FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When is the next submission deadline?
Submissions can be sent for consideration at any time. Deadlines for each semester’s publication are announced on the “Submit Your Research” page.
How long should my submission be?
Using standard margins and font size, the suggested length is 20–50 double-spaced pages. Shorter works are rarely publishable, though all submissions will be considered. A shorter paper must have a particularly well-focused and more narrowly defined thesis. Longer works are also welcome, but should include clearly delineated sections. If you wish to submit a chapter or chapters of a longer paper, please submit the entire paper and indicate which sections could stand alone.
How are papers selected?
Each manuscript is read by members of the Editorial Board and evaluated on its argument, writing, originality, adherence to guidelines, and topic. The selection process is blind to the author’s identity and school; however, the Journal has traditionally published at least one paper by a Columbia author. Approximately 20 papers are selected as finalists and are voted upon by the full Editorial Board, with the top six to eight papers ultimately selected for publication. These numbers may fluctuate from year to year depending on the size of the submissions pool and the space constraints of the Journal.
Who may submit papers?
Eligibility is limited to current undergraduate students or students who have been out of school for no more than two years. Students who have yet to matriculate into a two- or four-year college or university are ineligible. Continuing education and dual-enrolled high school students are not considered undergraduates and are ineligible. There are no geographic constraints on eligibility.
May I submit my paper on Topic X?
Yes. While extremely esoteric or irrelevant topics are unlikely to be published, the Journal is highly interdisciplinary, and there are very few subjects which cannot fall under the headings of either politics or society. While a pure mathematics thesis might be inappropriate, for example, the Helvidius Group frequently receives papers based on game theoretic or probabilistic analysis of current events, and encourages the use of rigorous empirical procedures. Methodology which might be unfamiliar to a broader audience should be clearly explained.
What subjects fall under the heading “social science”?
The Helvidius Group uses a very broad meaning for the term “social science.” Academic fields in the social sciences include but are not limited to: anthropology, communication, criminology, cultural and area studies, economics, history, linguistics, law, political science, psychology, public health, sociology, development studies, and demography.
May I submit a piece written in language other than English?
While the Journal eagerly accepts submissions written by students who do their academic work in a language other than English, the Journal will only review submissions written in English. Students may translate their work themselves or have a second party do this. If translation is done by a second party, please submit appropriate documentation so that Helvidius can contact the translator and verify the authenticity of the work. If the submission is translated by a professional service, please scan the invoice and send this with your submission. Please note that despite the extra work translation entails, like all other submissions, there is no guarantee that one’s submission will be published in the Journal. Also note that if translation is done by a second party that this party will receive credit as the translator in both the printed and online Journal.
May I write a paper from scratch for the Journal?
Certainly, but there is no guarantee that it will be published. Groundbreaking research is looked upon very favorably regardless of whether the paper has been submitted for academic credit.
May I submit multiple submissions?
You may submit as many essays as you would like as long as they are related to the social sciences.
May I submit my manuscript to other publications?
Yes, but you must withdraw your work from consideration if you are selected for publication in the Journal of Politics & Society. No previously published paper will be published, nor may a paper be reprinted elsewhere without permission.
How will papers be edited?
The editing process, as in a professional academic journal, is intense and proactive. Editors peer review the work and consult with Columbia faculty to vet arguments when needed. Authors work closely with an editing team to revise their work for clarity of argument. This entails substantial organizational changes (often due to space constraints) and a great deal of openness on the part of the author. Every effort will be made to preserve the author’s voice where possible, but given the change in audience and format, authors should not expect published
papers to reflect their phraseology.
How will papers be titled?
The Editorial Board will choose the full and abbreviated print titles. You should include a descriptive and colorful title on your original manuscript, which will serve as a guide.
Should I include an abstract?
Yes. Including an abstract allows us to send the paper for review to the editor best capable of judging your work.
What are your general guidelines for format?
The focus of our peer review and editing process is on the content and structure of the work. While the Editorial Board will adapt the manuscript to its house style and Chicago citation format, you can help us minimize time spent on formatting changes by adhering to the following standards:
Provide a complete bibliography of all works cited.
Use of footnotes should be kept at a minimum and be formatted according to the *, †, ‡, § option. When used, footnotes should be used for notes or elaborations and not for citations.
Use the serial or “Oxford” comma (e.g. “executive, legislative, and judicial”).
Place punctuation inside quotation marks.
Write out numbers from one to ten.
Italicize publications and legal citations.
Write out the word “percent.”
Indent quotations longer than three lines.
On first reference, write out full proper names.
On first reference, write out acronyms or initialism.
Dashes should always be written as em dashes without space on either side (—, never –). Write it like—this, not like – this.
Ellipses must be used in two ways. If the excluded part of a quotation falls in the middle of the sentence then the ellipse must have a space on either end, e.g. “All the king’s horses … couldn’t put Humpty together again.” However, if the excluded part of the quotation falls between the end of one sentence and the middle of the next sentence, i.e. it is the first part of the second sentence that is excluded, then the original sentence must maintain its punctuation and the ellipses must still have a space at either end, e.g. “Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. … all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”
How should I handle citations?
Firstly, DO NOT OMIT PAGE NUMBERS unless the reference is unpaginated. Papers without proper citations cannot be considered for publication. For websites, online newspapers, etc, please include the date accessed. For supplementary information on citation format, visit the Chicago Manual of Style online. For citations use Chicago-style endnotes (with an accompanying bibliography):
1. E. J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism Since 1780 (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1995), 45.
2. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, 149.
What other requirements should I keep in mind?
Provide a short biography including your name, university, year, and major.
Include a pithy introduction with a well-defined thesis.
Place section headings at important junctures within the paper. A table of contents may also be helpful.
Diagrams, charts, photographs, illustrations, etc. are welcomed but not required. Graphics may not be reprinted unless you hold the copyright or can secure permission in writing.
Avoid grammatical and spelling errors.
Please send us an email if you have any questions not answered here. Good luck!