Reason Papers invites authors to submit high quality manuscripts on topics related to normative studies. For a detailed discussion of Reason Papers’s mission, read the Editorial Essay from our Fall 2011 issue (PDF, 7 pp.).

I. General policies
1. Reason Papers does not accept multiply submitted manuscripts. Authors should indicate in the letter accompanying their submission that manuscripts under submission to Reason Papers are not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

2. Reason Papers holds the copyright in all manuscripts accepted for publication in the journal, but authors have unlimited rights to reprint in any form after a manuscript is published in Reason Papers (i.e., after the manuscript has gone live on our website), as long as Reason Papers is cited in all reprints as the original place of publication. Citations to Reason Papers should include the journal’s name, the volume number and date of publication, and ideally, the page numbers of the published version of the manuscript. We prefer that authors wait until after their manuscripts have been published with us before reprinting them, but are willing to consider exceptions to that rule on an ad hoc basis, as long as Reason Papers is indicated as the original place of publication (as above).

3. As suggested in our Fall 2011 Editorial Essay, Reason Papers is “a forum for inquiry and debate across a wide spectrum of views rather than…the instrument of any one ideology, party, or camp” (p. 9). The journal is therefore not “edited for conformity with any particular philosophical or ideological perspective” (p. 8). We invite well-reasoned and well-argued manuscripts from any point of view that can be supported by a good argument. Since we don’t see the journal’s mission as incompatible with polemics, we have no objection to manuscripts that are polemical in the literal sense of that term: “A controversy or argument, esp. one that is a refutation of or an attack upon a specified opinion or doctrine” (American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition, s.v., “polemic”). Though we insist on extensive peer- and editorial review, our aim is always to press for the best manuscript we think we can get, never to to put words in an unwilling author’s mouth.

We reserve the right, however, to reject any manuscript (or press for substantive modifications in one) if it contains demonstrably false, unsupported, defamatory, or fallacious claims, or if its language is gratuitously insulting or inflammatory. We do not take this policy to proscribe an author’s making adverse moral judgments, however intense, on anything legitimately susceptible of moral judgment (including arguments, persons, policies, practices, ideologies, and institutions). We insist, however, that authors observe the distinction between the making of adverse moral judgments and the commission of ad hominem fallacies. We also insist that moral judgments be tailored to the evidence presented for them.

The distinction between adverse moral judgment and ad hominem fallacies is made clear in most textbooks of critical reasoning or informal logic. In general, we rely on the discussion of definitions, fallacies, and inductive logic in David Kelley’s The Art of Reasoning, Third Edition (New York: Norton, 1998).

4. Reason Papers appears on our website twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

II. Types of submissions and types of editorial review
Submissions to Reason Papers fall into one of six categories discussed below–Articles, Symposium Essays, Discussion Notes, Review Essays, Book Reviews, and Afterwords.

1. Articles
An Article is an essay making a substantive, original, and free-standing contribution to normative studies. Articles should be 6,500 to 9,000 words long (inclusive of footnotes). All Articles should be submitted in a format appropriate to blind review. As of June 2015, our review policy has changed, and is now as follows:

Peer review will be undertaken at the discretion of the Co-Editors, in anonymous form; authors will receive copies of referees’ comments. Peer review may also be undertaken if requested at the time of submission by an author concerned to satisfy the demands of the job market. However, Symposium contributions, Discussion Notes, Review Essays, Book Reviews, and Afterwords will typically not be subject to peer review (including peer review upon request). In all cases, the Editors (including the Book/Film Review Editor) may reject a given submission as inappropriate, or suggest revisions. In the case of a disagreement between the Book/Film Review Editor and the Co-Editors, the Co-Editors will have the last word. Authors should in most cases expect extensive editorial queries and be prepared to entertain extensive requests for revision (including substantive revision).

All manuscripts also undergo extensive review by the Editors (including, in the case of book and film reviews, the Book/Film Review Editor) whether or not they are sent out for anonymous peer review; authors should therefore be prepared to respond to both substantive and editorial comments on their manuscript after acceptance. Authors receiving verdicts of Conditional Acceptance or Revise & Resubmit on their manuscript should understand that such manuscripts must be revised to meet the Editors’ satisfaction. The Editors will on occasion invite critics–typically, critics whose work is discussed in the Article–to respond in the Discussion Notes section to Articles published in prior volumes of the journal. In such cases, the author of the original Article will be allowed the final rejoinder in Reason Papers.

Information for Article manuscript reviewers: If you are reviewing an Article manuscript for us, you have our heartfelt gratitude. Please try your best to get your report back to us within three months of receiving the manuscript. If you find that you can’t get it to us within that time, please let us know as soon as you know that you can’t. A referee report should clearly and expliclitly indicate whether the manuscript under review is to be Accepted, Conditionally Accepted, requires a Revise & Resubmit, or should be Rejected. The report should provide a justification for its verdict that can be sent verbatim to the author–a paragraph at minimum, ideally a page or two. Reports indicating Conditional Acceptance should suggest what the reviewer takes to be the conditions for acceptance. Reports indicating Revise & Resubmit should suggest what revisions are necessary and why. Reports indicating Rejection should explain why the manuscript falls below the standards required for publication. Whatever the verdict, referees should avoid writing reports that must be edited for civility or confidentiality before they can be sent to the author whose manuscript is under review.

2. Symposium Essays
A Symposium Essay is a contribution to a topic chosen in advance by the Editors. Reason Papers Symposia take a variety of forms, including invited submission, and open (refereed) submission. Symposium Essays range anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 words; author responses to an “Author Meets Critics” Symposium will, of course, be longer. Symposium Essays undergo extensive editorial review prior to publication. Authors of Symposium Essays should be prepared to respond to both substantive and editorial queries on their manuscript.

3. Discussion Notes
A Discussion Note is a brief essay responding in a focused way to a specific claim or argument in a previously published text. We prefer to receive Discussion Notes responding to items previously published in Reason Papers, but will consider Discussion Notes responding to items published elsewhere. Discussion Notes should be no longer (or not much longer) than 4,000 words. Manuscripts substantially longer than 4,000 words will automatically be considered Articles, and be evaluated accordingly. If a Discussion Note responds to an item first published in Reason Papers, the author of the original item will be allowed the final rejoinder. If a Discussion Note responds to an item first published elsewhere, the author of the Discussion Note will be allowed the final rejoinder. (The basic principle is that the initiator of a discussion-thread in Reason Papers is allowed the final rejoinder in Reason Papers.) Discussion-threads in Reason Papers are confined to a single “cycle,” i.e., a published item, followed by a critic’s response to that item, followed by a rejoinder by the author of the original item.

4 and 5. Book Reviews and Review Essays
A Book Review is a short essay of up to 3,000 words summarizing and evaluating a single book. A Review Essay is a contribution of up to 5,000 words (more if necessary) discussing a single book in detail or several books on the same topic. In either case, we’re looking for active, informed engagement with the book(s) under review. Your review should summarize the book’s main claims, offer critical commentary on some of those claims, and offer a verdict of some kind on the book as a whole. Any combination of criticism and/or praise is acceptable, as long as the basis of your claims is made clear to the reader.

Contrary to popular belief, we think of reviews as making a major contribution to the literature. To that end, we insist that reviewers focus assiduously on the book under review. Relevant background is fine, but please do not use reviews as a platform for polemics on issues related to but not explicitly discussed in the book. In short, a review that shows little or no engagement with the book, or which sacrifices engagement with the book for some extraneous polemical end, is not acceptable, and will not run, regardless of the reputation or expertise of the reviewer. Reviewers for Reason Papers should, as always, be prepared to receive and respond to substantive queries by the Editors on their review. Please include page references within your review for any direct quotations or paraphrases from the book under review.

Review copies: If you are reviewing for us, we will have the publisher send you a complimentary copy of the book you’re reviewing. Please tell us when you receive your review copy. If you don’t receive the book within a month’s time (six weeks outside of the United States), please get back to us so that we can follow up with the publisher. Unfortunately, delays do occur. Please note that if the publisher either refuses to send a review copy, or fails to do so, we cannot necessarily get you one at our expense.

6. Afterwords
Our Afterwords section was inaugurated in the Fall 2011 issue. Afterwords are brief essays (of about 3,000 words, 5,000 at most) commenting in a focused way on a relatively recent controversy, idea, or trend. Afterwords may either be invited by the Editors or submitted directly by authors (or translators: see below).

Unlike Discussion Notes, Afterwords do not discuss a single text or author, and need not discuss a text at all. They may discuss policies, doctrines, events, works of art, or in general anything susceptible of and conducive to normative study. Afterwords may be polemical, but must be rigorously argued and factually accurate. Authors should be prepared to receive and respond to extensive substantive queries and criticism on their manuscript. The Editors also reserve the Afterwords section for previously published but otherwise difficult-to-access material of potential interest to the journal’s readership, including but not limited to essays originally written in languages other than English, and translated specifically for Reason Papers. Translators should secure proper rights and/or permissions for any material before submitting it to Reason Papers, and should preferably contact the Editors with proposals well in advance of submission.

For good examples of what we’re looking for in Afterwords, see Sadek J. al-Azm’s discussion of the Arab Spring (translated from Arabic by Steve Miller of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) [PDF, 7 pp.], and David Kelley’s discussion of Islam and the Reformation (PDF, 6 pp.), both in the Fall 2011 issue.

III. Style guide
We strongly prefer to receive electronic submissions. Send submissions to [email protected] in Word, WordPerfect, or Rich Text Format. Please do not submit PDFs. 

2. Please submit manuscripts double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font. Follow the Chicago Manual of Style throughout. In general, the best guide to Reason Papers style is the Fall 2011 issue of the journal (PDF, 230 pp.).

3. Manuscripts under consideration as Articles, Discussion Notes, and Afterwords should be submitted in a format appropriate to blind review. (As stated above, peer review is at the Editors’ discretion.) Please carefully check the formatting of your document to ensure that there are no identifying references in it to the author or institution, including references in the citations, references (however oblique) in your acknowledgements, or an author tag on the submitted file properties (i.e., an “author tag” shows up if you pass the cursor over the document icon).

4. Please make sure that all material is appropriately cited, including all direct quotations without exception. (If you use quotation marks, it counts as a direct quotation, no matter how short the quoted word or phrase.) Furthermore, check to ensure that direct quotations (including block quotations) are precisely accurate according to the original source.

5. Please transliterate all non-English words into English.

6. Use footnotes rather than endnotes, and follow Chicago-style formatting of footnotes. Since all citation information will be contained within footnotes, no separate bibliography or works cited page should be used. Submissions not in Reason Papers (i.e., Chicago) style will be returned to the author for re-formatting. For book reviews, use internal page citations for the book under review.

Sample footnotes:

1. John Smith, “Virtue Ethics,” Virtue Studies 25, no. 2 (1990), pp. 112-42.

2. John Smith, Virtue Ethics (New York: Eudaimon Press, 2012).

Chapter from an anthology
3. John Smith, “Virtue Ethics,” in The Virtues, ed. Jane Doe (New York: Eudaimon Press, 2012), pp. 125-57.

4. John Smith, “Virtue Ethics,” accessed online at:

Classic works
5. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 2d. ed., trans. Terence Irwin (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1999), I.4.1095b7-8.

6. Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D. D. Raphael and A. L. MacFie (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 1976), IV.1.8, p. 181.

This page written: March 14, 2012 (IK).
Minor (non-substantive) revision: July 27, 2012 (IK)
Substantive revisions to I.4, II.2, II.3, II.4-5, and II.6, minor revisions to III.4: December 1, 2012 (IK)
Substantive revisions to I.4, II.1, III.1, III.3: June 12, 2015 (IK)