BSSA Submission Guidelines

The Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA) publishes original papers advancing our understanding of seismology and seismic hazard analyses, as well as review articles summarizing important research topics. Submit manuscripts to BSSA at 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 Articles

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

Articles  BSSA publishes articles that advance our understanding of seismology and seismic hazard analyses. Topics include, but are not limited to seismic source studies; seismic imaging of Earth structure; understanding fault history, seismotectonics, fault mechanics, and earthquake recurrence; general theoretical seismology; seismic wave propagation; influence of near-surface structure and wave propagation effects on ground motions; forensic seismology; development of new geological or geophysical methods; development of new instrumentation; investigations of important recent earthquakes, re-examination of significant past earthquakes, and studies of earthquake effects such as tsunamis, landslides or damages.

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 – We welcome Comment papers on recently published BSSA articles. The Comment should address important aspects of the original paper without presenting new data or other unpublished work and should not be based on new findings/concepts that would not have been accessible to the authors when the original paper was written. Comments (and their Replies) have a six-page 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. At the editor’s discretion, these articles will undergo peer review to determine the appropriateness of the discussion. The Editor oversees the process to ensure clear presentation of ideas and resolution of any conflict.

To help ensure you have all the information you need when you are ready to submit your manuscript, we have provided a Submission PDF Checklist here.

Submission Requirements and Formatting Guidelines

Before you submit your manuscript, please proofread it carefully. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you ask a colleague whose first language is English for help in preparing the paper or work with a language editing service. Well-written manuscripts generally spend less time in the review process. Ideas that have not been expressed clearly and concisely are likely to be misunderstood by referees which could lead to rejection of a manuscript that might otherwise have been of interest to readers.

During the submission process you will be asked to provide contact information; background information that might be helpful to the Editor, Associate Editor and referees; type of article (article, comment, reply, or erratum); choice of issue (regular or special issue); names of potential referees (optional but helpful); names of people you wish to exclude as referees (optional); and up to 4 (four) classification terms.


When submitting an article to BSSA, the author(s) warrant that the material is original and is not currently under consideration by another journal. BSSA will consider papers previously posted on preprint servers such as ESSOAr and other non-profit preprint servers, so long as the authors have retained copyright and the preprint has not been posted under a Creative Commons license.

All manuscripts received by BSSA will be screened for plagiarism using iThenticate’s CrossCheck Plagiarism Screening software. The US Office of Integrity Research defines plagiarism as “theft or misappropriation of intellectual property and the substantial unattributed textual copying of another’s work.” If plagiarism of any kind (including self-plagiarism/duplicate publication/text recycling) is detected by BSSA, it will be assessed by the Editors and the paper may be rejected without peer review. Additionally, the Editors will alert co-authors about the plagiarism in the submitted manuscripts, and in extreme cases may opt to alert your institution. Use of content published online, for example in a theses, copyrighted to the author, is not considered a violation.

The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that all contributors are listed as authors and that all authors have agreed to the manuscript’s content and its submission to BSSA. Co-authors will be required to confirm their authorship in advance of publication (prompted via email).


If you wish to use excerpts from copyrighted work in your BSSA submission, you must obtain permission from the copyright owners and cite the original publication. Some publishers and journals require written permissions while others do not. It is the corresponding authors responsibility to secure permissions from the original copyright holder when required. The same applies to adaptations of figures from copyrighted works.

Once you have all of the necessary files prepared, log in to the submission system as an author. If you start the process, but do not complete it, the system will save your submission and you can log back in at a later time and finish the process.

The following items are required for submission:

Copyright Agreement – Copyright for articles published in BSSA is held by SSA. The transfer of copyright is handled electronically as part of BSSA’s submission process. SSA requires transfer of copyright as a condition of publication. An electronically signed copyright transfer is required from ALL authors before publication of the article. Co-authors will receive an email prompting them to sign into the system and electronically sign the copyright transfer. To proceed in the submission process, you will need to indicate your acceptance of the copyright transfer terms. Please review the conditions and share with your co-authors as appropriate.

Manuscript, organized as follows:

  • Title page, including authors’ names and affiliations as well as the complete address of the corresponding author.
  • Key Points (if applicable)
  • Abstract (300 words or less)
  • Text of paper (Introduction, Body, Conclusions)
  • Data and Resources
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
  • Full mailing address for each author
  • Tables, with captions above each table
  • List of Figure Captions
  • Figures, with captions below each figure – high resolution figure files are not required for the review process but may be requested if there are legibility concerns. If the paper is accepted for publication, high resolution files will be required.
  • Appendices (optional) – equations, figures and tables labeled using “A” (i.e. Table A1, A2; Figure A1, A2; Eq. A1, A2, etc.)
  • Electronic Supplement (optional) – Authors may submit supplemental digital material to accompany papers. Authors are encouraged to include “supplement” in their file names. See Electronic Supplement Guidelines for further instructions. If your paper has an electronic supplement, include citations for this material in the text (i.e., “for a complete list of earthquakes, see Table S4 in the electronic supplement to this article.”)

For Revised Papers, the following items are required, in addition to the items above:

  • Annotated Manuscript (for Revised Papers) – include a marked-up or otherwise highlighted version of your manuscript showing the changes that have been made in the revised version of the manuscript. Upload this file under the “Annotated Manuscript” category
  • Response to Reviews (for Revised Papers) – respond to each comment from the reviewers and editors in a separate document. Include the comment, followed by your response in a separate color. Upload this file under the “Response to Reviews” category

Title Page. Include all author names and affiliations as well as the complete address of the corresponding author. 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.

Key Points. You will also be required to provide three Key Points for your paper; these Key Points will be printed at the front of the article for readers to get a quick overview. These must be complete sentences addressing the following:

  1. state the problem you are addressing in a full sentence;
  2. state your main conclusion(s) in a full sentence; and
  3. state the broader implications of your findings in a full sentence.

Each point must be 110 characters or less (including spaces).

Abstract. Abstracts may be up to 300 words and limited to one paragraph.

Manuscript. Submit your manuscript in Word, LaTex, or PDF format. If you are using LaTeX, please read LaTeX Suggestions for making it work with our online submission system. Note, LaTeX files are only required after acceptance and you may upload a PDF for peer review. When uploading LaTeX files, do not upload your manuscript PDF; 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.

Format all pages in a standard U.S. letter size (8.5 X 11 inches) and use one-inch margins. All material should be double-spaced, using a 12-point font size. 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. Figures may be placed at the end of the manuscript or embedded near the first mention in the text. (If embedding figures, please do not wrap text around the image and ensure that text is legible in the compiled PDF.) Place the table captions above each table, and the figure captions below each figure. High resolution figures are not necessary until the paper is accepted for publication, unless specifically requested by the Editorial Office. Figures and tables MUST be cited in sequential order within the text of the paper.

Do not number section headers. Levels of headers 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 and year you last accessed the website).

Use American English spelling. Define all technical terms, symbols, acronyms and abbreviations. Avoid the use of quotation marks and italics for emphasis. Define all abbreviations and acronyms at first mention.

In-text Citations. Citations in the text should appear by the name(s) of the author(s), followed by the year of publication in parentheses, e.g., Hough and Martin (2002).

Data and Resources. This section is mandatory. SSA 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. If all data sources are from published works listed in the References, authors may simply state “All data used in this paper came from published sources listed in the references” in their Data and Resources section.

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. When a data source is mentioned in the body of the paper, it should be followed by a pointer to the Data and Resources section; e.g., “earthquake mechanisms were obtained from the Global Centroid Moment Tensor Project (see Data and Resources).” The corresponding entry in the Data and Resources section would be, “The Global Centroid Moment Tensor Project database was searched using (last accessed on August 5, 2007).” This section may also be used to identify other resources such as computer codes including the Generic Mapping Tools (GMT). Such resources do not need to be mentioned in previous sections of the paper. Some examples:

  • Seismograms used in this study were collected as part of the Central Kansas Lithospheric Experiment using PASSCAL instruments. Data can be obtained from the IRIS Data Management Center at (last accessed August 2003).
  • Well logs were provided by Central Oil Company and are proprietary. They cannot be released to the public.
  • Seismograms used in this study were collected using a classified network of the U.S. Government and cannot be released to the public.
  • No data were used in this paper. Some plots were made using the Generic Mapping Tools version 4.2.1 (; Wessel and Smith, 1998).
  • All data used in this paper came from published sources listed in the references.

Declaration of Competing Interests. SSA strives to ensure transparency in all aspects of publication. As such, all submitted manuscripts must include a disclosure of financial or other competing interests related to the submitted work that (1) could affect or have the perception of affecting the author’s objectivity, or (2) could influence or have the perception of influencing the content of the article. A Declaration of Competing Interests will publish with each article. If you have no competing interests to disclose, please state so and the published statement will read “The authors declare no competing interests.”

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. Place this section before the Data and Resources section and the References section.

References. Please arrange all references alphabetically by author and follow the style of examples below. References should include only published works. Journal abbreviations can be found through a search at

  • Gutenberg, B. (1959). Physics of the Earth’s Interior, Academic Press, New York, 111-113.
  • 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. 923259-3268.
  • Laster, S.J., M. M. Backus, and R. Schell (1967). Analog mode studies of the simple refraction problem, in Seismic Refraction Prospecting Albert W. Musgrave (Editor), Society of Exploration Geophysics, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 15-66.

Seismic networks should be cited with DOI if available: citations can be generated at

Tables. Tables must be created and submitted in Word or LaTeX. Do not paste a table into Word as an image or from another program. Table parts are not allowed, and each table should only have one set of column headings. Column heads should be brief and contain units of measurement in parentheses. Tables should include a short descriptive title above the table, with the rest of the information in a general footnote below the table. Tables should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals. All tables must include definitions of abbreviations, even if they are also in the text. All scientific notation should be in the x 10 form. Tables should have rows and columns that are analogous to the horizontal (x) and vertical (y) axes of a graph, respectively. The data should 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 subheadings in each row. In-table headers are not allowed. When preparing tables, take into account the size of the journal page. Tables can be printed landscape if needed. 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.

Figures. High-resolution figures are not necessary until final files are requested after the paper is accepted for publication. The Editorial Office may request higher quality figures if there are legibility concerns during peer review. High resolution figures will need to be submitted in EPS, TIFF, JPEG, or high-resolution PDF format. Not all of these formats are best for publication, so please see our SSA Art Guidelines for more information. Each high-resolution figure file should not exceed 10 mb per file. Label each file in the “DESCRIPTION” box on the upload screen as “Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.” The PDF file created by the online submission system will use down sampled versions of your figures to reduce the file size, but it will contain links to the high-resolution figure files in case the editors or reviewers need to view them. If you are using LaTeX, please read LaTeX Suggestions for making it work with our online submission system.

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. Figure-part labels (a) (b) (c) etc. should be placed outside of and to the top left of the figure parts. Use lowercase letters placed in parentheses. Figure parts should be labeled left to right and top to bottom. Descriptions should be placed in the figure itself or in the caption, not above the figure. Be consistent with font style, font size, units of measurement, abbreviations, and axis labels for all figures, and do not use italics. Keep figure parts consistent in size. Use “s” as the abbreviation for seconds. 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. 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. 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.

For information on preparing figures, see the SSA Art Guidelines.

Publication and Color Charge Options.

(1) Both Publication Charges and Color Charges Will Be Paid. If you choose this option, you will be able to select which of the color figures submitted should appear in color in the printed journal, and which of the color figures should appear in grayscale in print but in color online. Any figure submitted in color will appear in color in the online version. Before choosing this option, please carefully review SSA’s Publication Charges. Each figure the author identifies to print in color will incur a fee of $250 per figure. This option requires page and color charges.

(2) Only Publication Charges Will Be Paid. All color figures submitted will appear online in color and in grayscale in the printed journal. There are no color charges for color online only. Authors are responsible for submitting color figures that are understandable when converted to grayscale for the print version and any text references, figure legends and captions should be written so they are appropriate for online viewing (in color) and in the print version (grayscale). For information on preparing figures, see SSA Art Guidelines. If you choose this option of color online and grayscale in print, it is essential that you review the Tutorial on Producing Online-Only Color Figures from the SSA Art Guidelines.

Authors may not change their color option after acceptance.

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. Equations must be presented in an editable format, not as graphic images.

English language editing services

Authors for whom English is not their first language are encouraged to consider utilizing language editing services prior to submission of a manuscript. SSA has partnered with American Journal Experts, Inc. (AJE) to provide English language editing* and other manuscript preparation services for authors at a discounted rate. Authors can receive a 20% discount on AJE’s services by visiting and registering for an account. The discount will be automatically applied when using this link.

*Please note that the use of language editing services does not guarantee that your manuscript will be sent out for peer review or accepted for publication. Articles accepted for publication will still go through normal copyediting as part of the journal production process. Editing is available for both Word and LaTeX files. All editing services are at the expense of the author. SSA receives no compensation of any kind related to services completed by AJE.

Long-term preservation

SSA’s journals have long-term preservation services with CLOCKSS and Portico.

Communication with the Editorial Office

To ensure you receive messages regarding your manuscript, we recommend adding the and domains to your safe senders list.