Instructions for Authors

These general guidelines for the preparation of text should be used whether you plan to submit an electronic file via the Web portal or to send paper or electronic copies to the editorial office (see below).

AJS format requirements


Readable copy for the purposes of peer review is set in a serif typeface (e.g., Times Roman or Courier) at a font no smaller than 11 points (we prefer 12). Manuscript text should be double spaced with margins of at least one inch all around the page. In addition to the main text, every submission must include (1) an abstract, (2) a reference list, and any (3) notes, (4) tables, or (5) figures mentioned in the text. A word count that includes text, notes, and references must be included in the cover letter. While AJS does not have any word-count limit, we encourage authors to be as concise as possible. Authors should note that many referees balk at reading papers larger than 10,000 words (i.e., 50 pages at 200 words per page). Please organize your paper so that the elements are gathered in this order: abstract, text, references, notes (if using endnotes rather than footnotes), figures, and tables. If your paper places figures and tables where they are discussed in the text rather than at the back of the manuscript, the AJS editorial board may decline to read it.

1. Abstract

Your abstract should be as close to 100 words as possible. It should include your research question or puzzle, identify your data, and give some indication of your findings. Your abstract is likely to be sent by email to potential readers: giving an accurate and efficient statement of your project is likely to increase your chances of enlisting their aid. Unfocused, verbose abstracts may make it harder to place your paper with referees. Papers without an abstract cannot be sent to readers for peer review.

2. References

AJS uses the author/date style of references, but it also allows notes for substantive commentary (see below). Papers without a reference list cannot be sent to readers for peer review.


  • Please be sure that your reference list is arranged in alphabetical order and that a comma precedes “and” in three-author works.
  • Every citation in the text or substantive notes must have a corresponding reference entry, and every publication listed in the reference list must be mentioned in the text or notes.
  • AJS prefers that web pages be referred to in notes rather than in the reference list. This allows authors to explain their use of the source, including date accessed.
  • For citations of works with three authors, AJS prints all the names at first appearance in text, but uses first author’s last name plus “et al.” thereafter. Citations of works by more than three authors will appear as first author’s last name plus “et al.” at all occurrences.
  • AJS requests that authors supply inclusive page numbers for book chapters.
  • In the reference list, we prefer complete author names (i.e., Bearman, Peter, James Moody, and Kate Stovel, not Bearman, P., J. Moody, and K. Stovel).
  • Please use headline style capitalization (capitalize all words except articles, coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions) and enclose article titles and book chapter titles in quotation marks. Please note that AJS uses the comma following the first, reversed name in a pair of authors:
Fernandez, Roberto, and Roger Gould. 1994. “A Dilemma of State Power: Brokerage and Influence in the National Health Policy Domain.” American Journal of Sociology 99 (6): 1455–91.
3. Notes

The first note (an acknowledgment note) should appear on the cover sheet of the manuscript. For the purposes of peer review, please mark this note with an asterisk and start your note numbering with “1” in the main text of the manuscript, with your substantive notes. Either footnotes or endnotes are acceptable.

4. Tables

Tables should be numbered consecutively as they appear in text. AJS strongly prefers that authors number discrete items separately (table 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) as opposed to grouping items together (tables 1, table 2a, 2b, 2c). Appendix tables are numbered table A1, A2, or table B1, B2, and so on. AJS frowns on the use of font in tables (i.e., bold or italic to mark a specific cell) and avoids the use of “panel” to refer to a specific group of table entries. AJS requires that you collect tables together at the back of your manuscript; do not place them where cited in the text.

5. Figures

As is the case for tables, number figures consecutively. Select your typeface carefully: thick or very ornate letters and numbers can be difficult to read; likewise, san serif characters may be too thin for clarity. Check copy for overlapping or misspelled words. If your paper is accepted for publication, your figure will have to fit on a 26 by 42 pica surface, so it may be helpful to keep that size in mind as you create your initial artwork.


  • AJS does not print color figures. Online-only content may include color in supplemental figures.
  • Generally, images will be crisper if you use text fill rather than gray scale for your figures.

Two Ways to Send Your Manuscript to AJS

Submitting a manuscript via the Web portal

Most papers are submitted to the AJS office via the Editorial Manager portal


The electronic submission process will work more smoothly if you know these facts in advance:


  1. You may submit your paper as a single electronic file, including all of your tables and figures, or you may submit several files (text, tables, figures). You will be required to submit a cover page separately from the manuscript so that your personal information is not part of the manuscript file.
  2. Although you will be asked to paste your abstract into a text window early in the process, you must still retain a copy of the abstract in the paper you submit.
  3. Although Editorial Manager accepts PDF files and LaTeX files, we will have the greatest flexibility in working with your paper if you assemble your file in Word. Before sending papers to readers, AJS adds a serial number and a confidentiality stamp to your manuscript, and these alterations are very time consuming and sometimes unsuccessful in PDF or LaTeX.
  4. If you are submitting a revised paper, don’t forget to include your revision memo (and remember, this must not reveal your identity to the referees).
  5. New submissions require a submission fee of $30. The form for submitting the fee is found on the log-in page for Editorial Manager. Graduate students submitting as sole authors are not required to pay this fee, but proof of status may be requested.

Submitting a manuscript without using the Web portal

The AJS office will also process your submission if you send it by email to Processing times for these submissions may be somewhat higher. We will also accept papers by mail, but we require an electronic copy of the paper in these cases as well (you may include a diskette). Send paper copy to


American Journal of Sociology
1155 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637


Please include your email address so that we are able to let you know that we received your submission.