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How to submit a paper to JASSS

Original research papers and critical reviews on all aspects of social simulation and agent societies that fall within the journal's objective to further the exploration and understanding of social processes by means of computer simulation are welcome. Normally articles are from 5,000 to 8,000 words in length, plus hypertext attachments. Briefer accounts of work in progress are invited for the Forum section. Commentaries on papers in previous issues of JASSS, of not more than 2,000 words, are also welcome. All contributions should be accompanied by bibliographic information (the title, author's name, postal and electronic address, and affiliation; and a biographical note of about 100 words), an abstract not exceeding 300 words, and up to 6 keywords.

Review and copyright

Research papers are always peer reviewed by expert referees. JASSS does not publish non-refereed research articles and requires authors to declare that their submissions have not and will not be duplicated in another journal or book. Posting a manuscript on a pre-print server such as ArXiv or SSRN is not considered to be duplicate publication. It is also acceptable to submit manuscripts that have been posted on an author's personal or institutional website and manuscripts based on material that has formed part of an academic thesis and been placed in the public domain, according to the awarding institution's guidelines. Normally a paper that already has an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) assigned to it would be considered to have been published. In considering whether a submission is a duplicate of a manuscript published elsewhere, consideration will be given to the extent of overlaps in the scientific content, not just to the literal wording.

Authors are required to assign copyright on their articles to the journal. Submission of a paper to the journal is taken as acceptance of this policy. JASSS follows the COPE 'Guidelines on good publication practice'.

Replication and making your model public

Authors are strongly encouraged to include sufficient information to enable readers to replicate reported simulation experiments. JASSS recommends uploading the code of your model and associated documentation to the CoMSES Net Computational Model Library. Access to the model can be restricted to reviewers only prior to publication. If your paper is published, you can then make the model publicly accessible to accompany your paper in JASSS.

After uploading, you can decide to make the model public or restricted (a check box). In either case, you can then get a URL link to the model, which can be passed on to reviewers. Ideally, the URL link should be included in the manuscript itself. "Restricted" access means that the model is hidden and cannot be viewed without the direct URL link.

Models associated with papers published in JASSS can be assigned permanent internet identifiers ('handles', equivalent to DOIs) so that they will appear as a citation in Google Scholar like the associated paper in JASSS. Library entries display citation formats for all models. This makes your model a citable reference in addition to your JASSS paper so that other scholars can credit your work properly. You will need to contact the CoMSES Computational Model Library when your paper is accepted for publication so that a permanent handle can be 'minted'.

When the paper is approved for publication, you need to go the model entry and check the 'publicly accessible' box. Then the model will be exposed to individuals browsing the model library and Google Scholar. You will also need to request a handle be minted when the paper is approved for publication.

To contribute a model and documentation to the Library, you will need to be an affiliate or full member of the CoMSES Net (Network for Computational Modeling in the Social and Ecological Sciences), a simple process. The model upload system guides you through a sequence of steps that asks you to provide relevant information, such as a reference to the associated JASSS publication, the documentation of your model, the files with model code, which programming platform is used, etc. The Computational Model Library requires a description of the model that enables others to understand its purpose and structure, and to replicate your results. The ODD protocol (reference below) is recommended as a format for documenting models, although use of this protocol is not a requirement.

Grimm, V., Berger, U., Bastiansen, F., Eliassen, S., Ginot, V., Giske, J., … DeAngelis, D. L. (2006). A standard protocol for describing individual-based and agent-based models. Ecological Modelling, 198(1-2), 115–126.

Polhill, J. G., Parker, D. C., Brown, D. G., & Grimm, V. (2008). Using the ODD protocol for describing three agent-based social simulation models of land use change. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 11(2), 3 http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/11/2/3.html.

Note, however, that while linking to program code is strongly encouraged, your paper must be capable of being read and understood on its own. You should not expect readers to scan your code in order to comprehend your paper. Referees will be provided only with a PDF version of your paper, and will not be sent any supplementary material. If you wish the referees to see the model code, documentation etc. that you have deposited at the CoMSES Library, you must include a link to the model (the 'handle') within the paper itself (e.g. you could add a sentence such as "The model code can be found at http://www.openabm.org/model/3420/version/1/").

The Forum

The Forum is the area of the journal for: Contributions to the Forum are reviewed, but not subject to the same rigorous refereeing process as research articles. Submissions for the Forum should use the same format as for article submissions (see below).

Special sections

JASSS occasionally publishes collections of papers sharing a common theme, in a 'special section'. The papers in a special section are often derived from the presentations at a workshop. Often some of the reviewing and editing is undertaken by the workshop organisers in conjuction with the journal editor. If you would like to suggest a special section, please email the editor with details. There is guidance on how to submit papers for a special section which should be noted before you propose one.

Submission format

Articles should be submitted in electronic form, as either a Microsoft Word file with separate illustrations in PNG, GIF or JPEG format (preferred) or as plain text with HTML tags to indicate headings and sub-headings, tables, quotations, and hyper-text links, using published articles as a guide. The submission should include a list of references (formatted as below). It is very helpful, but not required, if you also submit an anonymised version of your article, suitable for sending to referees. The Editorial team can provide advice about formatting and about linking in multi-media elements. Articles in HTML should conform to the HTML 4.01 standard, and must be checked with the HTML validator before submission.

Preparation using Microsoft Word

If using Microsoft Word, avoid using bookmarks, in-line maths using the Equation Editor or MathType (see below on how to insert equations), internal hyperlinks, cross-references and tables of contents, since all of these special features will have to be removed before formatting into the JASSS house style. Submit the original Word file (.doc), not a file generated using the Word "Save as Web Page..." command.

Preparation using LaTeX

If you are a LaTeX user, you are strongly recommended to download the following Latex package from here. This package was created for JASSS by Giangiacomo Bravo of the University of Vaxjo, Sweden. The package includes full instructions to prepare a document ready for peer review and in case of acceptance it will be used to edit the final version of your article.

The review process

Research articles will be refereed 'blind', that is, the referees will not be given the name of the author. Hence articles are anonymised by the journal by deleting the author's name and affiliation from the article text before being sent to referees. Please ensure that the body of the article does not include obvious 'give-aways' (e.g. "in previous work, I developed a similar model (Gilbert 1999)"). Any such clues to the referees will normally not be altered by the editorial team.

Referees are sent a PDF copy of the anonymised paper. If you have provided an anonymised PDF version of your submission, this is sent. Otherwise, this copy is created by the editorial team using standard Word (or HTML) to PDF software. You should be aware that Figures wider than about 600 pixels will usually be truncated by such software as they would otherwise go over the right hand page margin. In addition, because the referees receive just a PDF copy, they will only be able to see the first frame of videos and animations. You should consider videos, animations and other such features as desirable for enhancing the readers' understanding, but your paper should not depend on them (some readers with less adequate internet connections will not be able to take advantage of more high tech. features, and so the paper must make sense without them).

Referees are asked to respond to the following questions:

  1. What is your overall assessment of the article?
  2. Please outline briefly and for the editor alone your reasons for reaching this assessment of the article.
  3. Please provide some constructively expressed feedback for the author, designed to help them revise or rewrite the article for this journal or another. Your comments can be anywhere between a paragraph and something much fuller, depending on what you think appropriate to the particular article.
  4. If the article describes a simulation model, is there enough detail provided for the relevant output from the model to be replicated by a reader (the description might be in the form of an algorithm, pseudo-code, or access to the simulation program itself)?
  5. Has the author sufficiently taken advantage of the opportunities available through electronic publication (e.g. access to program code or data; colour illustrations; animations)? If not, have you any suggestions that could be forwarded to the author?
Normally at least three referees are approached for an evaluation. Once the referees have commented, the editor will decide whether to accept the article as submitted, request minor revisions, request a major rewrite, or reject the article. Authors can expect to receive the editor's verdict about eight weeks after submission (longer if the period includes the summer or Christmas breaks, when referees are, understandably, slower in responding). The editor's emailed letter will normally include substantial excerpts from the referees' comments which can be helpful in revising and improving the article.

Headings and sections

Every paragraph in a JASSS article is numbered, to aid citing the paragraph in other articles. These numbers are applied when the article is formatted and do not need to be included in the file you submit. The numbering scheme consists of a major number, which is the number of the section, and then a minor number which is the number of the paragraph within the section.

Articles should be divided by the author into five or six sections, each with a section heading (the section headings are indicated with the JASSS marker * at the beginning of the line). Each section may also have sub-sections and sub-section headings. Ensure that it is clear which are section and which are sub-section headings in your submitted article. Do not number the sections, since any such numbering will be removed as part of the formatting process.


Figures (e.g. pictures, graphs, and diagrams) will be linked into the article at appropriate places. Please embed each Figure in the right position in the article (but do not forget to submit the graphic as a separate file as well). Captions should be provided as text. Do not put the caption on the graphic itself.

Graphics should be scaled so that they are no more than 800 pixels wide. The height is not so important, but illustrations are typically about 600 to 800 pixels in height. If available, use colour (e.g. if you have several line plots on the same axes, get your software to draw each line with a different colour).

Please provide all Figures both in place in your article file and separately as files in PNG, JPG or GIF format (PNG is preferred).

Tables should normally be provided as text (e.g. as a Microsoft Word table). Only when the table is exceptionally complicated or heavily formatted should you provide a table as a separate graphic.

Equations, formulae and mathematical symbols

Please keep greek and special mathematical symbols to a minimum. Use ordinary, roman letters for variables except where it is traditional to use greek letters (e.g. you may use π for 3.141... and σ for variance). If you do need to include greek letters and are using Microsoft Word, type them with the Symbol font. Please avoid using any symbols with a bar or tilde above them, as these are impossible to show in HTML.

Formulae that are 'in-line', that is, as part of the text of a paragraph, need to be capable of being coded in HTML. This means they should not include integration or summation symbols, or other symbols that occupy more vertical space than ordinary text.

More complex equations and formulae should be shown as 'displayed', that is, as a separate paragraph. Equations should be numbered sequentially through the article. Displayed equations should either

Please do not supply Word files that include equations drawn with the Equation Editor or Mathtype, although you may use these tools to create equations for turning into graphics.

Here is an example of the use of mathematics (taken from Nathalie Lazaric and Alain Raybaut (2004) Knowledge Creation Facing Hierarchy: the Dynamics of Groups Inside the Firm. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 7 (2), 3 <http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/7/2/3.html>):

We assume that the level of effort of each group, ei(t), depends positively on the level of activation of its organizational practice, xi(t). Thus we have:

ei (t) = {xi (t)}ai, i = 1, …, n, (1)

where 0 < ai ≤ 1.

Citations and References

You are encouraged to cite other articles published in JASSS, to help locate your contribution in relation to others in the journal.

References should use the American Psychological Association (APA) style, modified to omit the comma between author and date in in-text citations. A tutorial about this style can be found at the APA website, and a good summary is provided by Deakin university. There is also a Wikipedia page. Many reference managers (e.g. EndNote, Reference Manager, Mendeley) will format references in the APA style for you.

Recent JASSS reference lists have DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) appended to those references that have them. This is done as part of the journal's editorial process: authors do not need to include them in a submitted article.

Web References (links or URLs)

As cited URLs tend to disappear months or years after citing online material, JASSS suggests that (as well citing "live" webpages and websites in the article) authors use the WebCite ® technology (http://www.webcitation.org) to archive cited web references first before they cite them.

Please go to http://www.webcitation.org/archive.php and enter the URL you want to cite. The system will take a "snapshot" of the webpage or online document (e.g. pdf) so that it will remain available for future readers. WebCite will also give you detailed instructions on how to cite the web reference. Electronic journal articles should not be archived with WebCite if they can be expected to be "stable" e.g. available in libraries and/or carry a DOI (this includes articles in JASSS), but all other material which might disappear in the future should be archived first by the citing author.

Example of citing a Web Reference

FOX S, Fallows D. (2003). Internet Health Resources. http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Health_Report_July_2003.pdf. Archived at: http://www.webcitation.org/5I2STSU61.

The access/archiving date does not need to be provided because it can be retrieved by the reader when clicking on the WebCite link.

Abstract and keywords

All articles must include an abstract and keywords. The abstract should be 200 to 300 words long and should include a summary of all the main conclusions of the article and a brief indication of the methods used. It should not include citations to other literature.

There should be between three and six keywords (or key phrases), chosen to help readers search for the article. If possible, the keywords should be selected from those previously used in JASSS articles, as shown in the Index by Keywords.The keywords will also be used as a guide in the selection of appropriate referees for the evaluation of your article.

Checklist for submissions

When submitting an article, ensure that there is

  1. the main file. The file should include all Figures and Tables in their expected final positions, each with a;.
  2. an anonymised version of the main file, preferably as a PDF. This file will be sent to referees, who should not be able to deduce your identity from the file;
  3. in addition, the figures as GIF, JPG or PNG images, each in a separate file (do not include figure captions in the images). Figures should be scaled so that they are between about 400 and 800 pixels in height and width. It is convenient if all the image files are packaged into one zip or .tgz archive.
When submitting your article through the web (see below), you will also be asked to provide:

Submitting your article

Articles should be sent to the Journal through the web using the form at the link below. This method of submission guarantees safe arrival and helps with providing all the necessary detail.

The web submission form is at: http://www.epress.ac.uk/JASSS/webforms/author.php and includes step-by-step guidance on the submission process.

If necessary, you may send articles by email to the Editor at: JASSS@surrey.ac.uk

but this method is discouraged as emails with large attachments can get lost. The postal address of the journal is:

Centre for Research on Simulation in the Social Sciences,
Department of Sociology,
University of Surrey,
Guildford GU2 7XH,
United Kingdom.

An acknowledgement of receipt will always be sent within a few days. If you do not get an acknowledgement, please enquire.

Articles are normally published in the next issue after acceptance.

Voluntary charges

JASSS neither charges its readers a subscription nor requires its authors to pay for publication. It relies on the voluntary effort of its editors, referees and supporters. However, it is becoming harder to maintain its quality standards without an income. That is why we are asking that you consider supporting JASSS with a voluntary 'author publication charge' of £800 or €1000 or $1300. This charge is comparable to or less than that required by journals such as those published by Elsevier, PLOS, SAGE, Springer, Taylor and Francis, and other prominent journal publishers.

If you have access to funds for paying for open access fees or author publication charges (APC) from research grants or from your university, we would greatly appreciate your support for JASSS. The income from these voluntary author fees will go to pay for professional copy-editing and production of JASSS articles.

As a token to recognise your contribution to maintaining JASSS, your article will include a badge icon at the top of the web page.

Payments should be made by bank transfer to:

We can provide you with an invoice and a receipt for your payment if requested. Please email jasss@surrey.ac.uk with your details if you would like either.

Revised 11 February 2015


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