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BSSA Policies and Procedures


Papers submitted to BSSA must not have been published previously in English or any other language and must not presently be under consideration for publication elsewhere in English or any other language. It is the responsibility of the submitter to ensure that all listed authors have approved the manuscript. Membership in SSA is not a requirement for submission to BSSA.

Types of Papers

Papers published in BSSA fall into four broad categories: articles, short notes, review articles, and comments and replies.

Contributed Articles make up the majority of the papers published in BSSA.  An article should contain original information that has not been published elsewhere and is not being submitted elsewhere. BSSA enlists the help of two referees for each article.

Short Notes are limited to six or fewer printed journal pages. A short note should contain original information and should be well focused, concise, and more limited in scope than an article. To estimate the number of journal pages that your paper will need, use this formula: (# of ms words / 1100) + [(# of figures + # of tables) X 0.45]

Review Articles.  BSSA publishes a small number of review articles when it is judged that such articles will be useful to guide future research. Authors who wish to contribute a review article should contact the Editor before preparing and submitting the article.

Comments and Replies. BSSA encourages the publication of comments on published papers and replies to those comments because the entire seismological community can benefit from an open discussion of research issues. Comments should be brief with a goal of being no longer than three printed pages; however, this is a guideline and not an absolute limit. The Editor will send the comment to the authors of the original paper under discussion. If the authors of the original paper write a reply, the authors of both the comment and the reply are given an opportunity to revise. The authors of the original paper have the option of requesting that the comment be peer reviewed. The Editor oversees the process to ensure clear presentation of ideas and resolution of any conflict.


Manuscripts must be submitted through our online submission system at Even though you will be asked to enter your manuscript's title, authors, and abstract into the online submission system, these must also be included in the manuscript itself. For details on how to submit your paper, please read the Submission page.

Order of material

  1. Title page, including authors’ names and complete address of corresponding author. If your paper has an electronic supplement, include a brief description of the supplement on the title page.
  2. Abstract, 250 words or less
  3. Text of paper (Introduction, Body, Conclusions) If your paper has an electronic supplement, include in-text mentions of the material in the style of  "for a complete list of earthquakes, see Table S4 in the electronic supplement to this article."
  4. Data and Resources*   This section is mandatory. Guidelines are at Include the month and year in which you last visited the Web sites listed in the Data and REsources section. Example: The Global Centroid Moment Tensor Project database was searched using (last accessed August 2007).
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. References
  7. Full mailing address for each author
  8. Tables
  9. List of Figure Captions
  10. Figures
  11. Appendixes

*Data and Resources is a mandatory section. The Society requires that authors identify the sources of data used during research and give information about whether those sources are available to readers. A Data and Resources section must precede the Acknowledgements section. This section should be used to identify all data sources that are not taken from published works referenced in the References. An example of data from a published work would be an earthquake catalog listed in a table or electronic supplement of a published paper. If an online database is used then it should be included here. If there is a published work describing the database then that work can be included in the References. However, online databases should not be included in the References. This section can also be used to mention computing resources such as software packages used in the work. For details on this section please see our Data and Resources Section page.

Electronic Supplements

Authors are encouraged to devise supporting online material to supplement their articles. High-resolution graphical information, animations of time-sequenced observations or simulations, and three-dimensional data models are especially appropriate as electronic supplements. We will also consider other forms of digital material, including documented source code used to generate results presented in an article. The online material must be supplemental; papers published in BSSA must be complete without the electronic supplements. Submit this under the "Supplemental Material" category in Editorial Manager. In-text mentions of the supplement should be in the style of "for a complete list of earthquakes, see Table S4 in the electronic supplement to this article."  For complete guidelines, see the Electronic Supplements page.

General Style Guidelines

Format all pages to a standard U.S. letter size (8.5 X 11 inches) and use one inch margins. All written material, including acknowledgments, references, affiliations, and figure captions, must be double spaced.  We prefer that you use 12 pt Helvetica or Times New Roman type.  Page numbering and line numbering are both mandatory. Use “continuous” line numbering (do not restart numbering on each page).  Figures, tables and equations should be numbered sequentially using Arabic numbers.  Place figures and tables at the end of the manuscript, clearly numbered so referees can refer to them easily. For the review process, place the figure captions below each figure. High resolution figures may be submitted as well, but not required until final files are requested.  

Submit your manuscript in Word or Latex format. DO NOT upload your manuscript in PDF file format; the system builds one PDF file from all of your submitted files, and your original files are stored on the server for editorial office and publisher access. When you upload your manuscript, the MANUSCRIPT category should include the full manuscript, including title page, abstract, and references. Tables and figures can be included at the end of the manuscript file, OR uploaded separately under the TABLE and FIGURE categories (label each file appropriately in the "Description" box on the upload screen as Table 1, Table 2, Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.). For revised submissions, upload a “track changes” version of your manuscript under the “Annotated Manuscript” category showing the changes made in this version.

Do not number section headers.  Levels of heads can be identified through the use of upper/lower case letters and bold/italic type.  If you include in-text citations to headers, please cite complete header titles. Each author is allowed only one main affiliation.  If you need to list a "now at" or "also at" affiliation as well, please note this in your manuscript and we will add it as a footnote to page 1 of the published paper.  All URL's should be placed in the Data and Resources section (include the month year you last accessed the website).

Figures and tables MUST be cited AND cited in sequential order within the text of the paper.  Figure-part labels (a) (b) (c) etc. should be placed outside of and to the top left of the figure parts.  Figure parts should be labeled left to right/top to bottom. If possible, figure-part descriptions should be placed in the figure itself or in the captions, not above the figures. For tables, BSSA uses a short descriptive title above the tables and the rest of the information in a general footnote below the table. For footnotes in the tables, use these symbols (asterisk, dagger, double dagger, section mark, parallel lines, number symbol) in this order.  Label the footnotes within the table by rows, left to right, top to bottom. All tables must include definitions of abbreviations, even if they are also in the text. Tables should have rows and columns that are analogous to the horizontal (x) and vertical (y) axes of a graph, respectively. The data include two sets of variables. One set of variables is defined in the top row of a table, in the column headings; the other set is defined along the far left-hand column of the table by the stubheadings in each row. All scientific notation should be in the x 10 form.

Text of paper: Use American English spelling. Define all technical terms, symbols, acronyms, and abbreviations. Consult a recent issue of BSSA for styling of heads and subheads. Cite all figures and tables in strict numerical order. Avoid the use of quotation marks and italics for emphasis. Define all abbreviations and acronyms at first mention. Before submitting your manuscript, read it carefully to ensure that your work has been presented clearly and concisely. If your first language is not English, ask a colleague to review the paper and help with the grammar. A paper whose meaning is unclear may inadvertently be denied publication through misunderstanding.

Units: Except where common practice in seismology dictates otherwise, units should follow the Système Internationale (SI). We strongly encourage authors to adopt SI units for seismic moment (N m instead of dyne cm) and stress (MPa instead of bars) in order to develop an international standard.

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.

Acknowledgments: Please be sure to give credit to sources of funding, data, and/or instruments or other facilities that were used in your research as well as reviewers and/or editors who have helped you improve your work.

References should be arranged alphabetically by author and should follow the style of examples below. Journal abbreviations can be found through a search at

Hough, S. E., and S. Martin (2002). Magnitude estimates of two large aftershocks of the 16 December 1811 New Madrid earthquake, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am. 92 3259-3268.

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 (Editor), Society of Exploration Geophysics, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 15-66.

Tables should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals. Each table must have a title; column heads should be brief and should 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 broadside if need be.

Figures: Number figures sequentially and in the order of first reference in the text. Do not include within the figure a title or any text that is included in the figure caption.

Keep figure parts consistent in size. Each figure part should contain a label outside of and to the upper left of each figure part. The part labels should be of the style (a), (b), (c), (d) and should be in 12-point Helvetica lowercase type. 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.

Color options: Color figures can be published (1) in color both in the online journal and in the printed journal, or (2) in color online and gray scale in print. You must choose one option for all of the color figures within a paper; that is, you cannot choose option (1) for one color figure and option (2) for another color figure. You cannot submit two versions of the same figure, one for color and one for gray scale.

The color-in-print option requires that you pay full page and color charges. Before choosing this option, please carefully review page and color costs on the charges page and ensure that you have the necessary funding.

For the color-online-only option, there is no charge for color. You are responsible for ensuring that color figures are understandable when converted to gray scale and that the text and captions are appropriate for both online and print versions. If you choose the option of color online and gray scale in print, it is essential that you review the Tutorial on Producing Online-Only Color Figures and that you view the color figures in gray scale before submitting them.

Reviewers should have access to figures and captions that you believe are ready to be published. Please prepare your manuscript and figures following the guidelines for the color option that you have chosen. If color figures are changed to gray scale after acceptance of the paper, there will be a delay to publication while the paper undergoes further review by the Editorial Board.

Publication Charge Policy

The Seismological Society of America requests that institutions supporting research share in the cost of publicizing the results of that research. The Editor has the discretion of waiving publication charges for authors who do not have institutional support. The high cost of publication limits the number of waived pages that can be published each year. SSA cannot take on the expense of publishing color figures. If publication charges have been waived, all of the figures in the article must be without color in the printed journal. See the section "Color Options" above for information on color figures in the online journal and grayscale in print.

There are charges for each page and additional charges for electronic supplements and figures printed in color. For complete page-charge information, see

Copyright Information

Copyright for articles published in BSSA is held by SSA. A copyright/page-charges form is sent to the corresponding author upon receipt of a submitted manuscript. Authors must return this form, via the online submission site, prior to their paper being accepted for publication. The authors are responsible for securing permission to reproduce in BSSA any printed matter from other publications.

Article of Record

Starting with volume 100, the version of your article that appears in BSSA online at and is the definitive article of record and is the Journal of record for all purposes.


Questions should be directed to the Editorial Office.


Last Modified: 2014 Oct 22