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Seismological Research Letters

SRL Information for Authors

  • Article types
  • Recommended lengths for articles
  • Organize your manuscript
  • Style
  • File types for manuscript submission
  • Color charges and color options
  • Publication charges (Eastern Section articles only)
  • Artwork
  • Line art and combination files
  • Copyright
  • Submitting your manuscript to SRL
  • Questions?
  • Article types

    SRL publishes articles, columns, news, and other items of broad appeal to seismologists and earthquake engineers, including the following:

    Articles are informational, timely, and of interest to a cross-section of the SSA membership.

    Opinion columns express a particular view about a topic in seismology or seismological research.

    Memorials pay tribute to a recently deceased person whose life and career had great impact upon the seismological community. Please include at least one photograph of the deceased.

    Historical Seismologist columns deal with historical earthquake, archeoseismology, the history of the field, and related topics.

    Electronic Seismologist columns deal with developments in computer and other technology driven seismological developments.

    EduQuakes columns decribe a new way that seismology is being taught or being used to educate students of all ages as well as the public.

    Earthquake Lites provide some levity – comics, quips, anecdotes, or brief stories that provide some inside-seismology amusement for readers.

    Eastern Section articles are published in SRL’s Eastern Section pages—a journal within a journal that is produced by the Eastern Section of the Seismological Society of America. The Eastern Section also publishes its own news and announcements.

    Reviews of books, films, documentaries, and other media are welcome.

    Transitions—items in this column note changes in status for SSA members and other notables in seismology, including job changes, awards, and deaths.

    News and Notes is where SRL readers turn to find news of SSA and the field of seismology.

    New Publications is a listing of new media of interest to those in seismology.

    Calendar items also are listed.

    Comments, Replies, Errata, and Letters to the Editor are welcome.

    Click here to browse selected parts of the most recent issue of SRL.

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    Recommended lengths for articles

    To create an interesting, informative, and attractive journal for the seismological community, the SRL editoral staff has established the following recommended lengths for submitted manuscripts. These limits may be exceeded at the discretion of the editor in chief.

    Articles, including regular-section articles, Eastern Section articles, and submissions to the Historical and Electronic seismologist and EduQuakes columns: up to approximately 6,000 words with up to 10 figures and/or up to three tables.

    Opinions: up to 1,500 words; figures and/or tables are optional.

    Memorials: up to 2,000 words; include at least one photo of the deceased.

    Reviews: 1,000 to 1,500 words.

    Comments/Replies: focused and shorter than the original article.

    Letters to the Editor: 300 words.

    Organize your manuscript

    1. Title page, including authors’ names and affiliations and complete contact information for the corresponding author.
    2. Electronic supplement (optional) If your manuscript has an electronic supplement, include a brief description (from a few words up to two complete sentences) of the supplemental material directly below the list of authors; also include the URL for the e-supp. Note that for articles published in SRL 86-2 and later, there is a $120 processing charge for electronic supplements.
    3. Abstract (Eastern Section articles only), 300 words or less
    4. Text of paper (Introduction, Body, Conclusions)
    5. Acknowledgments (optional)
    6. References
    7. Tables
    8. Figures, figures that will be published in color should be provided in color and figures that will be published in black and white should be published in black and white. For information about SRL’s color policies and color charges, see below.
    9. Appendices

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    Format and font: Use a standard U.S. letter size (8.5 X 11 inches), left-justified, with indented paragraphs. All written material, including acknowledgments, references, affiliations, and figure captions, must be double spaced. Use 12-pt Times New Roman type. Number the pages and the figures. Figures and tables should be presented at the end of the manuscript, clearly numbered so referees can refer to them easily. Figure captions may be included with the figures as well as in a separate list.

    Text: Use American English, not British. Define all technical terms, symbols, acronyms, and abbreviations upon first reference. Consult a recent issue of SRL for styling of heads and subheads. Cite all figures and tables in strict numerical order. Avoid using quotation marks and italics for emphasis. Does your manuscript present your work clearly and concisely in idiomatic and correct American English? If your first language is not English, ask a native-English-speaking colleague to review the paper and help with the grammar. Manuscripts that are written in poor English may be inadvertantly rejected due to a referee’s misunderstanding and/or will be returned will be returned unreviewed.

    Mathematics and symbols: Use the solidus whenever possible in preference to built-up fractions, write complicated exponentials in the form exp( ), avoid subscripts or superscripts on subscripts and superscripts, and, in general, minimize unusual or expensive typographical requirements. Make subscripts and superscripts large and clear; label Greek letters and unusual or ambiguous symbols on first occurrence (for example, spell out subscript "zero" to distinguish it from "oh"). Be sure that letters in formulas are unambiguously capital or lowercase. Place equation numbers in parentheses to the right of the equations. Use italic type for variables and bold for vectors and matrices. Equations should be punctuated as sentences.

    Tables should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals. Each table must have a title; column heads should be brief and contain units of measurement in parentheses. Present each table on a separate page. When preparing tables, take into account the size of the journal page. Tables can be printed using landscape orientation if necessary. Each table must be referenced at least once in the text.

    Figures: Submit figures that are to be published in color in color and figures that are to be published in black and white in black and white.Do not submit a color figure for a figure that will be published in black and white. Note that SRL charges for color pages; see below for details about color charges. Number figures sequentially and in the order of first reference in the text. Each figure must be referenced at least once in the text. Do not include within the figure a title or any text that is included in the figure caption. Submit captions as a separate, consecutively numbered list embedded in the text of the manuscript. Do not include captions on the figures themselves. Be sure that captions have correct color references (colors for colored figures, black and white for black and white figures.)

    Keep figure parts consistent in size. Each figure part should contain a label in the upper left corner. The part labels should be of the style (A), (B), (C), etc. For text within a figure, use a standard, readable typeface such as Helvetica or Times Roman. For figures created for reproduction at 100%, use a type size between 10 and 12 points. The type size after reduction of a figure must be no smaller than 6 points. Avoid inconsistencies in type font and size within a figure and from one figure to the next. Use the same size type for elements of equal importance. Some variation in size for emphasis may be necessary, but use no more than a 2-point variation.

    Units of measurement and abbreviations should be consistent from one figure to the next and between figures and text. Avoid using light or white text on a dark background. Avoid small open symbols; they tend to fill in if the figure is reduced. Ensure that superscripts and subscripts are legible.

    Proofread all text within a figure to ensure that it is accurate and that spellings and abbreviations are correct and consistent with the text.

    References should be arranged alphabetically by author and use hanging indents. Spell out all journal titles and acronyms. Follow the style of examples below; consult a recent issue of SRL for more examples.

    Hough, S. E., and S. Martin (2002). Magnitude estimates of two large aftershocks of the 16 December 1811 New Madrid earthquake, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 92 3,259–3,268.

    Gutenberg, B. (1959). Physics of the Earth's Interior, Academic Press, New York, 111–113.

    Laster, S. J., M. M. Backus, and R. Schell (1967). Analog mode studies of the simple refraction problem, in Seismic Refraction Propsecting Albert W. Musgrave ed., Society of Exploration Geophysics, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 15–66.

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    File types for manuscript submission

    SRL accepts manuscripts submitted in the following types of files:

    • Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx)
    • Adobe PDF
    • LaTex

    Word files are preferred. If you submit your manuscript as a PDF we will request a Word file if your submission is accepted. If necessary, we can also handle LaTex files.

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    Color charges and color options

    The rates for color pages in SRL are:

    • First page: $1,205
    • Second page: $755
    • Each additional page: $245

    Choose one of the following two color options:

    • All figures published in black and white in both the print SRL and SRL Online OR
    • One or more figures published in color in both the print SRL and SRL Online; this option will result in color charges

    Note: SRL doesn’t publish figures in color online and in black and white in print (like its sister publication BSSA) because SRL’s journal of record is the print version (BSSA’s journal of record is the online version).

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    Publication charges (Eastern Section articles only)

    Authors of articles published in SRL’s Eastern Section pages pay a page-charge of $25 per page. These publication charges may be waived at the discretion of the Eastern Section editor.


    Electronic submission of artwork with articles is encouraged. We prefer the following file formats:

    • TIFF
    • Native Adobe Photoshop files
    • JPEG (as long as compression is avoided or minimized)
    • GIF

    If your graphic is in a different format, please e-mail Mary George, srl [at] seismosoc [dot] org, to determine compatibility.

    For color images, use CMYK color mapping instead of RGB. (CMYK often looks less bright than RGB, but since it will be printed using CMYK, that is a better representation of what it will look like in the journal.) Color scans should be made at 300 dpi or greater resolution.

    Grayscale and halftone images should be 3% highlights and 85% shadows. For photos that include a few arrows and legends, you may make a combination file, but also include the original photo in one of the above formats. That way, if there is trouble with the combination file, we can use our software to recreate the legends and arrows.

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    Line art and combination files

    When possible, use PostScript fonts. The journal is set in Helvetica and Adobe Garamond (and their stylistic variations), but Times is also fine. The best file formats by far are:

    • Native Adobe Illustrator files
    • EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)
    • PS (plain PostScript, including PostScript "job" or "printer" files)
    • Adobe Acrobat PDF files

    Formats that sometimes work but which frequently get corrupted in minor to major ways are PICT, CorelDraw, and figures pasted into a Microsoft Word document. Older versions of Word seem to behave better. Again, for color work use a CMYK color model when possible. For black and white work, avoid color (it will appear gray). Instead use solid black and gray scales between 20% and 70%. (Shades outside this range can be used, but be aware that shades darker than 70% may appear black, especially when used in thin lines, and shades lighter than 20% fade on printing and may not be easily visible.)

    Most graphics software will produce usable PostScript files if you select a PostScript printer driver (whether or not you have a PostScript printer) and print a file to disk. These files can be quite large, however. CorelDraw produces fairly unreliable PostScript, especially when raster-image files are included.

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    Copyright for articles published in SRL is held by SSA. Click here for copyright/page-charges form for an Eastern Section manuscript; click here for the form that goes with all other articles. Authors must upload the completed form at the time of manuscript submission. Authors are responsible for securing permission to reproduce in SRL any copyrighted or printed matter from other publications.

    Submitting your manuscript to SRL

    Upload manuscripts for articles and columns to SRL through SRL’s online submission system at (Email items for Transitions, News and Notes, New Publications, and the Calendar directly to the SRL Editorial Office at srl [at] seismosoc [dot] org.)


    Email questions to the SRL Editorial Office: srl [at] seismosoc [dot] org

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    Last Modified: 2014 Nov 07