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Submissions should be made electronically through this website. Once submitted, the author can track the submission and communicate with the editors via the online journal management system.
Please ensure that you consider the following guidelines when preparing your manuscript. Failure to do so may delay processing your submission.
A major strength of Secularism and Nonreligion lies in its interdisciplinary approach to the study of secularism, secularity, and the variety of forms of nonreligion that constitute its object(s) of investigation. The journal welcomes original, high-quality empirical and descriptive studies, from diverse contexts and a variety of methodological approaches across the social sciences, to complement those already published in the journal. The editors also prioritize critical, theoretical, historical, and even philosophical contributions, as well as critical commentary on the broader field.
The word limit for Research Articles is 8,500 words, including referencing and citation. Manuscripts submitted for review should be formatted in line with the Harvard guidelines. Information on manuscript preparation follows.
To ensure blind peer review, please only list the title and abstract on the submitted manuscript file.
The names of all authors, affiliations, contact details, biography (optional) and the corresponding author details must be completed online as part of the submission process. All authors must fit within the journal's definition of an author, available here.
Author names should include a forename and a surname. Forenames cannot include only initials.
The affiliation should ideally include ‘Department, Institution, City, Country’. However only the Institution and Country are mandatory.
Research articles must have the main text prefaced by an abstract of no more than 250 words summarising the main arguments and conclusions of the article. This must have the heading ‘Abstract’ and be easily identified from the start of the main text.
A list of up to six key words may be placed below the abstract (optional).
The Abstract and Keywords should also be added to the metadata when making the initial online submission.
The body of the submission should be structured in a logical and easy to follow manner. A clear introduction section should be given that allows non-specialists in the subject an understanding of the publication and a background of the issue(s) involved. Methods, results, discussion and conclusion sections may then follow to clearly detail the information and research presented.
Up to three level headings may be present and must be clearly identifiable using different font sizes, bold or italics. We suggest using Headings 1, 2 and 3 in MS-Word’s ‘Style’ section.
Supplementary Files (optional)
Any supplementary/additional files that should link to the main publication must be listed, with a corresponding number, title and option description. Ideally, the supplementary files are also cited in the main text.
e.g. Supplementary file 1: Appendix. Scientific data related to the experiments.
Note: additional files will not be typeset so they must be provided in their final form. They will be assigned a DOI and linked to from the publication.
If data, structured methods or code used in the research project have been made openly available, a statement should be added to inform the reader how/where to access these files. This should include the repository location and the DOI linking to it. Read our reproducibility guide for more information on best practice and maximising the impact of your open data.
If data used in the research project has not been made available, a statement confirming this should be added, along with reasoning why.
The journal's data policy is available on the Editorial Policies page.
Ethics and consent (if applicable)
Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Where applicable, studies must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee and the authors should include a statement within the article text detailing this approval, including the name of the ethics committee and reference number of the approval. The identity of the research subject(s) should be anonymised whenever possible. For research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study must be obtained from participants (or their legal guardian) and added to this statement. If a study involving human subjects/tissue/data was exempt from requiring ethical approval, a confirmation statement from the relevant body should be included within the submission.
Experiments using animals must follow national standards of care. For further information, click here.
Any acknowledgements must be headed and in a separate paragraph, placed after the main text but before the reference list.
Funding Information (if applicable)
Should the research have received a funding grant then the grant provider and grant number should be detailed.
If any of the authors have any competing interests then these must be declared. A short paragraph should be placed before the references. Guidelines for competing interests can be found here. If there are no competing interests to declare then the following statement should be present: The author(s) has/have no competing interests to declare.
A sentence or a short paragraph detailing the roles that each author held to contribute to the authorship of the submission. Individuals listed must fit within the definition of an author, as per our authorship guidelines.
All references cited within the submission must be listed at the end of the main text file.
The author is responsible for obtaining all permissions required prior to submission of the manuscript. Permission and owner details should be mentioned for all third-party content included in the submission or used in the research.
If a method or tool is introduced in the study, including software, questionnaires, and scales, the license this is available under and any requirement for permission for use should be stated. If an existing method or tool is used in the research, it is the author's responsibility to check the license and obtain the necessary permissions. Statements confirming that permission was granted should be included in the Materials and Methods section.
For the submission title:
Capitalise all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and subordinate conjunctions (i.e. as, because, although). Use lowercase for all articles, coordinate conjunctions and prepositions.
Headings within the main text:
First level headings in the text should follow the same rule as the main title.
For lower-level subheadings, only capitalise first letter and proper nouns.
Headings should be under 75 characters.
Submissions must be made in English. Authors are welcome to use American or British spellings as long as they are used consistently throughout the whole of the submission.
When referring to proper nouns and normal institutional titles, the official, original spelling must be used.
American or English grammar rules may be used as long as they are used consistently and match the spelling format (see above). For instance, you may use a serial comma or not.
The font used should be commonly available and in an easily readable size. This may be changed during the typesetting process.
Underlined text should be avoided whenever possible.
Bold or italicised text to emphasise a point are permitted, although should be restricted to minimal occurrences to maximise their efficiency.
Use bullet points to denote a list without hierarchy or order of value. If the list indicates a specific sequence then a numbered list must be used.
Lists should be used sparingly to maximise their impact.
Use single quotation marks except for quotes within another speech, in which case double quotation marks are used.
Quotations that are longer than three lines in length must be in an indented paragraph separate from the main text.
The standard, non-italicised font must be used for all quotes.
It must be clear from the text and/or citation where the quote is sourced. If quoting from material that is under copyright then permission will need to be obtained from the copyright holder.
Acronyms & Abbreviations
With abbreviations, the crucial goal is to ensure that the reader – particularly one who may not be fully familiar with the topic or context being addressed – is able to follow along. Spell out almost all acronyms on first use, indicating the acronym in parentheses immediately thereafter. Use the acronym for all subsequent references.
A number of abbreviations are so common that they do not require the full text on the first instance. Examples of these can be found here.
Abbreviations should usually be in capital letters without full stops.
Common examples from Latin origin do not follow this rule and should be lower case and can include full stops.
Use of footnotes/endnotes
Use endnotes rather than footnotes (we refer to these as ‘Notes’ in the online publication). These will appear at the end of the main text, before ‘References’.
All notes should be used only where crucial clarifying information needs to be conveyed.
Avoid using notes for purposes of referencing, with in-text citations used instead. If in-text citations cannot be used, a source can be cited as part of a note.
Please insert the endnote marker after the end punctuation.
Symbols are permitted within the main text and datasets as long as they are commonly in use or have explanatory definition on their first usage.
Hyphenation, em and en dashes
There is no set rule on the use of hyphenation between words, as long as they are consistently used.
Em dashes should be used sparingly. If they are present, they should denote emphasis, change of thought or interruption to the main sentence and can replace commas, parentheses, colons or semicolons.
En dashes can be used to replace ‘to’ when indicating a range. No space should surround the dash.
For numbers zero to nine please spell the whole words. Please use figures for numbers 10 or higher.
We are happy for authors to use either words or figures to represent large whole figures (i.e. one million or 1,000,000) as long as the usage is consistent throughout the text.
If the sentence includes a series of numbers then figures must be used in each instance.
If the number appears as part of a dataset, in conjunction with a symbol or as part of a table then the figure must be used.
If a sentence starts with a number it must be spelt, or the sentence should be re-written so that it no longer starts with the number.
Do not use a comma for a decimal place.
Numbers that are less than zero must have ‘0’ precede the decimal point.
Units of measurement
Symbols following a figure to denote a unit of measurement must be taken from the latest SI brochure. See http://www.bipm.org/utils/common/pdf/si_brochure_8_en.pdf for the full brochure.
Formulae must be proofed carefully by the author. Editors will not edit formulae. If special software has been used to create formulae, the way it is laid out is the way they will appear in the publication.
Figures, including graphs and diagrams, must be professionally and clearly presented. If a figure is not easy to understand or does not appear to be of a suitable quality, the editor may ask to re-render or omit it.
All figures must be cited within the main text, in consecutive order using Arabic numerals (e.g. Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.).
Each figure must have an accompanying descriptive main title. This should clearly and concisely summarise the content and/or use of the figure image. A short additional figure legend is optional to offer a further description.
Figure titles and legends should be placed within the text document, either after the paragraph of their first citation, or as a list after the references.
The source of the image should be included, along with any relevant copyright information and a statement of authorisation (if needed).
If your figure file includes text then please present the font as Ariel, Helvetica, or Verdana. This will mean that it matches the typeset text.
NOTE: All figures must be uploaded separately as supplementary files during the submission process, if possible in colour and at a resolution of at least 300dpi. Each file should not be more than 20MB. Standard formats accepted are: JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, EPS. For line drawings, please provide the original vector file (e.g. .ai, or .eps).
Tables must be created using a word processor's table function, not tabbed text.
Tables should be included in the manuscript. The final layout will place the tables as close to their first citation as possible.
All tables must be cited within the main text, and numbered with Arabic numerals in consecutive order (e.g. Table 1, Table 2, etc.).
Each table must have an accompanying descriptive title. This should clearly and concisely summarise the content and/or use of the table. A short additional table legend is optional to offer a further description of the table. The table title and legend should be placed underneath the table.
Tables should not include:
NOTE: If there are more columns than can fit on a single page, then the table will be placed horizontally on the page. If it still can't fit horizontally on a page, the table will be broken into two.
This journal uses the Harvard system for references.
Every use of information from other sources must be cited in the text so that it is clear that external material has been used.
If the author is already mentioned in the main text then the year should follow the name within parenthesis.
If the author name is not mentioned in the main text then the surname and year should be inserted, in parenthesis, after the relevant text. Multiple citations should be separated by semi-colon and follow alphabetical order.
If three or fewer authors are cited from the same citation then all should be listed. If four or more authors are part of the citation then ‘et al.’ should follow the first author name.
If citations are used from the same author and the same year, then a lowercase letter, starting from ‘a’, should be placed after the year.
If specific pages are being cited then the page number should follow the year, after a colon.
For publications authored and published by organisations, use the short form of the organisation’s name or its acronym in lieu of the full name.
Please do not include URLs in parenthetical citations, but rather cite the author or page title and include all details, including the URL, in the reference list.
All citations must be listed at the end of the text file, in alphabetical order of authors’ surnames.
All reading materials should be included in ‘References’ – works which have not been cited within the main text, but which the author wishes to share with the reader, must be cited as additional information in endnotes explaining the relevance of the work. This will ensure that all works within the reference list are cited within the text.
NOTE: If multiple works by the same author are being listed, please re-type the author’s name out for each entry, rather than using a long dash.
NOTE: DOIs should be included for all reference entries, where possible.
This journal uses the Harvard system – see below for examples of how to format:
Author, A. (year, date). Article title. Newspaper. Retrieved from www.URL
McMahon, S. (2010, July 19). Fund new Victorian era. Herald Sun. Retrieved from http://www.heraldsun.com.au/
Newspaper articles (print):
Author, A. (year, date). Article title. Newspaper. pp. page number
Parker, K. (2008, December 3). Plea for languages. Koori Mail, pp. 19-20
As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms. If a submission is rejected or withdrawn prior to publication, all rights return to the author(s):
Submitting to the journal implicitly confirms that all named authors and rights holders have agreed to the above terms of publication. It is the submitting author's responsibility to ensure all authors and relevant institutional bodies have given their agreement at the point of submission.
Note: some institutions require authors to seek written approval in relation to the terms of publication. Should this be required, authors can request a separate licence agreement document from the editorial team (e.g. authors who are Crown employees).
Articles accepted for publication will be asked to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) to cover publication costs. This can normally be sourced from your funder or institution. This fee covers all publication costs (editorial processes; web hosting; indexing; marketing; archiving; DOI registration etc) and ensures that all of the content is fully open access. This approach maximises the potential readership of publications and allows the journal to be run in a sustainable way. For a breakdown of costs, please click here.
Many institutions have funds available to support open access publications by their staff, therefore we ask that you contact the relevant body to cover the APC.
If you do not know about your institution’s policy on open access funding, please contact your departmental/faculty administrators and institution library, as funds may be available to you.
If published, you will receive an APC request email along with information on how payment can be arranged.
Please note the APC increased on 1 September 2021 to £700. This is to account for the fact that the journal waives the APC for roughly 40% of our articles every year. Any papers submitted after 1 September 2021 will be subject to the new APC on publication - but as always, we invite authors without access to APC funds to apply for a waiver below.
Tax will be added to all fees charged, when applicable (includes VAT/Sales tax or any other applicable taxes).
If you do not have funds available to pay such fees then we can offer a discount or full waiver to authors whose institutions/funders will not cover the fee. Please contact us should you need to discuss waiver options or the APC in general. Editorial decisions are made independently from the ability to pay the APC.
Waiver applications should be made before or during submission. Please: