Skip to content

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 for issues are the preceding 1 September and 1 April, respectively.

Authors should note that SMGJ’s open access policy does not require the author to pay publication fees of any type.

SMGJ will publish original (peer-reviewed) research articles covering conservation, collections research, audiences and learning, and exhibition and museum studies of about 2,000–7,000 words; book, conference or exhibition reviews and comment pieces of about 1,000–2,000 words; and a featured object or new acquisition piece of about 1,000 words.

SMGJ 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 Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx) or OpenDocument (.odt) format to [email protected].

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

  1. Editorial staff will review the article and will either accept or reject it depending on its perceived importance, originality, clarity and relevance to SMGJ.
  2. If accepted, the article will be sent for peer review. Peer reviewers are selected according to their familiarity with the article content. The SMGJ peer review process is double blind: the author and reviewers remain anonymous throughout.
  3. Subject to any necessary editorial changes, the article will either be accepted for publication; accepted on the condition that it 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.

Prior to publication, the author will receive a copy-edited proof of the article for approval, along with any editorial queries which need to be addressed. The final article will be published on the SMGJ website and will be downloadable from the same location or via affiliated gateway sites.

Please ensure that the article contains the following elements:
  • Article title
  • Author information (name, title, position(s), institution(s))
  • Author email address
  • Abstract (up to 250 words)
  • A short description of the article (40 words or less)
  • List of keywords (for search engine optimisation)
  • References
  • Acknowledgments
  • 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.

Dates and times

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 using a colon, e.g., 'The rocket was launched at 16:23:12.123 GMT'


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 list references according to the author-date (Harvard) style. In the text, references should be included in the style (Jones, 2010, pp 13–19) or ‘Jones (2010, pp 13–19) commented that...’. The references section should be included 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 throughout 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 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.

Film, video and multimedia

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) or Richard Nicholls (Assistant Editor)⁠—at [email protected].