Submission guidelines


The Science Museum Group Journal (SMGJ) is an open-access forum to present academic research relevant to the collections and practice of the Science Museum Group (SMG) and the wider international science museum community. SMGJ is published biannually in spring and autumn, and the submission deadlines are the preceding 1st September for the Spring issue and 1st April for the Autumn issue. 

SMGJ is a platinum open access journal. This means that authors do not pay publication fees of any kind and the Journal is also free to readers at the point of publication with no limits or embargoes. SMGJ therefore meets the highest requirement for publication of research supported by UKRI and Wellcome Trust funding and is compliant with European Plan S criteria for open access publishing.

Journal scope

SMGJ will publish original (peer reviewed) research articles covering conservation, collections research, audiences and learning, and exhibition and museum studies. We welcome longer research articles of between 7000 and 9000 words; shorter discussion papers and reflections on research and practice of 3000–5000 words; and book, conference or exhibition reviews and comment pieces of about 1000–2000 words. We also welcome articles focusing on specific objects or collections (of 2000–3000) and would be interested to discuss innovative submissions such as photo-essays or graphic articles.

As an online-only journal we can feature almost limitless images at high resolution (assuming the relevant permissions are obtained). We can also feature video, audio and multimedia and we encourage authors to make maximum use of this facility.

articles are published under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence. Copyright in the content of all articles is retained by the author. See our full copyright statement.

Opinions expressed by authors of works published in SMGJ do not necessarily represent those held by SMG. Where articles are subject to peer review, review shall be undertaken by an appropriate specialist. The decision of the Editor is final.

How to submit

To make a submission, the article should be sent, along with any relevant supporting files, in Word 97-2003 (.doc) or OpenDocument (.odt) format to or

The Journal considers images to be an integral element of article content and, therefore, a part of the submission sent to peer reviewers. Image files should be sent as JPEG or TIFF. If final images are not available at the point of submission, low-resolution images (or at minimum a word description of the intended image) should be provided, preferably with figure numbers and with positioning indicated within the text.

Once an article has been submitted, the editorial process comprises four stages:

  1. Editorial staff will review the article, either accepting or rejecting the article depending on its perceived importance, originality, clarity and relevance to SMGJ.

  2. If accepted, the article is sent for peer review. Peer reviewers are selected according to their familiarity with the article content. The SMGJ peer review process is double blind, where the author and reviewers remain anonymous throughout.

  3. Subject to any necessary editorial changes, the article is either accepted for publication, accepted on the condition that the article is revised according to peer review recommendations, or rejected. Following a rejection, the author may resubmit the article with amendments; however, it should be noted that this will not guarantee acceptance.

  4. Following acceptance, the article will be subject to a rigorous copy-editing process.

Prior to publication, the author will receive a copy edited PDF proof of the article for approval. The final article will be published on the SMGJ website and will be downloadable from the same location or via affiliated gateway sites such as DOAJ, EBSCO, Mendeley, Academia.

Required submission elements

  • Article title

  • Author information (name, title, position(s), institution(s))

  • Author e-mail address(es)

  • Abstract (up to 250 words)

  • A short description of the article (40 words or less)

  • List of keywords (for search engine optimisation)

  • References (as an alphabetised end list)

  • Footnotes (as a numbered end list separate to the reference end list)
  • Acknowledgments (if required)

  • List of image ID numbers (if using Science & Society Picture Library images)

  • Multimedia (including video/audio transcripts and any associated copyright information)

An author may also wish to submit a portrait photograph and list of research interests for use in the ‘about the author’ text. Authors must declare all relevant competing interests for consideration during the review process. A competing interest is anything that interferes with or could reasonably be perceived as interfering with the full and objective presentation or publication of research or non-research articles submitted to the journal, or the peer review and editorial decision-making processes.

Style guide


Unless they are commonly used examples such as UK, DNA, NASA, sets of initials should be spelled out in full at the first inclusion, followed by the abbreviation in brackets. For example, ‘Council for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE)’. The abbreviation may then be used thereafter.


Titles and headings should only have an initial capital on the first word.


British date form should be used, i.e. day-month-year. For a range of dates repeat the decade digit, e.g. 1971–76. Use the form 1980s, rather than 80s or eighties.

Times should be written numerically in the 24-hour clock, e.g. 09.00, 13.30.


Use single quotation marks, with double quotation marks for a quote within a quote.


British English should be used throughout. Use -ise rather than -ize endings. Single foreign words and short phrases, unless they are proper names, should be italicised.


Links may be used within the article text; however, the link should state the link destination, e.g. ‘see database provided by The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds.’ Links should always be written in a form that suffers no loss of meaning if the link itself is removed. Full URLs should only be included in the references section.


Lists may be numbered using lower-case roman numerals or set as bullet points; lists within lists should be lettered, then numbered with Arabic numerals.


Spell out numbers up to and including ten, numerals for 11 upwards. Use numerals if numbers span 11.


Please note that the Journal requires footnotes and references to be presented in two SEPARATE lists, each of which appears at the END of the article. The Journal provides a technical linking system which allows the reader to toggle between the footnote number and expanded footnote in the end list, and between the short, bracketed reference within the text and the full reference in the reference end list. In each case the reader can then click back to the correct position in the text so that their reading experience is uninterrupted.

The following definitions may be useful to authors:


Footnotes are used as an alternative to long explanatory notes that can be distracting to readers. They can be used for additional information or explanatory notes that might be too digressive for the main text. They may also be used for encouragement of further reading, e.g. 1. for more information on this subject, see Taub, L, 2011, ‘Introduction: reengaging with instruments’, Isis 102, pp 689–696. In the Journal, footnotes are listed at the end of the article in a section marked Footnotes.


A reference is a citation of a text that has been used in the creation of an article. Its primary purpose is to allow people who read such work to examine the author's sources, either for validity or to learn more about the subject. A reference section contains all of the works and only those works cited by the author(s) in the main text. In the Journal, full references are listed alphabetically at the end of the article in a section marked References.


A bibliography or 'further reading' section may sometimes be included in addition to references. A bibliography contains works not cited by the author but used as background reading or listed as potentially useful to the reader. In the Journal, a bibliography will appear following the main text and will not be linked to any point of the main text.


Please provide a shortened reference at the appropriate point in the text according to the author-date (Harvard) style. For example, (Jones, 2010, pp 13–19) or ‘Jones (2010, pp 13–19) commented that...’. An alphabetised list of full references should be provided as an end list at the foot of the article, within which the titles of journals, books, etc. must be given in full. Please note that if the author wishes to make a reference to the same work several times within the article we encourage the author to include specific page numbers so that each instance of the reference is distinct. Any reference to archive material should be included as a footnote rather than a reference (e.g. Science Museum file 8877, memo Gilbert to Sherwood Taylor, 5.5.1951)

Example references:

Journal article

Shapin, S, 2012, ‘The ivory tower: the history of a figure of speech and its cultural uses’, The British Journal for the History of Science, 45/1, pp 1–27, DOI 10.123456789 (accessed 20 July 2012 [if online])

Book contribution

Crouch, T, 1994, ‘Learning from the past’, in Glaser, J R and Zenetou, A A (eds), Gender Perspectives: Essays on Women in Museums (Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press), pp 128–31

Entire book

McLynn, F, 1992, Hearts of Darkness: The European Exploration of Africa (London: Hutchinson)

Conference contribution

McAuley, S, 1994, ‘A child’s eye view of museums’, paper presented at the 7th Annual Conference of the Visitor Studies Association (Raleigh, NC: Visitor Studies Association)


European Space Agency: Missions, Earth Observation: ENVISAT, (accessed 3 July 2008)


Please list all footnotes at section end or at the end of the article.


Please use only one typeface and size. All text should be ranged left and unjustified.


SMGJ offers authors unique free access to the Science & Society Picture Library (SSPL) and seeks to make use of the wide range of open-access images located within the collection. In order to browse the library, authors should register for a free account on the SSPL website. They can then use the ‘lightbox’ feature to store favoured images and email the image details to the editorial staff detailed above at the time of article submission.

Authors are encouraged to use any imagery/multimedia from this library for the purposes of their submission; however, not all images on this site are the copyright of SSPL and free for use. Editorial staff can advise and assist with permissions where images are held by SSPL but the rights are not owned by SSPL. If it is essential to use a copyrighted image/multimedia object from a source other than SSPL, SSPL can arrange license for such use.  It is the responsibility of the contributor to secure such permissions and provide the correct attribution. Copies of all correspondence and the permissions themselves should be submitted along with the article.

There is a limited budget to assist with acquiring permissions for images not owned by SSPL or SMG. The editorial team are available to help negotiate these permissions or support their purchase (within reason).


Any video or audio files not already hosted online at the time of submission must not exceed 15 minutes in length or 20GB file size. All files must be accompanied by a full transcript. Video files should be submitted in the format AVI, MPG4, MP4, MOV or WMV. Audio files should be submitted in the format WAV or MP3. Any image files sourced by the author should be submitted in the format JPEG or TIFF and, where possible, for quality purposes, individual file sizes should be no less than 1MB.

Contact us

If you have any queries about submitting an article you can contact the editorial team - Kate Steiner (Editor) at or Richard Nicholls (Assistant Editor) at