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Guidelines for Manuscript Preparation

The following brief guidelines are designed to optimize the publication of your work. These guidelines include the essential basic elements of manuscript preparation and should be read by all authors.

Authors who are interested in additional information should review the Author Guidelines (Extended)

Authors who are working in TeX or LaTeX should review the Guidelines for Authors Preparing Manuscript Files in LaTeX.

NOTE: Edits, additions, and corrections must be completed during copyediting review. This review stage is your final opportunity to make changes to the content. The Press does not allow content rewriting during page proof review.

Author responsibilities

It is the author’s responsibility to prepare the manuscript according to these guidelines.

We reserve the right to return materials to the author for revision if they are not prepared correctly.

To ensure successful publication, you must meet all deadlines provided to you by your editor.

It is the author’s responsibility to obtain print, electronic, and world-language permissions and to submit these with the final manuscript. You must obtain permission for all material owned by others; this includes illustrations, tables, prose passages exceeding 300 words, and any poems or song lyrics, regardless of length. Contact your acquisitions assistant for details of this process.

Volume editors are responsible for ensuring the compliance of contributing authors (see the Guidelines for Volume Editors).

Manuscript preparation

Contact your acquisitions assistant with any manuscript preparation questions. We are happy to advise you! Following these guidelines will help ensure a high-quality and efficient publication process.

A manuscript consists of the following elements:

  • Front matter (title page, table of contents and, if applicable, acknowledgments, dedication, preface, and introduction).
  • Chapters (including any tables and figure captions); see the Art Guidelines and Figure Preparation PDF.
  • Notes, bibliographies, and/or reference lists.

When preparing your manuscript, please follow these basic guidelines:

  • The text must be in one of the major word-processing programs, preferably Microsoft Word. Do not submit PDFs of your text; send only word-processing files.
  • Submit each chapter as a separate file.
  • Do not format your manuscript pages to look like book pages. Keep the formatting as simple as possible. Use Times New Roman, 12-point type, double line spacing, and 1.5 inch margins.
  • Use no more than three levels of subheadings. Do not place superscript note numbers in headings.
  • Indent the first line of any paragraph after an extract, list, or other such element if you intend for it to be considered a new paragraph.
  • Use block quotations for any quoted material exceeding 7 lines or any quotations containing multiple paragraphs. Bear in mind that all quoted poetry or song lyrics require permission, regardless of length.
  • If you are including mathematical equations in Word, we strongly recommend the use of MathType, which is available as a 30-day trial and for purchase at a discount for academics. Microsoft's equation tool is acceptable but less robust.
  • If you are submitting figures:
    • Place callouts (such as “see figure 1.1”) within the paragraph to indicate the approximate location of figures.
    • Include the figure number and figure caption at the end of the chapter.
    • All figures should be submitted as separate, clearly named files, in the original source format; photos should be saved at a resolution of 300 dpi or higher.

Notes, bibliographies, and reference lists

Refer to the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. If you follow a different style guide, please indicate this to your editor. The MIT Press strongly recommends that authors follow the Chicago Manual: it offers user-friendly comprehensive examples and includes a bibliography style, unlike many other style guides. However, what’s most important is that you choose a publication style and follow it consistently.

If you are using author-date citations with a reference list:

  • Ensure that all citations in the reference list are complete and styled consistently.
  • Check that all in-text citations have corresponding citations in the reference list.

Submitting poorly prepared citations can significantly delay the publication of your work.

Reference managers

Authors are welcome to use EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero, or any other reference manager that allows for export of formatted references to Microsoft Word or other word processing program.

The MIT Press requires authors to submit reference lists in an accepted document format such as Word's .doc or .docx; that is, we cannot export your reference list from the reference manager for you. Most reference managers have a simple method for exporting or citing your references. The Press prefers the Chicago Manual style for references; please export to this style unless your editor advises otherwise.

Once you have submitted your reference list in your manuscript, the document is considered final and will go through an extensive process for publication. If you need to make an essential change or add a reference, please do so during copyedit review. Do not re-export your entire reference list at this point! If you have a few new references to add or substitute, export just those references as a new Word document and include in your copyedit review.


  • Use Word’s table feature, not text separated by tabs or graphic versions of tables.
  • Table captions should remain with the tables; do not create a separate table caption list.
  • Do not use nested tables; that is, a table cell may not contain another table.
  • See the Author Guidelines Full Version for additional information if you are creating many and/or complicated tables.

URL citations

Follow the latest edition of the Chicago Manual in your notes and references. URLs should be styled as follows:

Any URLs you provide should be checked to make sure they are accurate and current when you submit your manuscript.

Final submission

Once your manuscript has been submitted, we consider it ready for editing. Do not send revised materials after this time, and do not continue revising your electronic files. 

Additional Guidelines for Authors, Editors, and Contributors