Please send all submissions to:

Notes for Contributors

The following notes set out some general editorial principles. A more detailed style document is available on request from the Assistant Editor, whose address is at the end of these notes.

The Political Quarterly publishes articles on issues of public policy on the basis of knowledge of the most authoritative sources and expert opinions. We do not set out sources or authorities in detail, nor aim to be technical or narrowly academic; rather, we intend to continue the journal’s tradition of publishing jargon-free articles written in plain English that are nevertheless challenging, intellectually demanding and innovative. A typical PQ article will discuss issues of practical importance, or offer background material or basic speculation that is directly relevant to these issues.

Many of PQ’s readers are academics, but the journal aims to address the interests of a broad readership of policymakers, politicians, journalists, students and the informed public.

The journal contains various types of article, but most submitted papers will be of the standard length of around 5,000 words for inclusion in the main body of the journal. Other types of article – such as those in themed groups or in the Reports and Surveys section – are normally commissioned separately. Reviews are normally commissioned by the Literary Editor, Donald Sassoon, to whom all books for review must be sent (

Submission of articles

Please submit all papers electronically (unless one of the Editors has asked you to send your paper directly to them, in which case they will suggest an appropriate method). 

Submissions should be sent as an email attachment in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or .rtf formats. If you prefer another wordprocessor or file format we can probably accommodate it, but please contact the Assistant Editor or Editorial Assistant first (details at the end of these notes). Whatever wordprocessor you use, please do not add elaborate formatting or decoration to your file – we have to strip it all out again during editing.

Send all papers to <> to avoid delays.

We do not normally publish articles longer than 5,000 words. If your piece is longer or much shorter than this, please contact us at the address below. We also ask for a 150 word abstract and six keywords for all published articles, as these are vital for online searching.


The journal pays modest amounts to all contributors. The payments are based on a standard scale related to the length and nature of the material, and are sent from our publisher’s finance department once the issue is published. Payments are in your home currency unless you request otherwise.


You will receive PDF proofs and you may make minor adjustments at this stage, but please avoid substantial rewriting unless you have agreed this with the Assistant Editor. Contributors are asked to return corrections to the copy-editor or other indicated person as soon as possible, and normally within five days of receipt.


Subheadings within articles should be short (typically, of 3–5 words), normally restricted to one level, and fairly evenly distributed throughout the text. (A second level of sub-subheadings should not be used unless the structure of the article is unclear without them.) Three to five main subheadings are usually sufficient for an article of average length. If your article has no subheadings the editors may add them.

Notes and references

Notes should contain bibliographical information only and must not be substantive notes. Please use as few notes as possible, and certainly no more than twelve. This reflects PQ’s ethos of publishing jargon-free articles in plain English, as stated at the beginning of these notes: ‘We do not set out sources or authorities in detail, nor aim to be technical or narrowly academic’.

Set out notes in a double spaced list at the end of the article, not at the foot of the typescript pages – that is, as endnotes not footnotes. If you submit an article with more than twelve footnotes, the editors normally ask you to reduce the number or will make cuts themselves, or may even reject the article.

These bibliographical notes, if any, which will be printed as a list of endnotes after the article, should include at least the following information:

For books or other free-standing publications: author, including forename(s) or initials(s) first, full title of work, place of publication, name of publisher, date of publication.

For periodical articles: full name of author, title of article, title of periodical, year of publication, page numbers of article.

Please do not include discursive notes containing commentary or other subsidiary information. Instead, work this additional information into the text or omit it altogether. Similarly, do not include author–date (‘Harvard’, e.g. Brown, 2010) or any other system of separately listed references. Reduce the number of references to the bare minimum and then convert them to bibliographical notes.

Capitalisation, spelling, hyphenation, punctuation

Please use British English spellings and ‘-ise’ rather than ‘-ize’, as in ‘realise’, ‘capitalise’.
Please use single quotation marks (‘thus’) throughout, and restrict the use of double quotation marks (“thus”) to quotations within quotations.
There is an editorial presumption in favour of fewer rather than more initial capitals. In general, please reserve initial capitals for proper nouns and formal titles, or where their use is necessary to avoid a genuine ambiguity.

Tables and diagrams

The rule for these is similar to that for notes – the fewer the better. Tables and diagrams should not be used unless they are absolutely essential to the discussion. Any tables that qualify should be kept simple and used sparingly to prevent the text from being overwhelmed by masses of ancillary data.

If you include graphs, charts or diagrams, we will ask you to produce high-quality electronic versions of this material in whatever form the printer may request. If this or any other requirement creates technical problems, please contact PQ's Senior Administrator.
Revised May 2010