Submission Preparation Checklist
As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
- The submission has not been previously published, nor is it currently being considered by another journal for publication. Submission to Africa Today means that you are commiting to not submit your manuscript elsewhere while it is under consideration by us.
- All required files, including the cover page, have been submitted according to the directions in the author guidelines.
- The manuscript files are in Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, or RTF document file format. Images are in JPEG or TIFF file formats.
- The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines. For example, the text is double-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining; and where available, URLs for the references have been provided.
- The cover page includes suggestions of scholars who might review the manuscript, their institutional affiliations, and email addresses. Suggested reviewers should not have a conflict of interest; for example, they should not be employed at the same institution as the author or be closely involved in the author’s research as a collaborator or advisor.
Africa Today will accept only original submissions that have not been previously published and are not concurrently submitted to another journal for consideration. Exceptions may be granted for works that have appeared in non-English-language publications; in this case, the author must notify Africa Today of this fact and, if the submission is approved, obtain permission to reprint from the original publisher.
Africa Today accepts submissions in English, French, and Portuguese. Manuscripts in French or Portuguese are peer reviewed in the original language, but will have to be translated into English prior to publication. It is the author's responsibility to arrange for translation and assume associated expenses.
Please also review our publication ethics and malpractice statement, which outlines duties of editors, authors, and reviewers and also details best practices on ethical matters, errors, and retractions.
Africa Today also accepts proposals for guest-edited special issues. Proposal guidelines are available here or by contacting the managing editor.
Submitting a Manuscript
The journal’s online submission system is the only acceptable means of submitting a manuscript for review. Manuscripts sent directly to the editorial office will not be considered.
When uploading your submission, please upload three documents: a cover page, the article manuscript, and an images document containing photos, illustrations, etc. (if applicable).
State title of paper; author name; institutional affiliation; name, address, and email address of author to whom correspondence should be sent; acknowledgment (if any) of financial or other assistance; and suggested reviewers (see section below on the review process). The cover page Word document should be named SURNAME_coverpage.docx.
Please make sure your manuscript adheres to the following guidelines prior to submission. Manuscripts will not be reviewed until they are properly formatted.
- The manuscript is a Word document titled SURNAME_manuscript.docx.
- All references to the author’s name have been removed from the manuscript.
- It has an abstract of no more than 125 words that communicates the research topic and/or question, the main finding or argument, and the significance of the contribution. There are no citations in the abstract.
- The manuscript is 8,000–10,000 words.
- The entire manuscript is double spaced and is in Times New Roman 12 point font.
- Everything (including title and headings) is aligned to the left-hand margin. Nothing is justified or centered.
- First-level headings are in bold. Second-level headings are italicized.
- Headings do not have numbers on them.
- Paragraphs that follow headings are not indented.
- Paragraphs that do not follow headings are indented 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) on their first line. It is preferable to use the ruler at the top of the word document to indent rather than the tab key.
- Quotations of four lines or longer should be in block quotation form. The entire quotation should be indented 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) on the right and left. It does not need quotation marks.
- References follow the Chicago Manual of Style 17th, edition, author date. See the quick guide here and our Format of References section below.
- Africa Today takes plagiarism very seriously, and asks authors to be sure they have properly acknowledged the scholarly work of others. Failure to do so can be considered grounds for declining to review a submitted article.
- Endnotes are numbered consecutively beginning with 1.
- Endnotes are used only for substantive comments on the text, not for references. All references should have parenthetical citations and full reference list entries.
- There are no images embedded in the body of the text. All images must be submitted in a separate word document. See the section below on Images Document for Photos, Maps, and Other Illustrations.
- Tables, if there are any, do appear in the body of the text.
If your manuscript is accepted for publication in Africa Today, it must be in line with the following additional formatting requirements before it can proceed to copyediting.
- Double quotation marks are used whenever quotation marks are needed. Single quotation marks should be used only for quotes within quotes.
- Periods and commas are inside quotation marks “like this.” This does not apply to colons and semicolons.
- Words in languages other than English are italicized unless they are proper nouns. Words as words are also italicized.
- The manuscript uses US spelling.
- The manuscript uses the Oxford/serial comma.
- In most contexts, numbers (cardinal and ordinal) one through one hundred (and their multiples) are spelled out and the rest are in numeral form. The following are some common exceptions:
- Percentages are represented, for example, as “2 percent,” with a numeral and the word percent spelled out.
- Numbers that begin a sentence are spelled out regardless of size.
- Divisions of published documents, such as chapters and pages, are in numerals.
- Monetary amounts of over one hundred dollars are in numerals and those of one million or more use a combination of numerals and words. (e.g., 250 million)
- Inclusive numbers (such as pages in certain citations) should have the following format:
- Less than 100: Use all digits. Ex: 1–29
- 100 or multiples of 100: Use all digits. Ex: 100–108, 3200–3215
- 101–109, 201–209, etc.: Use changed part only. Ex: 201–8, 304–60, 1105–9
- 110–199, 210–299, etc.: Use two digits unless more are needed to account for all changed parts. Ex: 832–36, 721–52, 1125–246
- Abbreviations with lowercase letters have periods. Abbreviations with uppercase letters do not.
- Latin abbreviations such as i.e., e.g., and etc. do not appear in the main text (but can appear in parentheses or notes).
- Hyphens (-) are used in compound words. En dashes (–) are used to represent number ranges or for joining one word to an open compound or joining two hyphenated compounds. Em dashes (—) are used for clauses, with no space on either side of them.
- In the main text (but not in the parenthetical citations), cited authors are referred to by their full names on the first occurrence, and subsequently by last name only.
- Each parenthetical citation has a reference list entry and each reference list entry has at least one parenthetical citation.
- The word "and" is used in parenthetical citations with more than one author rather than an ampersand.
- The references are not linked to any citation management software such as Zotero, Endnote, or Mendeley because such software interferes with the copyediting process.
Images Document for Photos, Maps, and Other Illustrations
Authors are encouraged to submit materials that supplement and enhance their published articles, such as photographs. Images will appear in black and white in the print version of the journal and in color online. There is no limit to the number of images an author may submit. However, because they add to the overall page count, articles with several images (seven or more) ought to be at the shorter end of our range, and editors may decide, at their discretion, to cut down the number of images for a given article. Africa Today may consider images for the cover illustration. Please note that Africa Today does not offer art-production services; therefore, for maps, charts, and drawings, we accept only work of professional quality. For maps, use an official map as a base to ensure accuracy.
When submitting a manuscript that references images, do not embed the images within the manuscript. Instead, create a separate Word document named SURNAME_images_for_review.docx in which you place low-resolution copies of the images with the caption beneath each image. Construct the captions so that they are logical and informative in themselves, perhaps restating or expanding upon information provided in the text. Preface each caption with an appropriate label, such as “Figure 1.” to correspond with the caption list and the references in the main manuscript. Within the manuscript, indicate the location where each image should be placed by inserting on a new line the tag [Figure 1 about here]. In the paragraph preceding this line, the figure should be mentioned explicitly by number (and in correct numerical order) within an appropriate sentence.
When your paper is accepted, we will ask you to submit high-resolution images for publication according to the following guidelines:
List all figures and caption text in a single document named SURNAME_images_and_captions.docx. Do not embed any images in that file. Instead, upload print-ready, high-resolution image files to the online journal system. The images must be in JPG or TIF format. The resolution must be at least 300 pixels per inch (ppi) at six inches wide; however, line art should be submitted at 1200 ppi or greater. Name the image files following the pattern SURNAME_Figure_1.tif.
Image permissions and copyright: Authors are responsible for obtaining all permissions required to publish an image. Within the Images Document, please indicate the source of each image and whether you: (1) are the creator of the image; (2) have permission from the copyright holder to use the image; (3) are using an image in the public domain or one licensed under a Creative Commons license; or (4) believe there is a fair use case for publishing the image. Africa Today does not pay licensing fees for copyrighted images; any such fees are the responsibility of the author.
Format of References
References within Text
Citations of sources should be made within the body of the text, following the parenthetical author-date style from The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, according to the guidelines in “Chapter 15. Author-Date References” or in the “Author-Date Style” of the online Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide at https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/. The basic guidelines are:
- When the author's name already appears in the text, the date of the cited work should appear in parentheses, e.g., (1988). When the author's name does not appear in the text, the author and date of source should appear in parentheses, e.g., (Smith 1988). When a specific page number or page numbers are to be cited, the page number(s) should follow the date, after a comma, e.g., (Smith 1988, 17).
- Use “et al.” for more than three authors; the complete list of names must be given in references cited.
- When there is more than one work by the same author from the same year, put the titles of the works in alphabetical order and then mark the year with lowercase letters, e.g., 1988a, 1988b, and so on.
- The original publication date should precede later publication dates in brackets within parentheses, e.g., (Smith  1969).
- A series of references should be separated by semicolons within the parentheses, e.g., (Jones 1989; Jones and Smith 1998; Smith 1977). If there are two or more references by the same author in the parentheses, those citations should be separated by a comma. e.g., (Jones 1980, 1989; Jones and Smith 1998).
- If there is more than one source in a parenthetical citation, they are listed in alphabetical order of the authors’ last names and then in ascending order by year.
Reference List at End of Manuscript: References Cited
Follow The Chicago Manual of Style parenthetical author-date format (see The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, 2017) for the reference list. Reference-list entries should be arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name. If there is more than one source by the same author, those entries should be listed by year with the earliest year first. If there is a publication with a single author and another by the same author with coauthors, the single-authored publication comes first. Capitalize titles of books, articles, and journals using headline-style capitalization, e.g., The History of Africa. Format the list using hanging indents (Ctrl-T in Microsoft Word).
Rodney, Walter. 1982. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Washington, DC: Howard University Press.
Chapters from Books
Trapido, Stanley. 1980. “‘The Friends of the Native’: Merchants, Peasants and the Political and Ideological Structure of Liberalism in the Cape, 1854–1910.” In Economy and Society in Pre-Industrial South Africa, edited by Shula Marks and Anthony Atmore, 167–95. London: Longman.
Ritzer, George. 1975. “Sociology: A Multiple Paradigm Science.” American Sociologist
10 (3): 156–67.
Authors analysing this type of data should cite source, including author (producer or distributor if no author), publication date (type “n.d.” if none is provided), title, date accessed, and website address. If no author is provided, replace it with the producer or distributor of the article or the website. Examples:
Okonjo-Iweala, Ngozi. 2007. “Aid versus Trade.” Filmed June 7, 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania at TEDGlobal 2007. TED video, 22:07. Accessed October 25, 2018. https://www.ted.com/talks/ ngozi_okonjo_iweala_on_aid_versus_trade.
Kenya Bus Services. n.d. Nairobi Bus Guide. Accessed September 22, 2018. http://kenyabus.net/downloads/NAIROBI_BUS_GUIDE.pdf.
Interviews/Verbal Information Collected by the Author
In referring to a specific interview by the author, in-text citation and references-cited entries should follow the same conventions as outlined above, e.g.:
Smith, John. 1998. Interview with author, April 9. Houston, Texas.
In cases where the author cites information gained not through formal interviews but through, for example, casual social contact over a period of time, the author should include in the text the names, place of contact, and approximate range of dates of contact with these persons. In cases where it is not possible to identify an “informant” or respondent by name (for example, for political reasons), the author may use a pseudonym (and use it consistently in all text citations and references-cited entries).
Africa Today Review Process
All manuscripts that have met our submission guidelines are given an initial review by one of our editors. At that point, we will either inform the author that the article has been declined or initiate the journal’s double-blind peer-review process. Authors are requested to suggest scholars who might review the manuscript, providing their institutional affiliations and email addresses. Authors may also indicate scholars whom they prefer not to review the manuscript. Editors are not bound by these suggestions. Suggested reviewers should not have a conflict of interest; for example, they should not be employed at the same institution as the author or be closely involved in the author’s research as a collaborator or advisor. Each article that passes editorial desk review is sent out to two or three expert, anonymous reviewers, who are selected by the journal’s editors and are asked to disclose any conflicts of interest before accepting the assignment. Articles may be sent out to be reviewed by one of the journal’s advisory board members, who are representative of the journal’s focus. All reviewers are expected to read the work carefully and provide a thorough report as a voluntary service to the journal. A decision about whether to accept, reject, or invite revisions to the article is generally made within three months of sending it out for review.
Authors should prepare their manuscripts to facilitate anonymous review by minimizing references to their own work.
Reviewers are asked to answer the following questions:
- Does this address an important topic in African Studies? How?
- What contributions, if any, do you see this paper making to the field?
- Does the subject matter engage scholars in several different disciplines? How?
- Is the literature cited up to date and inclusive of a broad range of contemporary scholars?
- Does the paper have a clearly defined research question and theoretical/analytical framework?
- Is the author's argument clearly stated? Is it original?
- How does the author use primary evidence? Evaluate how the author presents the research methodology or describes the documentary/archival sources used. Are they suitable for the issue(s) being studied?
- Is the manuscript written clearly, and in a style that will be accessible to a broad audience in African Studies?