Textual Cultures Publication Mission, Scope, Ethics, and Protocols

Mission & History

From its origins in 1981, the Society for Textual Scholarship’s journal has led the way in opening discussions in the field of textual studies.

Textual Cultures: Texts, Contexts, Interpretation is devoted to textual scholarship in all language traditions. With an expansive definition of text and textuality to include a variety of disciplines and materials, the journal proposes as well an exchange between critics interested in textual interpretation and specialists devoted to the analysis and preparation of those texts as documents or artifacts, e.g., editors, bibliographers, archivists, and digital humanists. This exchange also includes practitioners in numerous emerging and traditional fields of material studies that explore the production, reproduction and reception of texts in their often multiple cultural contexts.

Textual Cultures continues the tradition of TEXT, the Society’s first journal (1984–2005), with an ever more inclusive and multi-voiced approach to issues of textual analysis, editorial practice and theory, (re)definitions of textuality, and the diverse textual cultures in which these matters and our approaches evolve.

Focus & Scope

Textual Cultures publishes work that analyzes texts within the complex cultural-historical settings in which they are created, revised, made public, disseminated, and received. Editorial practice and theory are at the center of this enterprise, along with scholarship that examines drafts, notes, manuscripts, first and final cuts, first and later appearances, broadcasts, adaptations, remakes and reprints, letters, illustrated editions, rehearsals and productions, collections, paper and digital archives, and other media forms that transmit, structure, define, and redefine a text.

Textual Cultures invites work from scholars around the world in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. All articles will appear also with abstracts in English.

Textual Cultures is published biannually on an open-access digital platform, IUScholarWorks. Most of our content consists of scholarly essays and reviews.


Textual Cultures provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. No author fees associated with submission or publication are charged.

Whole issues of the journal and individual essays are available as downloadable pdf files. Past issues are archived through IUScholarWorks.

Journal Management and Responsibility of the Editors

The editors’ chief responsibility is to determine which submissions to the journal will be published. They must ensure that decisions are made on the basis of the manuscript’s scholarly merit and the value of its contribution to ongoing critical and methodological conversations in the field.

The editors ensure a culture of publication integrity through a rigorous peer review process (see below) that prioritizes original research, ethical methodologies, and factual and bibliographic accuracy. Concerns and/or grievances about publication practices should be addressed to the editor-in-chief, and will be reviewed by the editorial board before the publication of the subsequent issue.

Peer Review Process

The editors of Textual Cultures will first review all submissions for alignment with the journal’s mission and scope. Editors will recuse themselves from considering manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors; instead, they will ask another member of the editorial board to handle the manuscript. If the editors feel that the submission is indeed within the purview of the journal, it will be assigned for review, through a double-blind process, to specialists in the field in which the author wishes to make a contribution—typically, two reviewers, who will independently evaluate the manuscript and recommend that it be rejected, revised for resubmission, or published as is. If the two reviewers disagree, the editors may decide one way or another or send the article out for a third review. Comments from reviewers will be reviewed by the editors and shared with the author, regardless of the decision to publish or not.

Purpose of peer review: The peer review process is a crucial component in helping the editor and/or editorial board reach editorial or publishing decisions and may also serve the author in improving the quality of the submission.

  • Ethical standards / conflicts of interest for peer reviewers: A potential reviewer should withdraw from the review process if they have a conflict of interest with any of the authors, if they feel unqualified to assess the contribution, or if they cannot provide an assessment in a timely manner as defined by the editor.
  • Confidentiality of peer review: Manuscripts for review are considered confidential documents. Information concerning a submitted manuscript will only be revealed to the corresponding author, reviewers, editorial board members, or the publisher as is required or otherwise appropriate.
  • Objectivity: Reviewers should strive to be objective in their assessments. Reviewers should confirm that their review is based on the merits of the work and not influenced, either positively or negatively, by any intellectual biases. Whenever possible, reviewers should be objective and constructive in their reviews and provide specific feedback that will help the authors to improve their manuscript. Personal criticism of the author(s) is not appropriate.

Author Guidelines


Textual Cultures welcomes submissions on all aspects of textual scholarship as described above (see “Focus and Scope”). Most manuscripts accepted for publication by Textual Cultures are standard essay-length, 5,000 to 12,000 words; we are interested in work that is experimental in terms of genre and format and will seek to accommodate such work within the limits of our technological infrastructure.

The endeavor of Textual Cultures is to widen our understanding of how new developments in fields such as codicology, material philology, art history, musicology and cultural studies are redefining our notions of what constitutes a text in diverse cultural contexts. Textual Cultures is committed to reviewing a wide range of works across these and other disciplines.

Textual Cultures features two distinct forms of reviews: Essay Reviews (1750–2000 words) and Short Reviews (750–1250 words).

Responsibilities of the Author

All essays and reviews submitted to the journal cannot have been previously published, nor can they be before another journal for consideration.

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

  • Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (see: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  • Authors warrant that their submission is their own original work, and that they have the right to grant the rights contained in this license. Authors also warrant that their submission does not, to the best of their knowledge, infringe upon anyone’s copyright. If the submission contains material for which an author does not hold the copyright, authors warrant that they have obtained the unrestricted permission of the copyright owner to grant Indiana University the rights required by this license, and that such third-party owned material is clearly identified and acknowledged within the text or content of their submission.
  • In preparing the essay or review for submission authors should follow the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style’s “B citational style” with abbreviated author, date, page references in parentheses coordinated with a list of works cited. Footnotes should be reserved for additional discussion. A complete Style Sheet can be accessed at our website (see: http://textual-cultures.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Style-Sheet-TC-updated.pdf)
  • If an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her/their own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper. If the editor or the publisher learns from a third party that a published work contains a significant error, it is the obligation of the author to promptly retract or correct the paper or to provide evidence to the editor of the correctness of the original paper.
  • Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal’s published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgment of its initial publication in this journal.

Submission Process for Textual Cultures

The submission process is fully electronic. Authors should type, “Submission to Textual Cultures” in the subject line.

  • Essays in English on North American, British and Australian literatures and cultures should be sent by Microsoft Word email attachment to Marta Werner, Editor-in-Chief, at werner@gmail.com, with “Submission to Textual Cultures” in the subject line.
  • Essays in languages other than English on European, South American, Asian and African literatures and cultures should be sent by Microsoft Word email attachment to Michelangelo Zaccarello, Editor and European Coordinator, at zaccarello@unipi.it, with “Submission to Textual Cultures” in the subject line

If you are interested in reviewing for Textual Cultures, please contact the book review editors and attach a copy of your c.v.

General queries about book reviews may also be addressed to Marta Werner, Editor-in-Chief (wernerm@dyc.edu) and Michelangelo Zaccarello, European Editor and Coordinator (michelangelo.zaccarello@unipi.it)

While we strongly encourage readers and submitters to register at IUScholarWorks (https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/textual), we only accept essays via the above email addresses.


Society for Textual Scholarship