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Information for Authors - Journal of the Geological Society

ScopeKey points | Submission | Page format | Colour charges | Open AccessDiscussions | Thematic collections | Refereeing and editing | Production | ePrints | JGS Early Career Award | Transfers to Lithosphere | Keep in touch

Scope of the Journal

JGS publishes topical, high-quality recent research across the full range of Earth sciences. Papers are interdisciplinary in nature and emphasise the development of an understanding of fundamental geological processes. Broad interest articles that refer to regional studies, but which extend beyond their geographical context, are also welcomed.

Article types for this journal are research articles, review articles, thematic collections and discussions.

Key points to consider before you submit

Preparing your paper

Guidelines for preparing text and illustrations can be found in the box to the right of this page. Those apply to all GSL publications. Details of page size, colour and OA costs (which are specific to this journal) are below.


We welcome papers from authors in all countries, but if you are not fluent in English please seek assistance before submission. There are resources to help ESL authors, some of which are written in other languages.


We expect all authors, reviewers and editors to comply with the Society’s Code of Publishing Ethics. Please ensure that you have read, understood and complied with this, particularly the sections on authors and sample collection. You will be asked to confirm this when you submit your paper.

The Society now runs automatic plagiarism checks on submissions to all journals and those books using online submission. The checks will occur upon submission of a new manuscript. Authors are encouraged to avoid fragmentation of their published submitted work where practical. Submissions with too much overlap with other papers (either published or under review) without clear, visible reference to the previous publication may be identified as duplicate publications and will not be considered.

Submission or publication elsewhere is not acceptable while your paper is under consideration for JGS. Dual submission and publication are serious breaches of widely accepted publishing ethics.

The Society is now gathering information on the role of each author on submitted papers. We are using the CRediT taxonomy developed by CASRAI. This information appears in our published articles and is sent to CrossRef.

Data availability statements are necessary for all Geological Society of London publications arising from publicly-funded research, and are a requirement of many funders' data policies and the RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy. For more information, please read our guidance on text.

Read the Society’s policy on corrections and retractions.  

Declaration of interest statements

During the submission process, authors will be asked to reveal to the editor any potential competing interests that might be affected by publication of the results contained in a manuscript. To ensure transparency and allow readers to form their own judgements of any potential bias, authors must include a declaration of interest statement. To read the GSL Competing Interests factsheet, visit GSL-Competing-Interests-Factsheet

For example:

Competing interests: authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Competing interests: The authors declare the following financial interests/personal relationships which may be considered as potential competing interests: [Author A] has received research grants from [Company X], [Author B] is a member of [Committee Y], [Author C] has received an honorarium for speaking at [Symposium Y] and [Author D] is consultant to [Company Z]. [Author E] declares no known competing interests.

Publishing agreement and terms of use

As part of the submission process, you (or your employer) will be asked to grant the Society an exclusive licence to publish and accept the terms and conditions for use of your final PDF. If the manuscript is not accepted by the Geological Society of London or withdrawn prior to acceptance by the Geological Society of London, this agreement will be null and void.

  • You can reuse your figures and data without permission
  • You can post your original version at any time
  • You can post the refereed manuscript version 12 months after publication
  • You can pay to make your paper Open Access (see below)
  • You cannot post the final PDF or proofs at any time unless you have paid for Open Access

Find more information on the licence on our copyright page.

More information on reusing your material can be found in the permissions section.


If you have not already done so, we encourage you to register for an ORCID iD. You can use your iD to log into our submission system and many others.

From 1 April 2020 corresponding authors will be required to provide an authenticated ORCID identifier as part of the manuscript submission process.

More information is available on the ORCID website.


All submissions to the Journal should be made online via Editorial Manager. Full instructions and a tutorial can be found within that site. If you have any queries during submission, please contact the Editorial Office at [email protected].

Before submitting a manuscript, it is recommended that you have the following to hand:

  • All authors' first, middle names/initials and last names
  • Corresponding author ORCID identifier
  • All authors' email addresses
  • The role of each contributor in preparing the paper
  • The names and links to any repositories where data used in your research is held. For more information, please see the 'What to include in your Data Access Statement' section in the author guidelines document
  • Text file in Word or RTF or Latex formats (please add line numbers)
  • Tables in XLS (or XLS compatible)
  • Figures (10MB maximum) in separate files. At initial submission figures and their captions can be provided within the manuscript. At revised submission stage figures and their captions should also be uploaded as separate files and figure captions should be included within the text file. Each figure and table must be clearly labelled, either as the file name or on the figure itself.
  • We recommend images are initially submitted as PDF files as these tend to reproduce well in the merged PDF for the review process. EPS, TIFF or JPG files are also acceptable, but images sometimes do not appear very clear in the merged PDF that is produced for peer review. Higher resolution images (such as TIFF, EPS, JPG or PDF) greater than 10MB can be provided after acceptance.
  • 3D images, please read the illustrations instructions via the box on the right of this page.
  • Supplementary data files
  • Written permission for any personal communications or secondary sources (if necessary). If an image was previously published elsewhere, please include the written approval for reuse of the image
  • Cover letter - should include:
    • Highlights of the advancement the submission brings to the field, and
    • Confirmation that the conclusions have wider importance beyond the study's geographical context
  • Abstracts of any related papers that you have in press

Please have the text file as a separate file. You may put all other files in one folder. You can upload a ZIP file to the system and it will be automatically unpacked.

Note that there is a file size limit of 10MB to keep the merged PDFs manageable for editing and review. If your files are bigger, please make smaller versions for review and we will request the high-resolution files off-system when your paper is accepted.

The submission package will guide you through the processes for submitting your files and confirmation/approval.

We encourage authors to be as succinct as possible and will return submissions deemed unnecessarily long to the authors before review. As a guide, most papers in JGS are under 18 typeset pages (this roughly equates to a paper of 14,000 words and eight half-page figures/tables).

Please note that large data sets should be submitted to an appropriate repository or kept as supplementary material so that they meet the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) guidelines. Please use line numbering in your article.

Papers should be arranged as follows:

  • Title: brief and specific; followed by name(s) and address(es) of authors (including email address of corresponding author)
  • Abstract: this must be intelligible without reference to the paper, and should not exceed 200 words. Figures are not allowed in the Abstract
  • Main body of paper: subdivided into 1st, 2nd and 3rd order headings; omit heading 'Introduction'
  • Acknowledgements
  • Funding
  • Appendices: see Supplementary Data
  • References: in full; authors' names must be keyed as capitals and lower case (allow 54 per page)
  • Tables
  • Figure captions
  • Figures (10MB maximum) in separate files

Please be prepared to upload a single text file (.doc or .doc compatible) containing your manuscript. You can upload a ZIP file with your table, figures and supplementary data and the system will automatically unpack it.

Page format

The main text is in double column format. Final page size: 297 mm deep by 210 mm wide. Maximum final size of illustrations: 254 mm deep by 176 mm wide. Single column width: 84 mm. Mid-width figures (caption at side): 120 mm. Number of words per page: 1,000.

Colour charges

From 2018 there will be no charges for colour figures in this journal.

Open Access Publishing

Authors may choose to make their article fully Open Access (sometimes called ‘Gold Open Access’) on payment of an Article Processing Charge.

  • 2024 APC price £2,400/$3360/€2880 (+VAT as applicable at the time of invoicing and subject to change).
  • Articles where the corresponding author or at least half the authors are Fellows of the Geological Society are entitled to a 25% discount.
  • Corresponding authors at institutions that have signed a read and publish agreement with the Geological Society of London qualify for waived APCs. The list of qualifying institutions can be found on our Open Access page.

More information on the Society’s policy can be found on the Open Access page.

You can select Open Access when you submit your article online. You do not need to pay until after your article is accepted. There will be a link to the payment authorisation form in the acceptance letter.

If you require Open Access but cannot pay the APC, the Geological Society also supports ‘Green Open Access’, where you can post your final post-refereed version of the article to a website or repository 12 months after the online publication date.

Authors must not post a typeset proof or final version to any website or repository unless the article is fully Open Access.


Discussions on papers that have already appeared in the Journal or appropriate Society books should be submitted within a year of the publication of the article discussed. Discussions should be succinct, written in an objective and scientific manner, and ideally about 1,000 words in length, exclusive of title, authors, affiliations and references. Discussions should be submitted online as described above. Please ensure that you include your own address and all the references that you cite, even if they were in the original paper.

Discussions should add something to the debate and not be just an additional observation.

Thematic collections

Thematic collections are curated sets of papers that present a timely snapshot of research in a topic of high current interest and importance. Edited by experts in the field, invited contributions undergo peer review to the normal Journal of the Geological Society standards and are made available online upon acceptance. The papers are collated on a dedicated collection webpage on an ongoing basis which ensures that this significant research is visible to the community at the earliest opportunity.

Some recent examples of thematic collections include:

The subject of the collection must be of interest to a broad international audience and the science must be of the highest quality. All the papers must be acceptable to the Journal in their own right.

Thematic collections have 'guest editors' who work closely with one of the regular editors. The guest editors would be expected to write a short perspective to the set.

If you would like to submit a proposal for a thematic collection in JGS, we request the following information:

  • Names and contact details of the guest editors
  • A list of papers, including title and all authors
  • A brief explanation of its aims and how it will enhance the Journal
  • Details of the meeting that generated the set (if appropriate)
  • Your planned schedule for submission, refereeing and editing

Please send this information by email to the Journal Manager who will circulate it to the Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Editors.

Instructions for editing thematic sets will be provided once the proposal is accepted. The review procedure for the proposal will take about four to six weeks.

Refereeing and editing

The scientific editor will send your paper to at least two referees. The scientific editor will handle the papers through the reviewing and scientific editing procedure and approve the finalised script for publication. A Single Blind Peer Review process is used.

We expect the reviewing and editing procedure to take about two to three months in the case of a paper requiring little revision. We are of course dependent on the goodwill of unpaid reviewers to achieve these targets.

You can keep track of this process through the online submissions package.

GSL supports co-reviewing across its portfolio of publications. In co-review, invited reviewers have the option to involve a co-reviewer (often a junior colleague, for training purposes) in completing their report. All peer reviewers for GSL publications are expected to follow the Society’s ethical guidelines, including confidentiality of peer review


Accepted manuscripts: The Journal will make the accepted manuscript available online within two weeks of acceptance. This is conditional on receipt of a completed assignment of licence agreement and confirmation that the author has permission to include any third-party content, where applicable. The accepted manuscript will be a watermarked PDF of the accepted text and original figures. Any supplementary content will be made available via a link on the PDF cover page.

If there is an editorial reason why a manuscript should not be posted prior to publication of the corrected proof (e.g. because of a press release or media embargo) then the author should contact the Journal Manager (this must be done before the article is accepted as the process will be automatic). You will be alerted to this by a question during the submission process.

Published article (version of record): The Journal Manager will write to the corresponding author notifying them of when the version of record is due to be published. The paper will be copyedited and then sent to an external typesetter. The corresponding author will be emailed with details of how to access their proof. We do not generally send revised proofs to the author.

The production process takes six to eight weeks from acceptance to publication.


You will be emailed instructions on how to download a PDF of your paper from the online version of the journal.

JGS Early Career Award

Each year, the Journal presents an award for the best paper from an Early Career author. The prize is a free-of-charge gold open access paper in the Journal for a paper submitted within 2 years of the award, and a Special Publication.

Criteria for the award are as follows.

  • The author should be within three years of earning their PhD or relevant postgraduate degree
  • Single or lead author
  • Have had no more than three first author publications
  • Exciting topic set in a general context - not parochial
  • Should be a novel approach or interpretation
  • Discussion and development of ideas, not just a collection of results/observations
  • Clear conclusions of general relevance
  • Clearly and concisely written - not over-long
  • Logical structure and argument
  • Relevant and clear diagrams

If you wish your paper to be considered for this award you will be asked to notify the Journal Manager when the manuscript is accepted. Review papers will not normally be considered for the award unless it can be shown that they contain significant novelty. Please also note that excessive corrections at proof stage will disqualify the paper.

See past winners on the JGS Early Career Award page.

Transfers to Lithosphere

Lithosphere, an established open access journal originally published by the Geological Society of America (GSA), is now published by GeoScienceWorld (GSW) in alliance with a number of prestigious non-profit societies. The Geological Society of London is pleased to partner with GSW on this open access initiative.

If you submit your work to a GSL publication and the Editor feels it may be better suited to be considered for publication in our partner journal Lithosphere, the Editor may offer you an opportunity to transfer your submission. If you agree to the transfer then we will pass your submission along with associated metadata to GSW. The Lithosphere editorial team will then contact you.

Offer of a transfer does not guarantee acceptance in Lithosphere. All transfers will be assessed by Lithosphere’s Editorial Board, in line with the editorial policies of the journal.

Lithosphere considers papers that are:

  • Scientifically rigorous and valid, with observations separated from interpretations, and conclusions supported by data
  • A useful contribution, that tells us something new, and discussed in the context of existing literature
  • Ethically sound, previously unpublished and meeting all applicable research integrity standards
  • Reproducible with methods, analyses and statistics (as appropriate) detailed sufficiently to be followed
  • Written in clear and concise English, so the study cannot be misunderstood

Lithosphere is a fully open access journal. More information about Lithosphere and the APC can be found on the GSW Lithosphere page.

For any questions about Lithosphere please email the editorial office.

Keep in touch

We produce a regular author newsletter. If you would like to receive this, please visit our subscriptions page or email our marketing team ([email protected]). You do not have to be a published author to sign up. You can unsubscribe at any time.


  • Impact Factor: 2.7
  • 5yr IF: 3.1
  • SJR: 1.122
  • SNIP: 0.925

Metrics should be viewed in context here: Metrics