Instructions for Authors
These are Important Points for All Authors to Remember - Read this Document!

The process of writing a paper for Geoscience Canada is greatly aided if authors follow the guidelines for the format and organization of papers, and pay attention to proper referencing and compilation of references. Similarly, much work can be avoided for all if attention is paid to specifications for figures and photos from the outset. Please make every effort to make our efforts a little easier!

Before submission of your manuscript, remember these points:

  • You need to provide the editors with your contact information, including telephone and fax numbers, and mailing, courier and e-mail addresses.
  • Each manuscript is checked by the editor(s) for completeness and conformity to these "Instructions to Authors" and, if judged to be deficient, may be returned before any reviewing or editing is undertaken.
  • Review papers, series papers and topical articles are peer-reviewed by at least two people who are knowledgeable in the subject matter.
  • Conference reports and regular features are only reviewed by the editor(s).
  • All manuscripts may be edited for style and length by the editor(s).

Copyright Note: If the author is using a figure copyrighted by another, evidence of permission from the copyright owner must accompany the manuscript when submitted to the editor. It is the responsibility of the author to obtain written permission. Acknowledgement of the source of figures should be made within the figure caption. Upon acceptance for publication, all copyright ownership transfers to GAC.

After formal review of your manuscript, expect:

  • to receive the comments of reviewers plus and an editorial decision with regard to the suitability of your manuscript for publication in Geoscience Canada.
  • recommendations from the editor(s) regarding changes that are required if your manuscript is provisionally accepted for publication.
  • to get a tentative due date from the editor(s) for submission of your revised manuscript, which you must confirm so your manuscript can be scheduled for publication.
  • to have the opportunity to correct proofs, and evaluate copy-editing that the editors or their delegates have completed in the interests of clarity, grammar and format.

Manuscript Preparation: Titles, authors and summary

  • Title: Please choose a title that is not unduly long and succinctly summarizes the purpose and scope of your paper.
  • Author(s) name(s) and affiliation(s): The author(s) name(s) and affiliation(s) should appear immediately below the Title (Times New Roman #14 font), as follows:

    First name (or initials), last name (Times New Roman #12 font),
    Affiliation (university, institution or company),
    Mailing address (including postal code), and e-mail address of the corresponding author.

  • Summary: For articles and papers (not conference reports or regular features): a short summary is required rather than a typical abstract. This should be:

    Approximately 250 words in length,
    Written in non-technical language,
    Designed to tell the reader what the article is about, including the main conclusions, and should, if possible, be translated into French or English, as appropriate.

  • NOTE: Authors are invited to provide their own translation of the summary, but we will arrange for translation services as required.

Manuscript Preparation: Text layout

All text shall be in draft format to facilitate editing, that is:

  • On letter size (8.5 x 11 inches) pages with a line-spacing of 1.5.
  • In Times New Roman font (point size 12) throughout, with a hard return between paragraphs (no indents), with margins (left, right, top and bottom) of at least 2.54 cm (1 inch).
  • With NO imbedded figures or tables, and with a list of figure and table captions at the end.
Manuscript Preparation: Spelling and word usage

For spelling, word usage and related matters, refer to the following:

  • The Gage Canadian Dictionary, revised and expanded edition (1998)
    The American Geological Institute Glossary of Geology (1997)
    The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing (1997)
    Geoscience Reporting Guidelines (2003) (This book is available through GAC).

  • NOTE: Canadian English is the standard. Note that this is not the same as British usage or common usage in the United States. If in doubt about specific words or style, check with the editors, or consult a recent issue of the journal.
Manuscript Preparation: Headings:

Proper attention and organization of headings is important for clarity of message, and we recommend that authors keep track of these matters as they write. All headings shall be flush with the left margin, and on their own line. Use three or fewer orders of headings, as follows:

  • PRIMARY HEADINGS are bold and in upper case,
  • Secondary Headings are bold and in upper and lower case, and
  • Tertiary Headings are bold and in italics.
Manuscript Preparation: Footnotes

Footnotes are:

  • Confined to relevant material at the beginning of the paper, such as change of address or institutional affiliation following the names of author(s), or
  • Contained within a table and refer to notes at the bottom of the table.
Manuscript Preparation: Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments shall:

  • Appear under a primary heading at the end of the text and preceding the references.
  • Include reference to reviewers, technical support staff, funding agencies, and others as appropriate.
  • Include permission to publish if appropriate.

Manuscript Preparation: References In the text

References shall be referred to

  • By the author name(s) and year of publication, e.g. "According to van Staal et al. (2003a, 2003b) and Goodfellow (2004)....", or "Their results (van Staal et al. 2003a, 2003b; Goodfellow 2004) show..."
  • As "in press" for material accepted for publication in a journal, e.g. "According to Wilson (in press)...", or "Her results (Barr, in press)...."
  • As personal communications ("pers. comm."), either written or oral, showing the communication date, e.g. "According to Nowlan (pers. comm. 2005)...", or "His results (Nowlan, pers. comm. 2005) show..."
  • Sequential references are listed chronologically, not alphabetically, e.g. (Nowlan 1981; Abbott 1986; van Staal 1994; Fyffe 2003)

  • NOTE: Manuscripts in preparation are not acceptable as references.

Manuscript Preparation: The References List

References also appear as a compiled list called "References" under a primary heading at the end of the text, after "Acknowledgements". This is one of the most complicated sections of a manuscript in terms of editorial work, so we ask that authors pay close attention. Before submitting a paper, you should ensure that all text citations are contained within the list, and that the years of publication match in the text and the list. Also, please check the references list to ensure that all entries are indeed cited in the text. Follow these guidelines carefully!

  • Single-authored papers are listed alphabetically and chronologically, from oldest to most recent.
  • Dual-authored papers with the same two authors are listed chronologically, from oldest to most recent. Dual-authored papers with a different second author are listed alphabetically.
  • Multi-authored papers with the same lead author are listed chronologically, from oldest to most recent.
Reference listing formats are shown in the following examples:

  • Abstract: Bleeker, W., and Stern, R.A., 1997, The Acasta gneisses: an imperfect sample of Earth’s oldest crust (abstract): Geological Association of Canada-Mineralogical Association of Canada, Annual Meeting, 1997, Abstracts, v. 22, p. A13.

  • Paper in Special Volume: Monger, J.W.H., 1993, Cretaceous tectonics of the North American Cordillera, in Caldwell, W.G.E. and Kaufman, E.G., eds., Evolution of the Western Interior Basin: Geological Association of Canada, Special Paper, 39, p. 1-48.

  • Paper in Scientific Journal: Stern, R.A., Percival, J.A., and Mortenson, J.K., 1994, Geochemical evolution of the Minto block: a 2.7 Ga continental magmatic arc built on the Superior craton: Precambrian Research, v. 65, p. 115-153.

  • Book: Carswell, D.A., 1990, Eclogite Facies Rocks: Chapman & Hall, New York, 527 p.

  • Website: Jones, A., 2006, Name of article: []; include digital object identifier (DOI) name, if available.

  • NOTE: Use an en-dash (Alt 0150 on your keyboard) between page numbers. Use a single "p." rather than a double "pp." for both single and multiple page numbers. Consult recent issues of the journal for examples if necessary.

Manuscript Preparation: Figures

The following guidelines apply to all figures, which include line drawings, maps, and photographs.

  • Figures should be placed in sequence at the end of the manuscript. They should NOT be embedded within the manuscript.
  • Ensure that each figure is visually simple and clearly legible when scaled to fit a one-column, two-column or three-column width for publication.
  • Assign each figure a separate number, i.e. Figure 1, 2, 3, etc.; where it is necessary to use sub-numbers (e.g. Fig. 1a), insert a), b) etc. in the top left corner of each figure.
  • Assign a separate file name to each figure so that the file name reflects its author and Arabic number, e.g. "Wilson-etal-Fig-1."
  • Write "Figure" in full when using the word as a caption label or in the open part of a sentence. Use "Fig." when placing the word in brackets as a text reference.
  • List figure captions at the end of the manuscript, after References.
The following guidelines are specific to line drawings and maps.
  • Draft all line drawings and maps in Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw or Corel-compatible software, i.e. readily importable into CorelDraw.
  • Use patterns and/or simple labels instead of grey shades, which are problematic. Colour illustrations are probably best, but authors are responsible for choosing colours that are easily resolved by readers. Remember that monitors and printers do not always produce consistent results!
  • Use Arial or a similar sans serif font on all line drawings and maps.
  • Choose font sizes that remain legible when the figure is scaled to fit the desired publication size.
  • Use a plain line-bar scale (metric) on all maps. Maps should also indicate latitude and longitude if they are of a regional scale, and should include location map insets as appropriate.
The following guidelines are specific to photographs.
  • Each photograph shall be in jpg format (300 dpi at published size).
  • Crop each photograph to show only what is necessary.
  • Where text or graphics are added to the photograph, use Arial or similar sans serif font, and choose line widths/symbols that are legible but do not obscure the image.
  • Where image orientation is unclear, indicate the correct way up.
  • Ensure that all photographs include a scale, either on the image or in the caption.

Manuscript Preparation: Tables

The following guidelines apply to all tables.

  • Prepare each table in Microsoft Excel or Excel-compatible software.
  • Assign each table a separate number, i.e. Table 1, 2, 3 etc.
  • Assign a separate file name to each table so that the file name reflects its author and Arabic number, e.g. "Wilson-etal-Table-1.xls".
  • Use Arial or similar sans serif font at a size (usually 8 to 10 point) that remains legible when the table is scaled to desired publication size.
  • Reduce the size of large tables containing extensive geochemical data by using representative samples or averaged values. Note that supplementary data can be placed in our data repository if they are an essential part of the study.
  • Place explanatory notes at the bottom of the table in a font size smaller than the body text.
  • List table captions on a separate page at the end of the manuscript, following the list of figure captions.

Manuscript Submission

Note the following criteria when assembling digital files For review purposes:

  • A manuscript may be submitted as a Microsoft Word document or a PDF file in draft format, according to the preparation specifications above. Our preference is for PDF files.
  • Figures and tables can either be appended to this file, or can be submitted as separate PDF files.
For accepted manuscripts, other digital files must be submitted, as follows.
  • All text in a Microsoft Word document or equivalent format, including the list of captions for figures and/or tables. The text files shall not contain embedded figures or tables.
  • Each text-file name includes the author’s name(s), preferably at the beginning of the file name (for example: "Wilson-etal-subject.doc").
  • Tables are in Excel file(s), or an Excel-compatible spreadsheet. Tables must NOT be submitted as Microsoft Word documents, or in any word-processing format.
  • Line drawings and maps are in Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Corel-importable format, and photos are in jpg or tif formats (300 dpi at published size).
  • Each figure and table has a separate file name that includes its Arabic number, for example "Wilson-etal-Fig-1.cdr" or "Wilson-etal-Table-1.xls".


The nominal deadline for each issue of Geoscience Canada is the first day of the month, three months prior to that issue, as follows:

  • March issue: 1st December
  • June issue: 1st March
  • September issue: 1st June
  • December issue: 1st September

  • NOTE: Manuscripts are normally published in order of acceptance date, rather than submission date. The typical turn-around time of a manuscript, from submission to publication, is three to six months but some manuscripts can take more or less time, depending upon the speed of the review process and the number of accepted manuscripts in the queue to be published.

Where to submit

Please submit your manuscript, in hardcopy and/or digital forms, to the editor of Geoscience Canada using the online submission system (accessed from the main menu; login required)

  • Corresponding Editor:

    Andrew Kerr: Geoscience Canada Editor
    c/o Dept. of Earth Sciences
    Memorial University
    St. John's, NL, Canada A1B 3X5

  • NOTE: Please use the web address for submissions; please do not submit articles directly to the editor.

  • E-mail:

  • NOTE: A manuscript that is part of a thematic series will be assigned directly to the editor for that series for subsequent handling and editing. Please consult information listed under Thematic Series for specific contact information. We recommend that prospective series authors contact the appropriate series editor prior to writing/submission. Manuscripts that are considered outside the mandate for a specific series by that editor may still be considered as general articles.

Authors checklist

When the answer to each of the following questions is YES, the manuscript is ready to submit to the editor(s).

  • Have you read this entire document?
  • Is the manuscript being submitted on letter size page format with line-spacing of 1.5x or 2x?
  • Does the manuscript have a summary (where applicable) rather than an abstract?
  • Is each illustration marked with the name of the author and the figure or table number?
  • Are the illustrations adequate for review purposes; are they reduced to their desired size and mailable flat on 8.5″ x 11″ pages?
  • Are the references in the format used by Geoscience Canada?
  • Have the references been cross-checked against the text?
  • Have you obtained non-exclusive reprint permission for previously published work, where appropriate?
  • Are your digital files (manuscript, figures and tables) in the appropriate formats (see Digital Files above)?
We look forward to receiving your submission......

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