Manuscript Submissions

The editors of the IJNH seek articles that are new in content and interpretation and make a fresh contribution to historical knowledge. Our principal consideration in determining whether an article should be published is its appropriateness to the audience of the IJNH. Because our readers embrace all fields of naval history and are located throughout the world, the IJNH has a responsibility to publish essays that reach all specialties, without regard to geography or time. Consequently, the editors seek manuscripts that can engage the common interests of as many historians as possible.

We look for historical scholarship that will reach a large and diverse readership. The essays must demonstrate an author’s command of a specific subject and should have the potential to communicate its implications to scholars working in other fields. Manuscripts can have an appeal outside their particular specialty or may effectively demonstrate a methodology that other scholars might find useful even though the subject matter of the essay is outside their field. Manuscripts likely to engage common concerns may also be explicit discussions of historical methodology or review essays that analyze current trends in particular fields of historical inquiry.

Given our mandate to engage the interests of this particular discipline, we seek an array of articles that collectively address all aspects of contemporary naval historical inquiry. We invite the submission of manuscripts in ancient, medieval, and early modern naval history as well as archaeological studies that relate to naval topics. The Journal is concerned with large, persistent themes and genuine, broadly interesting innovation; it is a vehicle for general scholarly communication or for specialized studies that transcend the normal boundaries or expectations of this field.

We strive to fulfill our mandate to a diverse readership with a balanced presentation of fields and subjects. Articles are selected through a rigorous review process. The IJNH staff evaluates every manuscript. Those with the greatest promise are sent to members of the IJNH Board of Editors for further review. Upon recommendation by board members, essays are then sent to specialists for a final, anonymous review. All reviews are designed not only to evaluate the manuscript’s suitability for publication in the IJNH but also to help authors clarify their argument and explain its broader implications. The editors are committed to a timely reviewing process. We do not maintain a lengthy backlog of articles, and we try to reach a decision about each manuscript within six months of its submission.

Book Reviews

Reviewing books is a primary responsibility of the IJNH. The editors seek to be as comprehensive as possible. We consider reviews a vital part of conversations about history, to which we want to include as many significant voices across the boundaries of the naval history field. We periodically reevaluate our procedures to ensure that our decision-making process is in accord with our best understanding of the needs and interests of the professional historians who are our primary audience.

Book reviewing in the IJNH also operates under particular constraints. Though the distribution of books by field in many ways simply represents the realities of historical publication, we are trying to address the submission deficiencies in the field of naval history by actively soliciting books from publishers that normally do not send us copies. The result, we hope, will be greater coverage of Asian, Latin American, and African history; success, however, will also increase our workload and the demands for space on our web pages.

The IJNH‘s determines to review a book by deciding whether or not a particular book fits one or more of the following criteria: generally, a reviewed book should be based on primary research, grounded in the historiography of its subject, employ a significant methodological technique, or, if written from the perspective of another discipline, inform historical discussions on an important topic. We do review particularly important works of synthesis.

Compilations of documents and bibliographies, collections of personal and state papers, second editions and reprints, collections of previously published essays, and textbooks, will be reviewed only in exceptional cases. Perhaps the most troublesome issue for us is raised by collections of essays. These volumes often contain important scholarship on critical questions. Yet they are very difficult to review within limited space because of the uneven quality of many collections, the sheer number of essays in a particular volume, and the dated character of some compilations. In addition, collections often include articles previously published or on subjects about which an author has published a monograph. We evaluate each collection and commission reviews of those that seem the most significant.

Once a book has been slated for review, a reviewer is selected from our files of scholars active in the various fields of history and related disciplines. Our intent is to ensure that reviewers have experienced the peer-review process themselves and understand the production of a historical monograph. We exclude from consideration persons acknowledged by the author or those who have assisted in the publication of a book in some fashion. Invitations to review are based on staff judgments about the appropriate match between book and reviewer.

Finally, IJNH staff members determine the length of a review and, once it has been turned in, edit it for style. We expect reviewers to write thoughtful and engaging critiques that explain the basic argument of a book, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and place the book in its historiographical context. And we would like them to do so in a way that addresses readers outside the bounds of their particular specialty. We do not dictate the content of reviews, but we do delete passages that are, in our judgment, ad hominem attacks on an author. Reviews range in size from 500 to 1,200 words; the average review is about 800 words. The editors recognize the difficulties of writing a carefully constructed yet instructive review in so few words. We will also try to overcome the inherent limits of small reviews by regularly publishing review essays on a set of books about a particular topic. These essays are intended to be broad analyses of critical issues in the discipline. Some of them are proposed to us, others are specifically commissioned by us. The review essays range from 5,000 to 7,500 words.

These procedures and policies grow out of the editors’ conviction that book reviews are vital to the life of the historical profession. We are convinced that reviews are a crucial element in the continuing dialogue within our discipline and between history and other disciplines. The editors also believe that overseeing their production and dissemination is one of the IJNH‘s major contributions to historical scholarship.

To further promote professional dialogue and scholarship we shall also accept works-in -progress abstracts from bona fide naval historians. We wish to inform scholars the world over of the activity of their colleagues and to encourage communication and cooperation in the process of intellectual inquiry.

Editorial Guidelines Governing Submissions


  1. The primary version of all submissions will be rendered in English.
  2. English and native language copies should be submitted together; both will be published if the article is accepted.
  3. All submissions will strictly follow the guidelines set forth in the Chicago Manual of Style.
  4. All text should appear with the justification feature turned off.
  5. Submissions will observe a 7500 word maximum, not including notes.
  6. Authors will render all citations as endnotes.
  7. Authors will make all submissions in Microsoft Word 97 or better; nothing in MAC format. If this is an extraordinary burden, an author should contact one of the editors. Exceptions will be rare. Submissions via Microsoft Word attachment to an e-mail cover letter are preferred. Submissions by conventional post may contain hardcopy, but must come with a digital version [disk or CD] of the article and any illustrations.
  8. Supporting illustrations should accompany the original submission. We shall accept no original photography; only 300 dpi jpg format scans. Both color or black and white are acceptable. Tables and diagrams are acceptable as well. An author can send any scans or images to the journal on a zip disk or CD. The editors of the IJNH will not scan original photography.

Book Reviews:

  1. Only solicited reviews will appear in the IJNH.
  2. In the case of review essays, we shall consider proposals.
  3. The journal’s book review editor is the point of contact on these matters.
  4. All primary versions will be in English.
  5. English and native language copies should be submitted together; both will be published.
  6. Each review will comply with an 800 word maximum, not including notes and will follow the Chicago Manual of Style.

Works-in-Progress Abstracts:

Should include the following:

  1. Full name
  2. Personal title
  3. Affiliation and position
  4. Postal and/or e-mail address
  5. Tentative title of the work-in-progress
  6. 500 word description [strict limit]

News Items:

  1. No personal news, only group or institutional announcements.
  2. Individual project research inquiries are acceptable to a maximum length of 150 words.
  3. Institution news items can use up to 500 words.

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