize words or expressions in the text, use underlining and italic (these will appear as italics in the printed article).  However, use these "highlighters" very sparingly!

Avoid, and do not underline, Latin terms, such as a priori, ad hoc, et al., i.e., e.g. and etc. Underline important or key technical words or expressions, but only on their first occurrence.

Do not use footnotes; keep end notes to a minimum.  Collect all notes together numerically at the end of the main text (before the references), under the sub-heading Notes.   In the text, number note markers consecutively in square brackets, such as, [7].  Do not use the notes function in Word; do numbers manually.

 Abbreviations, numbers, spelling, terminology 

Avoid unfamiliar abbreviations; (but within parentheses use common abbreviations, i.e., e.g., etc. where appropriate).  However, spell these out when in text: that is, for example and and so on.  Do not use periods (full stops) in common abbreviations: UN, UK, UNESCO, USA.  Acronyms are always spelled out on first occasion of use, with abbreviation following in parentheses.  Do not use contractions, such as don't, I'm, etc.  Use the USA for the US.

 Numbers .  In the text, for one to ten use full spelling; for higher numbers use figures, for example, 12, 48, 109. Exceptions are: units (5kHz), fractions (6.5), percentages (7%).  If there may be doubt about zero and upper case "O" (i.e., no context to distinguish), indicate with a slashed zero or letter O.


Use American spellings.  Spell  role-play  like that (rather than role play or roleplay), with no accent over the o.  Use a slash "/" or a hyphen "-" in simulation/gaming and similar expressions (with preference for the former); use a space where appropriate, such as gamed simulation.

Use the term computer-mediated simulation or computerized simulation for simulations involving human participants (other terms are computer-assisted, computer-based, computer-controlled, computer-dependent.  Use the term computer simulation for computer programs that operate with insignificant or no human participant interaction.

For explanations see "Human and computer involvement in simulation", David Crookall, Allan Martin, Danny Saunders, and Alan Coote.  Simulation & Gaming, 9 1986; vol. 17: pp. 345 - 375.

Use a  hyphen  in such adjectival structures as a decision-making game, a ready-to-use, computer-assisted simulation and problem-solving strategy, but not in nominal phrases such as decision making is a complex process and this is an example of effective problem solving.   Use hyphens with most compound expressions, such as non-usual, re-negotiate, post-test, pre-test, but no hyphen in the most common expressions, such us unusual, regain, overcome.   When in doubt insert a hyphen.  However, use multi-cultural and intercultural.